Gen X/Y, Backpacks and My Mother: a Warning.

This is not a rant. This is a Public Service Announcement. An exhortation, a tocsin.

You of the under-30 generations, with your omnipresent backpacks, full of I ken not what: extra crunchy eco-friendly dark 73% dark chocolate, ultra-hydrogenated glacier water with squirty pop-top squeezy bottles, low-carb, hi-NRG bars made from boiled newspapers, Apples, Blackberries, Dingleberries, cellphones with Satan’s own clangorous flatulent peal for a ringtone, and whatever else you need to fill your empty lives with every minute of the day lest you fail to be entertained and needs must think for five seconds.

You are carrying more gear than Scott of the Antarctic. Sadly, however, you will not be “just going outside” and “may be some time” out there. You will continue to infest the corridors of our public buildings and blight our sidewalks and darken the aisles of our emporia. Nay, you clog them like so many cholesterol emboli, choking off the arteries of human commerce and navigation.

Worse yet, you insist on wearing these backpacks around like some Apollo program astronaut on EVA; is this some form of surrogate mother-in-a-box from which you, Oedipus-like, fear separation? Gaggles of you mill pointlessly about like so many churls, incommoding passers-by with something like a small caravanserai or yurt on your back. Can you not leave these things at the front desk? Free your lumbar region, and your brain will follow.

Your herd is marked, like the kine of the field, for later identification and sorting; inks, dyestuffs, and brands of various hues adorn you, my little Queequegs; for all I know your underthings are frescoed, socks stippled and lacquered with designs appropriated from various ethnic groups all around the world (who have doubtless been consulted, and paid in full for this use of their cultural identity) to show what a self-realised, caring person you are.

And now to the nub of my gist. My mother. You may think that she is just a sweet little old lady with a cute accent.

Oh, my globally caring friend. My winsome little delusional flower. Although she has seen 75 summers come and go, and despite the fact she is barely 5 foot one tall, do not be lulled into a false sense of security. Do not think that her disarming Scottish burr is some Disneyesque/Mrs. Doubtfire/Mary Poppins nanny-ish affectation.

Be vigilant. Be on your guard. Be afraid.

Because, if one more of you self-centred, solopsistic little bastards whacks her in the face again with your rock-hard backpacks in a store aisle without so much as an acknowledgement…she is going to go off on you.

And you will know The Fear.

Your tattoos and curtain-ring faces will not phase her in the least; nor any attempt at deterrence on your part by using street language. At 17 she was taking severed limbs from the operating room to the incinerator, and nursing on the south side of industrial Glasgow taught her more bad language than you’ve ever imagined possible. That scar on her hand? Not some fashion accessory from a chi-chi tattoo parlour; that was courtesy of a mental patient.

She’s hardcore, dude; the real thing.

Now, step the fuck back and give her (and the rest of her generation) some proper, capital R, Respect. And watch what you’re doing with the goddam backpacks, okay?

You may now resume your lives. I drink to your gloomy futures.

There is no way that you’d have YELLED a rant that eloquent.


Because you’d have no way to carry your frickin’ thesaurus.

Get a backpack.

That was lame.

My backpack. Two toolkits. Sixty CDs. Knives, keys, floppies, and the occasional large piece of equipment.
Notes, passwords, phone numbers, URLs.

Reinforced ripstop TUMI bag.

I know it’s a weapon. I used it to beat the hell out of a mugger once. When a car hit me on Jamaica Blvd, it took the shock… and took out his windshield.

I carry it responsibly.

Damn I feel impotent with just a wallet and car keys.

Rodd, be sure and post the next installment where Mom goes off on them.

You know why I carry a backpack? Because it’s more convenient than a purse, and I don’t get funny looks from other guys.

I don’t see why people wearing backpacks need to get singled out from people who mishandled umbrellas in crowded spaces, step on other people’s feet, or are clumsy with their pointy elbows. People who don’t pay attention to other people’s personal space are assholes. The prescense or absense of a backpack is immaterial to this fundamental truth.


Exactly which words did you need a thesaurus for? “Winsome?” “Frescoed?” “Dingleberry?”

I disagree. Vitriol need not always be a screaming, blithering shambles. An A+ pitting, Rodd Hill. Thank you.



-Lisa, the mini-van driving soccer mom from hell

Well, I was amused. Granny can always grab that backpack off your back and give you a whack with it. OUCH!

The implication was that YOU needed the thesaurus, having looked up all those words while typing, and in a spoken context, would have been unable to do so, lacking a backpack in which you would carry the aforementioned…

…oh, what’s the use?

Well ranted sir. Pay no attention to the grumblings of the jealous and the small-minded.

AHunter3, and the sad thing is, I read that thread. Apologies. My flabber has never been so ghasted.

And yes, I carry a gamp at times; a big golf one, too. But I am very careful to “deflate” it if I am coming in off the street, or going into a congested area on the street. It’s only water, after all. And I sometimes carry a small pack (an old P37 webbing pack, in fact), usually slung over one shoulder.

And the beef isn’t so much with all backpack users as it is with those who insist on not taking them off while inside stores, and who apparently lack an internal bodysense of how this appendage changes their square footage. I’ve been thumped myself innumerable times by these self-absorbed types.

Cool. She toted around severed arms.

Since my mother was 5 feet tall, I second that rant.

Don’t ever mess with a small redhead. They will hurt you, with malice aforethought.

I envy the innocence of youth, where Little Old Ladies are seen as “sweet.” OTOH, I’m thankful for the wisdom of age, where Little Old Ladies are no longer to be feared because they are now allies!

Please remind her to speak loudly to those that you Pit here. With those damned things in their ears, they don’t hear, “excuse me” real well.
And I say to your mother, reprimand and castigate with impunity!

And afterthought.

I’d just like to say that I heartily approve of this thread. That’s some truly inspired vocabulary you have going there, not to mention some truly inspired ways of stringing said vocabulary together into massively amusing sentences. Cheers. :slight_smile: