2014-04-10 / Views

From the Braver Institute

Most jeans have five pockets. Two in back, two in front and one small pocket slightly above the opening to the right front pocket. The purpose of this pocket has been described as being for coins or keys or any other small item that you would desire to place in a pocket that is nearly impossible to remove something from. The official name of this pocket is the watch pocket and is a holdover from the days before wristwatches. These pockets snugly held a pocket watch which would be pulled from the pocket by the use of a watch fob. For some reason this fifth pocket became part of the jean design and it has remained such in spite of the pocket watches near extinction.

Anyway, I am not here to write about the demise of the pocket watch. It is pockets themselves that have my full attention. More specifically; the purpose of pockets (or at least certain pockets).

I recently purchased a new golf bag (I don’t know why, since the snow is never going to melt) and as you might expect, it has pockets. Too many pockets. Pockets that I have no idea the purpose of. It reminds me of a jacket I bought years ago.

Flipping through a mail-order catalog I was captivated by the image of a photojournalist’s jacket. It looked exactly like the jackets I used to see being worn by guys with five cameras around their necks in the background of an evening news report from some far away place that no one had ever heard of.

This jacket was loaded with pockets—twenty-one of them, to be exact. How could I live another day without something as cool as that jacket? Needless to say, I ordered it.

The jacket arrived in all of its pocket-laden glory. I couldn’t wait to try it out. The trouble was that I didn’t really have anything to put in any of its twenty-one pockets. Even if I had worn it when I was out with my camera I still wouldn’t have anything to put it in except for a roll or two of extra film. I had only one camera (which hung around my neck of course) and no additional lenses for it.

The truth is that I had no need for a photojournalist’s jacket. I just wanted it because it looked cool.

Looking at the pockets on this thing it was almost impossible to tell what purpose the designer had in mind for them. It was as if Jackson Pollack were a clothing designer instead of an artist and he took handfuls of pockets and threw them at a piece of fabric and wherever they landed, that is where they were sewn. Who knows why they were where they were or what purpose they were intended for?

The thing really needed an instruction sheet to explain where all the pockets were and what you should use them for. To this day (I still have the jacket) I don’t know what eighteen of the pockets are for. It has three pockets that are roughly the size of film canisters so I am assuming that is their intended purpose. The rest of the pockets are a complete mystery. I think I have actually used one inside pocket and maybe one or two of the outside pockets. The rest have been decoration.

Realistically, if I were to use even half of the pockets on this jacket I would end up looking like a lumpy pillow walking down the street. Twenty-one pockets in a jacket? Really? Who in their right mind could use such a thing to its fullest extent and still be able to stand upright?

My new golf bag has far fewer pockets but no less mystery. To its credit, three of the pockets are marked. One says “pen”, another says “putter holster” and the third has a snowflake on it which I am assuming is the beverage cooler pocket. The info tag on the bag claims that it has a GPS pocket, but it makes no reference as to which of the many remaining pockets is in fact the GPS pocket.

I suppose I will just have to decide for myself what the pockets are for. Maybe I could use one for extra socks, one for bottle caps, one for garlic powder, one for guitar picks, one for crushed red pepper, one for...

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Waye Braver can be contacted on Facebook or by email at waye@braverinstitute.com. Visit the Braver Institute at www.braverinsitute.com.

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