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Father will sometimes look an object that has become worn-out and dog-eared only to shake his head and announce in a sad countenance said-object “has had the course”. To reach this stage is a sad thing; the long-time often-cherished object needs to be tossed out and replaced, and not without some remorse for doing so.

I am afraid my intrepid U of Michigan gym bag has had the course. It shows much wear and tear. Last night as I hoisted onto my shoulder the strap tore away from the nylon setting. I can forgo the strap and carry it around like a doctor’s bag I suppose, but I know it is just a matter of time before these handles go too. I used it nearly every day; I can take comfort it had a good and useful life.

Like a lot of men who have favorite items of clothes, shoes, or belongings, I don’t want to throw it out but hang on as long as possible and often too long at that. It was a Christmas present from Brother #4. I daresay I will call him up and find out where he got it rather than buying something different.

I wonder if women walk around noticing each other’s purses like I do with gym bags. When I am not inspecting the fellows who carry them I am looking at their gym bags. Here in PHX they fall into two categories: the purple/yellow type with ASU logos and the non-descript type, usually black. Mine was the only bright blue and yellow bag. It was noticed. That isn’t always good. Most of the time my U of M gym bag elicited conversations from thems from the Midwest, particularly if they once upon a time lived in Michigan. Men in the locker room might engage in friendly banter if they were alumni from this-that-or-the-other Big 10 schools.

michiganwolverinesvsohiostatebuckeyesclassicfootballrivalryOnce in a while as I walk in or out of the gym and I encounter a fellow wearing  a deplorable red and white T-shirt. Our eyes meet and narrow. We stiffen as if suddenly sickened at some awful confrontation. I am the one who usually speaks first, often making  the comment if we keep approaching we are likely to explode like matter/anti-matter. This diffuses the tense situation and it sometimes causes  confusion in the red/white person just enough to get away before they assault me.

Mercifully there is no shooting.

I am fairly certain I will get a replicate gym bag, not out of fanatic alumni loyalty for I like the familiar and the bag is a conversation starter – it is always good for chatting up the fellow next to me in the locker room. While he is admiring my Maize and Blue I am admiring oh you get the idea.

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