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Attack of the Maneating Backpack

October 1, 2010

I rolled my eyes at first when I saw the headline for this online article, “Backpack Safety.”  Bike safety?  Check.  Personal safety?  Check.  Pool safety?  Check.  Cyber safety?  Check.  But backpack safety?  Please.  I have enough things to be genuinely worried about regarding my kids without bringing a glorified tote bag into the picture.

But then I started thinking about it.  Backpacks really are dangerous.  In the Savvy household there are several serious hazards posed by backpacks:

  • catastrophic paper lacerations could be caused at any given moment by an explosive discharge of papers (including but not limited to:  incomplete assignments; assignments that were completed but never turned in; assignments that were turned in, graded and handed back during the Nixon administration; class notes; old tests; multi-hued reminders of the book fair, family bingo night and the third (And final!  This time we really mean it!) extension of the school fund raising order form deadline; loose-leaf notepaper sheets decorated with enough swirly doodles to put any rococo artist to shame; and various and sundry overdue book notices, overdrawn lunch account notices, and class agenda pages
  • the tidiness of our home entry is seriously compromised by the gargantuan black and electric blue plaid bags (yes, I gave them free rein on the selection) and the accompanying Pig-Pen-like miasma of papers floating aimlessly about the general area *note:  the tidiness of our home entry is also compromised by my lackluster cleaning skills, but that’s beside the point*
  • the packs and attendant books, loose papers and empty lunch bags together pose an exponential trip risk

"Oh yeah. I'm big. I'm bad. I'm a backpack."

Setting aside all of the health risks posed by over-stuffed backpacks and focusing on the truly important, ie shallow appearances, when my 13 year-old hoists her backpack up onto her shoulders (via block and tackle) she ends up with a silhouette that would put Quasimodo to shame.  Fortunately her superior hygiene habits forestall any serious comparisons.

I do like the line, “Many packs feature multiple compartments that help students stay organized” (my emphasis).  Clearly that’s one memo among the thousands collected in their backpacks that is missing.  In a child’s mind, multiple compartments simply mean more surprise options as they blindly shove papers willy-nilly into the depths of their pack.  This of course leads to the classic, “Somebody took it out of my bag!” when it’s time to retrieve that night’s homework.

Another line I got a kick out of:  “The pack should rest evenly in the middle of the back and not sag down to the buttocks.”  Remember, we’re talking about the generation that inspired “Pants on the Ground.”  What’s another 20 pounds of papers and books when it already looks like you’re carrying around the bulky remains of an industrial-strength colon-cleanse in the seat of your saggy jeans?

A copy of the 16 billion page healthcare bill? Nope. Just the interior of one of our backpacks.

There are no lockers at our local middle school, so my daughter hauls her two-ton backpack around on her back all day, every day, at school.  Shouldn’t this fall under some kind of child labor law?  Forget kettle balls, I can use my kids’ backpacks for strengthening my core… if I were so inclined.

Perhaps it’s time for me to help my kids clear out the offending bags and do a bit of organizing.

Now where did I put that blast shield?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Olivia permalink
    January 26, 2011 7:50 pm

    Of course you use MY backpack as an example. 🙂

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