(Today's post is brought to you by guest-blogger, Tom. Just a bit of background for you before reading on. Tom believes in using things until they wear out. And sometimes longer. He drives his cars for at least 10 years. He still wears shorts I remember buying when my kids were kids. He rarely buys new stuff -- because he can still use the old stuff. So, with that bit of background . . . Hit it, Tom!)
It was the best of bags; it was the worst of bags. My poor, beloved gym bag was worn to shreds and with no obvious replacement. (Kym: Ahem. This was only because he refused to look for a replacement.) Gaping holdes, shredded duct tape from earlier repairs.
The end was near.
(Kym: Maybe several exits past "near.")
But, a solution appeared based on the history of the bag.
Dial back to summer 1988.*
A group of young scientists looking for an interesting technical meeting that was also in a cool location. What could be better than ISCH 6 (6th international symposium on homogeneous catalysis, in case you're wondering) in Vancouver, British Columbia? Pre-kids, Kym and I piggybacked on a week-long driving tour of western Canada -- beginning in Calgary, stopping in Vancouver and ending in Seattle -- and then I went to meet my colleagues back in Vancouver for the meeting.
While the venue was excellent, the meeting turned out to be a dud, at least in terms of the type of things we were interested in. In truth, my colleagues and I spent an embarrassingly large amount of time in the student union playing bubble hockey and quaffing Rickard's Red Ale instead of attending dull lectures. (Kym: Ah. The exciting life of a Scientist.)
We received the bags as part of the meeting swag. And although I didn't use it extensively for some time, I found it to be the perfect size for my trips to the gym. So it was used off and on for the first 18 years -- and then heavily (maybe 5 times a week) for the next ten years, with obvious and predictable wear and tear.
As I was contemplating getting rid of my beloved bag (perhaps burning it in a private ceremony), I had the thought to contact one of my friends who'd also attend the BC Boondoggle in the off-chance that he (let's call him "Gerg"; not his real name) might still have his bag.
Indeed, he did -- and was willing to trade it for some of my home-brewed beer. "Gerg" apparently never used his bag, and it is in Mint Condition. (Kym: I cannot believe he still had his unused bag . . . let alone knew where to find it!)
This 28-year-old bag will hopefully get me through another 10 years (or more) of gym use.
* (Oh. My. God. 1988 hair.)