When people are asked to say which invention has had the most impact on their lives, quite understandably the answers tend to be things like electricity, the telephone, the internal combustion engine, computers – perhaps even the wheel. 

My answer is pockets.

Not a day goes by without me being thankful for pockets.  My gratitude is such that I have even done a search on the web to see if I could track down the inventor of pockets but unlike, say, the bra (Mary Jacob) they are not attributed to any one person.  It is possible that pockets weren’t actually invented at all; perhaps they just evolved, though I suppose they couldn’t predate Adam and Eve before they nibbled that apple.

My pockets are reserved for certain things;  handkerchief (left trouser pocket), loose change (right trouser pocket), note book (jacket inside pocket), comb (jacket top pocket), mobile (jacket left hand pocket), rail tickets (jacket inside pocket – the little one lower down on the left that someone once told me was for packets of condoms).  That leaves keys/money/credit cards unaccounted for (and that’s the way it’s staying in case a professional pick-pocket reads this). 

Anyway, you’ve got the idea.  When I’m wearing a jacket and trousers, I have at a total of ten pockets at my disposal.  This is bumped up to thirteen or more if I also wear an overcoat (the addition of an overcoat causes certain things to be redistributed, but I won’t bore you with those details). 

Less is never more when it comes to pockets.  A reduction in their number to, say, four when I am without a jacket or overcoat, immediately plunges my orderly life into chaos; serious because chaos is nature’s default position and I have always believed that the whole purpose of our existence is to keep chaos at bay.  It is only when I am suffering from pocket deprivation that things go awry; keys get lost, my mobile phone is misplaced, £20 notes languish in the back pocket of my jeans (destined to disintegrate in the washing machine), I can’t find my rail ticket and incur the wrath of travellers behind me at the barriers at Paddington Station, I am struck by an unexpected insight  and can’t find my note book before it vanishes forever.

Do you relish pockets?  How do you cope with pocket deprivation?  When you acquire a new outfit, do you make a point of checking that it has pockets in all the familiar places?  I went to a school where trouser pockets had to be sewn up; do you suppose this might explain my pocket fetish?


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