``You know what's the most important property to have in a bookbag?''
``Ideally some property for which `blissful' is an applicable adjective.''
``We'll get to the ideals of bookbaggery in a few paragraphs. Try the question again.''
``The same question?''
``Yes, it's too soon in the year to move on to a new question. You'll need the answer if you mean to buy one successfully. What's the most important thing in a bookbag?''
``No, of course not. Maybe I mean the most important trait anyway.''
``A bag, then?''
``No, you're still wandering off the point.''
``An ookba?'' ``Now you're thinking of gazelle-like creatures. The most important feature you can find in a bookbag is that the seam holding the zipper on should be torn. This way there's a little opening that you can slide things through.''
``The zipper's blissfully inadequate as a way of getting at the interior of the bookbag, then?''
``Sure. It's fine right away, of course, but there are only so many times you can zip a zipper before it suffers some critical zipper malfunction and stops being usable except as a blockage which breaks the moment you expect it to stay closed.''
``I can see why you'd want to conserve them. How many times can you zip a zipper before it breaks?''
``Four. Five if one is a child, or plans to be one someday. Do you know the next-most important thing to look for?''
``It better not be a pencil with the point rubbed down to nothing. I've got plenty of those, mostly rolled between the sofa cushions.''
``Those come in useful all the time. There's no better way of interrupting an unpleasant phone call than saying you need to write this down, and go around trying to find something to write with, and finding nothing, until the other person gives up and tries calling people who foolishly keep pens at the ready.''
``After today I'll banish pens from my telephone area. Later today I'll need to call someone unpleasant.''
``Excellent work. The important thing about a successful bookbag is that you can carry a can of soda in it.''
``You could carry a soda in nearly anything, except where they call it 'pop' or 'coke'.''
``Ah, but will at least one soda can explode in everything it might be carried in? Sure, if you wait long enough and detonate it in a controlled fashion. But almost all those things can be cleaned. Only the highest-quality bookbags will be able to absorb all the stickiness from that soda can and still keep that stickiness around years later. At reasonable prices you can enjoy years of your stuff clung to by the blissful memory of Sprite Zero.''
``Now that's the sort of thing I'll want, especially now that it's back-to-school season.''
``Best time of year to look for it.''
``Of course when I was younger, in the past, we had a much more interesting back to school season. The game had much broader antlers in those days, some of them reaching across the whole of the kickball field painted in the parking lot out front.''
``You can't go hunting schools.''
``Oh, not now, not till the season proper opens. But I'll never forget those early mornings, examining the dew, looking for the tracks of the charming nostalgia-tinged elementary school or the defiant pronking through the lawns of the middle school, lurking for safety amongst the ookba herds, where everyone who left it said they were the most picked-on students in the class. Walking the pristine trails of the school's natural habitats, looking for magical places with fine names such as 1 School Lane, or 100 School Drive, or if you were one of the best trackers of all time finding High School 14.''
``Why'd you have to be so good to find the 14th High School?''
``The district only had ten high schools.''
``That does make it challenging to find.''
``Not as much as you'd think; they started the numbers at 11. It was just a really crafty school.''
``Hold that thought; I need to write this down.''
``I'll wait. My calls come pre-holden.''
Trivia: American Airlines saved $40,000 per year in the 1980s by cutting the olives out of in-flight dinner salads. Source: Moveable Feasts, Sarah Murray. (You'd think they'd have had to hire extra people to take out all those olives, but what do I know?)
Currently Reading: Why Most Things Fail, Paul Ormerod. Oddly, while it establishes pretty well that most things fail, it doesn't get much into explanations of what goes wrong other than that ``people have very little idea how many possible non-desired consequences there are nor how likely so many of them are''.