The time has come, Backpack, to stuff you into the kitchen trash bin and replace you with a younger, cleaner version of yourself.
I don’t have much of a choice here. The rip at the top of your big compartment is yawning by the day, and, despite our best wishes, those four safety pins did not fix the problem. Obviously, this is a metaphor, Backpack, and one that bodes poorly for your future.
After exploring the possibility of sewing your tear, my wife told me that you smell “like sweat and death,” a damning prognosis that makes you a suboptimal sidekick as I try to enter the job market.
Please don’t droop like that, Backpack. This isn’t personal.
Yes, it’s my fault that I stopped washing you regularly, but my nose is terrible, so I hadn’t noticed your stench. And you have to admit that it takes an unreasonably long time for you to dry after being washed. It’s not like I’m going to live out of a tote bag while I wait out the dampness. Neither of us wants that.
There’s just no getting around it. It’s time to call a family meeting with the cats, put on some Adele, empty the movie passes from that weird pouch of yours—the one with the Velcro—and shove you into the trash right on top of the coffee grounds.
I’ve always admired your ability to put a practical spin on marsupial characteristics, Backpack.
Let’s try to focus on the good times. How long have we been together? A quick scan of my Gmail accounts (I’m not even going to drag middle school’s “firstname.lastname@example.org” into this) yields no clues. But my mom—who spends far too much energy remembering all of the crap my family can’t—says we started out together in late 2007.
You’ve been a goddammed war horse, Backpack. You’ve endured myriad globs of sweat-soaked gym clothes, countless trips to the grocer—No, I have my own bag. Yes, it will fit.—and, frankly, a protracted regime of deleterious neglect.
There was that time in ‘08 when I passed out, puked on your forest green exterior, and brought you to my internship at the Boston Globe. In my defense, I don’t remember throwing up on you. I’m sorry, baby.
More than a few times, jars shattered inside of you, releasing the iced coffee within. I know it’s weird and dangerous to carry iced coffee in a glass jar, but that anything-goes-in-me mantra has made you the stuff of legend. Not once did you say, “You are insane, please don’t fill me with 20 cans of crushed tomatoes.”
Mary Poppins’ handbag should take lessons from you, baby. Yesterday, at Trader Joe’s, the checkout guy said you “must be bottomless.” Even strangers can see your incredible talent. We make a great team.
It brings me great joy to arrive at a party with you carrying a laptop, a jar of bourbon, a bell pepper, two huge textbooks, a toothbrush, and 20 pounds of cat litter. Those looks people give us, baby? That’s jealousy. No messenger bag, briefcase, or purse can do what you do.
Backpack, you’ll always be special to me. I promise never to get another green L.L. Bean knapsack. I’ll remember you as unique, unlike two of my childhood cats, Fluffy and Mittens, who both had dark grey and white fur and were accomplished cuddlers, and are now, I’m sorry to say, the same creature in my mind.
You are the Larry Bird of backpacks, Backpack, so I’m retiring your number. Baby, I’m raising you to the fucking rafters. (Metaphorically speaking, of course. You’re still going to a landfill.)
I know you want me to be happy, so I ordered a new backpack. It’s red, and the monogram is different, with a serif this time.
I’m taking this pretty hard, baby.
You deserve to go out on your terms. Would you like to be cremated? Just think it over. Don’t answer right now. I’m an Eagle Scout, so I could do a fire and a short ceremony and everything.
I promise the red backpack won’t be there.