Diary of a Purse

Remember the old 1970s game show, “Let’s Make a Deal”?
If I’d have been a contestant and Monty Hall picked me, I would have raked in the dough because everything he’d have asked for I would have had in my purse.
Even today, I still could make money off of what’s in there—and that’s my only consolation for being stupid enough to lug around something that weighs more than I do.
Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher from the sixth century (B.C.), once said: “To handle difficulties, handle them when they are small and just beginning.”
I should have applied that little piece of advice to my purse. It’s beyond difficult.
I think purse manufacturers the world over only add fuel to the fire by convincing women they always need a bigger one. Quite frankly, there’s only one place where size matters and it’s not my handbag.
However, I got sucked into buying the big one a year ago and I haven’t stopped stuffing things in it every since. That is, until the bottom fell out last week.
Actually it was the inside seam that gave way—sending all manner of paraphernalia into the deep, dark recesses beneath the fabric.
I should have fixed the darned thing right away but, from time to time, I can procrastinate with the best of them and this was one of those times. Besides, there were far more important things to do like hang clothes on the line.
So as Murphy’s Law would have it, I didn’t fix my purse before that one occasion when I was desperately searching for something in there and couldn’t find it.
If you want to see how fast I can go from beautiful to ballistic, catch me—when I’m in a hurry—rummaging for my lipstick in that chasm.
That’s what happened Saturday evening just minutes before Peter arrived home from work. I was dolling up the “goods” and, trying to beat the clock, was into extreme makeover mode in “Quicktime.”
The dogs, who get slightly more excited than I do when Peter pulls into the yard, were barking in fits and I had yet to paint the Hollywood lips. I had one minute, max.
I dragged my purse over to the bed and shoved my hand into the pile of digested items and grabbed the first thing that felt like a tube of lipstick.
Unless I’m James Bond’s girlfriend, feminine products don’t double as lipstick.
Micro-screwdriver. Used once to fix a pair of expensive sunglasses that the next day were flattened under the wheels of my car after I left them on the hood.
A stone. Yes, folks, I carry stones in my purse. Flat ones make great candle holders while round ones are good for making soup two days before payday. This one is a worry stone—rubbed nearly in half in recent months because of parental stress.
A corkscrew. No need to explain that one.
Three penknives. One with everything, including nail clippers and a corkscrew, in case I get lost.
On and on it went as I whipped out Band-Aids, a comb, bobby pins, a mirror, sticky notes, matches, an address book, hand wipes, all manner of grocery lists, batteries, a road map, and air freshener.
I vowed to pitch it all, but then, all of it had meaning and value. I just needed a bigger purse.
At last I stumbled upon the lipstick, traced the kisser, and ran to stand at the door for my man. With all children away from the nest, there was plenty of time for tomfoolery (or should I say “pete-foolery”).
We backtracked to the bedroom—only to find the bed covered in the volcanic eruption from my handbag.
“Where did all this stuff come from?,” Pete asked, scooping up handfuls of the stuff.
“My purse,” I remarked. “I was looking for something.”
“You need a bigger purse—size matters,” he remarked.
“Yes, it does,” I replied, with a smile.

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