From one old bag to another

Anyone who’s ever met me in person could probably understand why I sympathize with old bags.

Recently, I was strongly urged to upgrade the lunch bag I had used for years to a newer model. I’ve packed and brought my own lunch to work for decades, beginning long before the recessionista fashionistas made it trendy. Somewhere during that time, I acquired a simple yellow cloth sack with the then-innovative feature of a Velcro strip. The shapeless design allowed me to cram it full of sandwiches, cookies, fruit and cereal bars, then stuff that into my equally decrepit “briefcase”.

The sack looks like this …

… and the briefcase looks like this …

I would’ve been perfectly happy using neither of these accessories if I could’ve figured a better way to carry around my stuff. A good friend from my college days was famous for toting many of his worldly possessions around in a crisp, brown grocery bag. He and I were reporters together on the student newspaper. He would hike off across the Quad for an interview with the executive vice president carrying his notebook, pens, pocket dictionary and who knows what else in a fully packed sack, hoisted high on his chest. It looked like he’d stopped off on his way home from Albertson’s to grill the dean about unfair treatment of certain campus organizations, then offer him a stalk of celery to show there were no hard feelings.

I’ve considered simply using my pockets. Crushing a peanut butter sandwich in your pants for half the day actually changes the texture in a favorable way, infusing the bread with jelly and rendering the otherwise pedestrian meal panini-like. You just have to be prepared to explain to your coworkers the occasional presence of what looked like a blood stain in your right buttock.

But I opted for the above-pictured yellow and black ensemble, and they served me well for many years. Then, about a month ago, my wifeย noticed an irresistible offer at the local organic food store. With any $5 purchase, you could get a free Eco-Guardian Enviro-Sak. It had three strips of Velcro, two of which attached to each other andย the third one running along the base in case you cared to collect burrs.

“Look, it’s really nice,” my wife said, and she was right. As you can see in the picture below, it has enough structure to allow it to stand unsupported, and a bright blue design with a splash of yellow and the word “Yum!” scrawled across that.

She was even kind enough to write my name on the top flap, just in case it or I got lost. All I had to do now was fill it full of lunch-style goodies, and I’d be ready for my first day of second grade.

Reluctantly, I tossed my trusty Old Yeller into the garbage and joined the 21st century. That first morning, I tried to cram the new bag into the briefcase, as I had done with the old one, but it just wouldn’t fit. I folded and twisted and shoved to the best of my ability, and yet the recyclable plastic frame was not flexible enough. I had to dangle it along side my briefcase as I walked into the office.

“Cool sack,” commented the production coordinator. “Hey, I’ll trade you my baloney sandwich if your mom gave you Lunchables today.”

I suffered through the derision and mockery for several more mornings until I realized it was curbside garbage pickup day and I was about to say goodbye to my old yellow bag forever. Early that morning, while it was still dark, I rummaged through the rollout bin and rescued the old bag. I haven’t begun to use it again; it’s just nice to know it’s stashed safely in my underwear drawer should I ever decide to return to a simpler time.

Then, just about a week ago, the office park where I work had its annual tenant appreciation day. In addition to plying us with hamburgers and potato salad, they offered a souvenir giveaway. It looked like this …

I think it’s supposed to be the 5G of lunch bags, though it could just as easily serve as luggage for a five-week business trip to The Hague. It has zippers, it has mesh netting, it has an insulated interior and it has what looks like shoelaces strapped across the top, where I guess you can cram anything that couldn’t fit on the inside. It even has our company logo emblazoned on a nylon strip across the front.

A lot of my coworkers are crazy about the thing, but I just can’t stand the thought of yet another giant leap forward in technology so soon after I’m barely comfortable with my Enviro-Sak. I feel like I’m living in one of those rapidly emerging cultures of Asia, where half a generation ago nobody even had a landline phone, and now everyone’s walking the streets with the latest in wireless.

I’m keeping the insulated super bag handy, since Thanksgiving is just around the corner and — who knows? — maybe I’ll want to prepare turkey and all the fixin’s at my desk if I have to work that day. I could even bring a few family members along, secured safely in the side pockets.

I’ll catch a glimpse of my old yellow bag in the dresser as I’m getting ready for work each morning, and think of the good times we shared together. I don’t want to be so old-fashioned as to revert to those fond memories for everyday use. Still, it’s nice just knowing it’s there if I ever want to relive the glory days.

Maybe I can fashion them into a pair of “memory” socks, like some people do with quilts, if I can figure a way to keep the Velcro off my heel.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

77 Responses to “From one old bag to another”

  1. sandysays1 Says:

    As always, stopping by your site is time well spent.

  2. lifeintheboomerlane Says:

    Loved this post, as it reminded me of why I carried the same wallet for 17 or 18 years. I should write a post about that! Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. jenkline75 Says:

    Very funny! I hope you and your new bag will learn to be very happy together and, if not, that you will find happiness again with Old Yeller.

  4. The Ignorant Bystander Says:

    The “5G of lunch bags” looks more like the Optimus Prime of lunch bags. There was nothing wrong with your set up in the first place. I’d use that old yellow bag until the handles disintegrated in my hands.

  5. Angelia Sims Says:

    I always enjoy your humor, Davis. Great lunch bag (the old yeller one). It had character.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed (again).

  6. dearliv Says:

    Great post! . . . Perfect way to start my day . . . I’m taking the kids to buy new backpacks and lunch sacks . . .
    Thanks for the laugh!

  7. juliedemboski Says:


  8. buzzbeecaroline Says:


    I don’t know you at all, but I would like to tell you that on this Thursday morning, you have comforted me; as my own experiences seem to be quite similar to your own. Thank you for making me feel like my desire for a simpler way to transport lunch is not so crazy.


  9. valtheevaluator Says:

    Funny. I like your writing style. I just found you because you got pressed. Wish I had a kindle! Think maybe you could write a post about those and do a giveaway!

  10. Evie Garone Says:

    I’m sooo sorry we women always try to change & spiff you men up! I heard me in that exchange doing that to my husband. He would have ignored me though. I guess you should just go back to your old yellow bag that you love. It fits in your Oh, so nice briefcase. If these things make you happy and comfortable, I guess that should be good enough. That cool 5G bag is just another whole bag you have to drag around. But don’t tell HER I said so!

  11. The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife Says:

    I love how sentimental we become to certain things. Nice post!

  12. Shirley Sheep Says:

    I can imagine Old Yeller biding its time amongst the undergarments with just one thought, “soon he’ll come round, I’ll be used again soon…”

  13. Martha Grant Says:

    We are peas in a pod, Davis. I also am experimenting with a new insulated lunch bag and I am trying very hard to like its rigid form and zippered compartments. My new sack is more stylish than my purse! (And my worn-out and much-loved fabric sack is waiting in the junk drawer for its day)

  14. iborian Says:

    Hahahhahaha! You made my day! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Roberta Owen Says:

    In a generation where something “old” is aged with a mere 6 months, this is refreshing to see. Having said that, we’re also (as you mentioned in the beginning) living in an age where recycling and reusing and rescraping one’s belongings and reconfiguring them into different usable items around the house, office, etc is the new “craze” … putting the two together, we get a unique position: will we be constantly changing our “recyclables” or “hand-mades” around, for the newness of it all? I loved your post: I laughed so hard with the forethought of Thanksgiving.

  16. notesfromrumbleycottage Says:

    You mean you cannot recycle it as a re-usable grocery bag?

    Congrats on being freshly pressed, well deserved.

  17. CrystalSpins Says:

    I’m a grocery bag girl myself. I just re-use those. It isn’t fancy, but it does the job. Although I don’t have a briefcase. I have a purse that is as big as a briefcase instead. Don’t judge me..


  18. marinasleeps Says:

    I totally know what you mean. Those huge lunch bags they make now make me look invisible carrying it. I miss my old metal lunch box from third grade. Those were the days!

  19. Conflicted Mean Girl Says:

    What a great post. I was actually feeling a twinge of sadness for you yellow bag tucked away. Somehow in my mind your “old bag” has a certain Velveteen Rabbit quality.

  20. Courtney Says:

    hahahha oh the adventures in lunch sacks!

    when I was in high school my parents would always put the lunch I made into a handy dandy sack, that was embarrassing beyond words! They were always the cheapo disney designed ones, and I was a senior in high school toting around a mickey mouse bag!

    untill I politely shoved it into my backpack so nobody would ever notice ๐Ÿ™‚ hahaha

  21. CC Says:

    LOL. This was too cute. You sound so much like my mother. She has ‘Old Trusty’ things. She will wear sweaters and coats until there are giant holes. Finally, someone will buy her a new something and she says, ‘I don’t know if I can give up old trusty.’ It’s time, Mom, it’s time.

  22. Emma Says:

    My husband won’t take a packed lunch to work because he says he’ll feel like a goof walking in to work with it. I admire your ‘to hell with it’ approach. You and I eat tasty homemade lunches while my husband moans his way through overpriced rubbish.

    Hurray for The Packed Lunch – no matter what you carry it in!


  23. rtcrita Says:

    Kind of reminds me of a tote bag I made once. I made it big enough for the things I like to carry and with just the right amount of pockets–inside and out. All my friends thought it was great. I even embroderied my first name initial on the front like some of the trendy bags I had seen in magazines. It was the perfect shade of green with a black fabric along the lower portion. I carried it everyday to work. It held everything I wanted it to and then some because I designed it that way.

    Eventually, it started to wear out from so much use. I had it over a year. I finally had to quit using it because it had so much wear at the bottom. I still wish I had it. I could just make another one, I guess. But the fabric was perfect on the original. Now you’ve made me want to go sew up another! Maybe I can make it even more stupendous than the first! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Christy aka Mamarazzi Says:

    I say throw caution to the wind and go back to Old Reliable! Just dont put a PBJ in your pocket please! LOL

  25. chelsealaina Says:

    I personally prefer Old Yeller and I love the worn briefcase. I may only be 19, but old and used is my “new”. Thanks for sharing!

  26. carldagostino Says:

    Shucks. Dis ain’t nothin. Why, I’ve been carrying around the same old childhood resentments for 61 years now!

  27. Jen Says:

    lol, too funny

  28. Andrew Says:

    I enjoyed this post quite a bit. Made me think of some of the things I tend to be sentimental about.

  29. The Yoga of Living Says:

    My husband uses a similar tote system as your college-days reporter buddy. However, instead of a crisp, brown bag it’s a plastic grocery bag emblazened with the name of our local grocery store.

    He has been known to use it for travel and even important business meetings. I figure he knows what he’s doing and simply refer to it as his Gucci bag.

  30. Kathy Says:

    Old bag, indeed. I haven’t laughed so hard in the middle of the day for a long time! Thanks for your witty and hilarious commentary on lunch and life!

  31. theradgal Says:

    I loved this. For a semester, I carried around all my books and whatnot in a super-thick, heavy-duty plastic bag from the campus bookstore. I simply referred to it as “my backpack.” I used it until the handle fell off.

  32. ohiforgotmyname Says:

    may i sit on it?

  33. Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life Says:

    Too funny! Had a few LOL moments.

  34. natinanorton Says:

    Great post and congrats on Freshly Pressed!

    I say go for turning the old bag into a memory quilt or some such crafty thing. I’ve done the same with old t-shirts. In fact, I made my own reusable grocery bag out of an old t-shirt! Dead handy too! No Velcro though. ๐Ÿ™‚


  35. alialways Says:

    LOL!! I love this! its the simple things in life that make for a good blog….thats also when you realize how non-simple these things really aren’t. This also remind me of the song by John Mayer called 83 (as in 1983) where he says, “Whatever happened to my, what ever happened to my, whatever happened to my lunch box? When came the day that it got thrown away and dont you think i should have had some say in that decision..if only my life was more like 1983..”

    great post!

  36. clairela Says:

    poor old Yeller! haha great laugh on this one ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. sarahnsh Says:

    This is so cute because I can actually really relate to it. Since I was a kid I had an adorable little lunch bag to fit my peanut butter and jelly, turkey sandwitch, and snacks in it. I always had one until just recently.

    Now, I am crazy about frozen food. Lean Cuisines are my thing, but I do miss my lunch bag and I still have my old one still saved.

  38. Acai Says:

    lol. what a great post. I loved reading this. I love the reference for the 5g of lunch bags. Oh I’m still laughing! Keep up the great writing.

  39. Mormon Soprano Says:

    Hilarious post! I’ve got a pair of shoes I can’t bear to part with even though they’re hole ridden and stinky…but, I’m with you – “wear it out, use it up…etc.. Call me sentimental [or senile] but they just don’t make things like they used to.

    Picturing your pitiful rescued bag hiding out with your underwear is a tragic image I’d rather not dwell on. Good luck with finding your next ‘destined-to-grow-old’ bag.
    Cheers! – MoSop

  40. Ivan Says:

    I feel the same way every time I replace my backback. Most of the stuff in it is not job related but for some reason, I feel I can’t live without any of it. Every so often, I clean it out and get the weight down to about half of what it was only to start re-packing it all over again, piece by piece.

  41. Fishink Says:

    Made me smile

    Who said guys never think about these kind of things lol

  42. deidreamerico Says:

    my husband is still using the huge insulated tote emblazoned with the logo from the company he *used* to work for…..he hides the bag every time his new boss comes into his office…

  43. Daryl Hobbs Says:

    Leave a post when the movie comes out – it’ll be a hit.

  44. loretta8 Says:


  45. casspaz Says:

    Is that picnic lunch bag giveaway preparing for world war 3? Are we feeding an orphanage with that thing?

    Ah, but the beauty of life, the balance between hanging on and letting go. Boiled down to a sack lunch. Preach brother.

  46. mamaflurfel Says:

    Awwwww… May all your sandwiches be as hearty as the laughs I had reading this.

  47. Munira Says:

    heehee…glad i picked this one to read FIRST from that cornucopia of freshly presseds! you’re funny ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. Munira Says:

    i’m adding you to my links!

  49. cheneetot08 Says:

    Great Post ! Men usually tend to be emotional even on small things, specially on things they have been using for quite some time or have served them well over the few years.

  50. Choka Says:

    Thanks for a good laugh! There is beauty in simplicity.

  51. sayitinasong Says:

    What a funny post- enjoyed reading it.

  52. atheistquotes Says:

    Leave a post when the movie comes out โ€“ itโ€™ll be a hit.

  53. Christina Says:

    It is sometimes hard to give up a well loved possession, even a lunch sack. Cheers to you and your new Enviro-Sak – may your drinks always be cold, and your crackers never be crumbly!

  54. NuttyMama Says:

    Now I understand why my husband wont use the new upgraded lunch sack I got him. It has a special separate zipper pouch for a soda so it wont crush his chips and everything. It also explains the Star Wars toys from childhood he still has sitting on his dresser even though he turns 33 next week.
    Thanks for the funny read and the insight into the male mind.

  55. niconica Says:

    Great post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers, Niconica

  56. parwatisingari Says:

    great, I am having similar dilemma with my bag and the rains.

  57. Voula ( Says:

    I’d be upset about letting go of a trusty lunch sack too. When something works so well for you upgrading to the “newer technology” just doesn’t seem right, does it?

  58. sindhu Says:

    gud post

  59. Birds of Paradise* Says:

    hahaha. i love the yellow bag ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  60. thinkingcoral Says:

    Your writing is a very enjoyable read, thanks old bag ๐Ÿ™‚

  61. From one old bag to another (via DavisW’s Blog) « Thewondermya's Blog Says:

    […] by thewondermya in Uncategorized Anyone who's ever met me in person could probably understand why I sympathize with old bags. Recently, I was strongly urged to upgrade the lunch bag I had used for years to a newer model. I've packed and brought my own lunch to work for decades, beginning long before the recessionista fashionistas made it trendy. Somewhere during that time, I acquired a simple yellow cloth sack with the then-innovative feature of a Velcro strip. The shapeless des … Read More […]

  62. mayannc Says:

    Great post, and fabulous read. Thank you!

  63. Moranna Says:

    Loved it… thanks for a good chuckle!

  64. J Says:

    This is hilarious, now I dont feel so bad. I have a pair of loafers aand a couple of “old bags” I need to get rid of myself. My husband has bought replacements but ehhh what the hell I like em. I dont care what anybody thinks!

  65. laquentin Says:

    i think you should do what you fell like and if you wont to keep that bag keep it and dont worry about what other people say

  66. nrhatch Says:

    Excellent post. You made me smile all the way through.

    Your yellow bag looks like my current black canvas purse . . . which has a hole in the side where the cell phone has used its antenna to dig its way to freedom.

    Soon . . . we shall have to part ways. : )

  67. Jonathan Garrison Says:

    Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! haha Great post!

    – Jonathan

  68. Andy Says:

    entertaining and funny! I thought u were going to go back to use your yellow bag, but the story was very sentimental how you just keep it in your sock drawer. keep the posts coming

  69. arthurtell Says:

    Great post

  70. Gina Says:

    I kinda like the new warchest with emblazoned logo on the front…Very hip! ๐Ÿ™‚

  71. iwonderbee Says:

    This provided me a good laugh. Glad you managed to save Old Yeller ๐Ÿ™‚

  72. newauthoronamazon Says:

    Yea….you sound just like me. Even when I replace old stuff I tuck them away somewhere until I can bear to throw them away.

  73. Everest Trekking Says:

    I just got back from a 3 week long trip to Thailand. Wish I would have found your blog sooner.

  74. I Am a Work in Progress Says:

    Your blog takes me back to my days of having a tin lunch box that had a curved top to hold my thermos away from my sandwiches on the bottom. Those were the good old days.

  75. csacks Says:

    Loved this post.

    I use a big leather-type bag for my books in school, and the straps have started stretching and splitting. I bought an identical bag that fits more, but it just isn’t the same. So, I’ve kept my old bag and I carry it instead of using the straps now.

    I guess it’s just hard to let go of the things that have been with you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  76. Rohn Strong Says:

    awesome, simply put.

  77. Renรฉe A. Schuls-Jacobson Says:

    Love this post. And now you can understand why women are forever looking for the right hand bag. We know they”re out there (just like your yellow sac), but we can’t really tell until we’ve lived inside them for a while.

    That’s why your “Eco-Friendly sac was an epic fail. Too stiff.

    Keep searching.


    Come visit me at Lessons From Teachers and Twits:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: