April 19, 2010

Better Living Through Minor Vandalism - an Illustrated Guide

Let’s say you’re a guy, and you just want to go down to your local coffee shop, or sit on a park bench and read, or even just take a walk. The problem is, you have all this stuff to carry – wallet, keys, cell-phone, loose change, iPod, maybe a little notebook and a pen for stray thoughts, a pack of gum, a packet of tissues for your perpetually runny nose, a book to read, some cigarettes and a lighter (this blog does not promote smoking), and in certain states maybe even a concealed weapon (this blog does not condone violence) – in other words, too much stuff to put in your pockets. Besides who wants all those heavy, uncomfortable and pointy objects crowding his pants? Not to mention that if you ever want to have kids, you really shouldn’t put any radiation-producing electronics anywhere near your kid-making apparatus.

So what do you do? You don’t want to take your backpack / messenger bag / briefcase for these small things, but you don’t want to get a small bag either because, let’s face it, a small bag is a purse, and only women should walk around with a purse.

Well, if you’re the kind of guy that doesn’t mind being seen with a book, and if you’re reading this blog you probably aren’t, I have a solution for you – Get a book.

But not just any book, get a largish, hardcover book, preferably one that's kind of old, looks nice on the outside, and is really boring on the inside. A book like, say, this one:

You can probably pick up a nice looking book for a couple of bucks at a used book store (If you’re in NYC you can go to the Strand where they have tons of books outside the store for $1). The following step is not for those who have a thing against vandalizing books, but it’s perfect for people who are into recycling – take said book and do this to it:

If you want to learn exactly how to hollow out a book you can look here or here (both sites refer to this as a hollow book, which I find to be derivative; I prefer the term smuggler’s bible) I borrowed ideas from both sites and added my own touch in the form of the page marker (more on its function later).

So now you have a hollowed out book where you can place all your belongings:

Or even, if you’re feeling ironic, use it to carry around a better book:

(This is where the page marker comes in – if the book/notebook placed into the smuggler’s bible is a tight fit the marker serves as a handy tab (make sure it’s well-fastened to the back or bottom of the frame) Now you may ask: "What if I like to read Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and my book is larger than the one that’s hollowed out?" Well, please hold all questions to the end.

So let’s say you’ve made your smuggler’s bible and you’re pleased as punch with it, but you’ve grown tired of holding it in your hand all the time. Well, it sound like what you need is a nice old-timey book leash. No, you don’t need to go out and buy one, you don’t even need to steal from your dog, because making one is remarkably easy. All you need is a little plastic buckle (or “slide” for you professional beltmakers) commonly found on various straps, backpacks, and other forms of luggage, and an old, unused tie:

Extra credit if the tie has ducks on it:

Now all you have to do is to pull the tie through both slots of the buckle, about two thirds of the way down from the narrow part, then wrap the tie around the book (wide part first), place the tie through one of the slots, pull it back a bit to tighten and voilà!

Now you can nonchalantly swing your fake book over your shoulder and sashay down the street while everyone eyes you with envy and yearning.

(Extra credit if there’s a Van Gogh painting in the background)

Plus, if you suddenly find yourself in a situation where a tie is needed, it can quickly be restored to its natural state since no structural damage was done to it.

And if you have to carry a book (or two) that’s bigger than your smuggler’s bible (I’m looking at you, Mr. Wisenheimer Tolstoyevsky), it’s not a problem. In fact, I think it looks even better that way:

Now, any questions?

1 comment:

  1. So, I'm guessing you're not a fan of the murse.

    This was a delightful read, btw.