The time in 2008 when I discovered I was not a briefcase guy.
This was published in the Nov 16, 2008 edition of the Joplin Globe.
I can’t carry a briefcase.
I mean, physically I can carry a briefcase, but mentally I’m not briefcase-worthy. Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to be one of those cool briefcase-carrying guys. You know, the sort of guy who strides confidently into a courtroom carrying a briefcase, smartly sets it on a table, unsnaps it and, with a flourish, pulls out a stack of papers that not only hold the key to his client’s innocence but also holds the key to the future of the entire free world. Resulting in the following dramatic exchange:
Judge: Wait a minute, aren’t you the janitor?
Briefcase Guy: Yes, I am. But I’ve got a cool briefcase.
Judge: So you do. Case dismissed.
I want to be briefcase guy, but sadly I’m more a lunch-bag guy than I am briefcase guy. It takes a special sort of guy to be a briefcase guy. George Clooney, for example, could be a briefcase guy. So could that guy on “Mad Men.” Which guy, you ask? It doesn’t matter. All the guys on “Mad Men” look like briefcase guys. Especially that guy who looks like Anderson Cooper. By the way, Anderson Cooper could be a briefcase guy.
Know who cant’ be a briefcase guy? Carrot Top. Know who else can’t be a briefcase guy? George Bush. Barack Obama is definitely a briefcase guy. John Madden is not.
And neither am I. First of all, I don’t look like a briefcase guy. I like to wear Hawaiian shirts, and I always look like I need a haircut, even if I’ve just had one. Guys who wear Hawaiian shirts and are in need of a haircut are not briefcase guys.
To be a briefcase guy you need to have something important enough to put in a briefcase. You need important papers.
I’m a newspaper columnist. The most important papers I deal with come in rolls. And nobody wants to see someone pull that out of a briefcase. Now, there are people who work in the newsroom here who do carry briefcases. But those people are reporters. People who actually do news work. People who deal with important stuff. People who don’t write about briefcases. Or beer.
It would be silly for me to carry a briefcase. It would be like Sarah Palin carrying a book. I mean, what’s the point?
I had to carry my wife’s briefcase the other day. My wife, by the way, is a briefcase woman. My wife looks cool carrying a briefcase. My wife has important papers she needs to carry. My wife has a big calendar in her briefcase where she keeps track of all of her important meetings. I don’t have any important meetings that I have to attend so I don’t carry a calendar.
My wife’s calendar is huge. I know this because my wife left her briefcase at home Thursday morning. So she called me and asked me to open her briefcase, find her calendar and tell her what important meetings she had scheduled. So I did. When I got to November in her calendar, I told her that she didn’t have any important meetings to attend. I told my wife she had something scheduled for the next day but nothing for Thursday. My wife told me I was looking at the wrong calendar. I told my wife she was crazy. My wife again told me I was looking at the wrong calendar. I told my wife I was looking at her November calendar.
“What year?” my wife asked.
I told my wife that I was looking at this year’s calendar. I told my wife she would have to be crazy to already schedule stuff for next November.
“What year does it say at the top of the calendar?” my wife asked in that tone of hers that makes it sound like I’m a moron.
“2009,” I said.
I hate that tone of my wife’s.
My wife told me to bring her briefcase to work with me. She told me she would come to the newspaper and pick it up. So, I carried my wife’s briefcase out to my car. I opened my car door and causally tossed my wife’s briefcase onto the front passenger seat. I felt pretty cool. Then I drove to work. While I drove, I occasionally glanced at my wife’s briefcase. I felt cool. I felt sophisticated.
When I got to the parking lot at work, I got grabbed my wife’s briefcase and got out of my car. I walked across the street, confidently carrying my wife’s briefcase. I walked past Ed Hershewe’s law offices. I wondered if people driving by thought I worked in Ed’s office. Then I wondered what Ed would think if he thought people thought I worked in his office. I decided Ed wouldn’t like that.
Ed’s a briefcase guy. I’m not.
I’m a Hawaiian shirt-wearing, haircut-needing columnist carrying his wife’s briefcase to work.
I just hope that my wife won’t get too mad at me when she’s in the middle of an important meeting and she opens her briefcase and dramatically pulls out … a roll of toilet paper.