When it comes to using a wheelchair, I find few aspects more embarrassing and incriminating than my backpack.
Now, when I note wheelchair backpack, I should clarify that my backpack is of a tasteful black nylon that hangs neatly on the back of my chair, and blends in relatively well with my seating. What my backpack is not, is a rucksack made out of denim, with butterfly patches sewn on, made by Mom or Grandma. In fact, if I worked in the Legislature, I would ban denim rucksacks from ever being hung on wheelchairs, namely to prevent 12-year-old boys who use wheelchairs at school from being asked, “Why do you use a pansy-pack for your books?” (OK, maybe that’s my childhood issue to resolve.)
I should also clarify that when I say my backpack, I don’t really mean my backpack. Sure, the backpack hangs on the back of my wheelchair, but the backpack, itself, is essentially community property. The fact is, I can barely reach my backpack, and I certainly can’t see what’s in it, so I rarely use the darn thing; however, everyone else can both reach it, and see what’s in it – which is where the trouble begins, in that order.
As it turns out, backpacks are heavily in need by those who walk, but drastically underused, so it seems like whomever I’m with catches on to my backpack as the perfect place to store their stuff, which they then forget in my backpack. Then, my backpack ends up like a magician’s hat, where I never see what goes into it, but I’m always shocked by what comes out.
The last time that I was at a sporting event, the security guard asked me what was in my backpack, and when I told him it was empty, I wasn’t the least bit concerned when he looked inside my empty backpack – that is, till he started pulling stuff out.
“A Bratz doll,” he said, setting it on the table. “One pipe wrench. An empty Coke bottle. A snorkel. A Saturday Night Fever 8-track tape. And, three florescent yellow golf balls… For a dude with an empty backpack, you sure have some bizarre stuff.”
I felt like one of the suspects on the television show, Cops, where they’re searching his car, pulling out the craziest stuff ever – blow-up dolls, clown costumes, live chickens – and the guy’s pressed against the hood, proclaiming, “It’s not my stuff, Man!”
At some point, I suppose that I’d better get more control over my wheelchair’s backpack before I really get myself in trouble. Like the other night, this woman put her purse in my backpack for safe keeping at an event, and I guess it turned upside down at some point. So, the next morning, my wife went to stuff my rain gear in my backpack as I left for work, only to find lipstick and a carton of pantyhose in my backpack.
Of course, the true explanation, that some woman’s purse spilled in my backpack, wouldn’t be believed by any wife, no matter how true of a tale, so I thought it best to go all out with the first excuse that popped into my head: “Would you believe that I’ve been experimenting with cross-dressing?”
As I said, I really need to get control over my backpack.