My friend wanted me to come over to his house because he had invented a time machine and wanted me to try it out. I asked him if he wanted me to bring over some beer, but he said he had some already in the fridge if I didn’t mind Bud Light. I did mind, but didn’t tell him, not wanting to hurt his feelings.
The time machine was set up in the garage, made out of a 4-foot jeep that had been given to my friend’s son for his second birthday. I was inspecting the chassis when my friend, in trying to twist off the top of a bottle of Bud Light, lost control of his arm and knocked me into the time machine. By momentum I hit some switch and the next thing I knew I was traveling through time in a sequence that was somewhere in between Back to the Future and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
When the traveling stopped I was in front of a giant castle. The guards at the gate, eyeing my modern dress and assuming I was the prince returning home from college, took me to see the King.
“So son, you are back from that school of yours. I hope the $30,000 in tuition was worth it. Financial aid my eye! Oh well, I see you’ve taken to wearing your pantaloons lower on your hips.”
The King asked me to demonstrate what I learned in falconry class, and I so I took the glove and whistled for the falcon. But as the giant bird approached I forgot where I was and ran away screaming and waving my arms, and the King knew me for an impostor for which the punishment was death.
“Wait, wait,” I said. “Don’t I get one last chance, some trial, to save my life?”
“I’m not aware of that procedure.”
“Oh yes,” I said. “It’s in all the chivalric romances.”
The King looked at his advisor and pantomimed drinking something. But he nevertheless entertained my suggestion.
“Very well, stranger. My army is to meet the army of Aethelred the Pithy in three days. I’ve asked him if we could have the battle here but his daughter apparently has a soccer game earlier that day and all the parents are expected to attend. So we have to go to his battlefield. But if my knights wear their armor whilst riding they will be to tired and sweaty to fight. Solve this dilemma for me, stranger, and I will grant you lands and titles.”
I told them to wrap the armor in sacks, and place the sacks on wooden boards affixed with wheels and a long retractable handle. Frankly, I don’t know why they didn’t think of it before. They had wagons and wheel barrows and even their catapults were on wheels. But sometimes the most hidden solution is the one that’s staring you right in the face. The King was impressed and upgraded my status from stranger to wizard.
On the morning of the battle, we arrived at the battlefield in high style. The knights were well rested and not sweaty at all.
“The enemy approacheth!” someone called. “Don your armor!”
The knights turned to put their armor on, but someone had mixed up the luggage tickets, and it took some time to sort out whose bag of armor was whose, made even more difficult by the enemy knights who were lopping off arms and legs all around us. Our knights did their best to parry the attack, but armor would have been nice.
“And so,” said King Aethelred to me while I stood in chains before him. “Tell me again, stranger, why I should let you live?”
I explained to him that I knew of a way to put tops on bottle of ale that could just be twisted off. He was skeptical but agreed to let me show him. He ordered one of his subjects to open a bottle of ale for me. The top was hard to pull off, however, and as the subject pried it free his arm hit me, and I fell back, and the next thing I knew I was back in my own time, lying beside the converted toy car. I tried to explain to my friend what had happened, but he didn’t believe me, insisting that luggage tickets were not invented until after the Renaissance.
6 thoughts on “Remember When Luggage Didn’t Have Wheels?”
Having just wheeled my son’s camp eleventy-seven hundred pound trunk across the floor to get it into the car for delivery to the local JCC in anticipation for his 7 weeks at summer camp, I can tell you, I’m really glad luggage now has wheels. 😉
As with 24-hour cable news channels, it is hard to picture what life was like before.
On Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 8:52 AM, Mark Kaplowitz's Blog
Thank you, thank you!
On Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 9:47 AM, Mark Kaplowitz's Blog
Yes I agree it’s a mystery – I did a drawing of our luggage (as I remembered it) when my family of 5 kids travelled to Indonesia in 1973. How crazy that it took humans so long to get that technology together. But then I suppose once upon a time only the rich travelled and they had servants and bellboys so it took a while for people to realise they had to carry their own sodding luggage.
There is probably a list of things like that.
Carrying luggage was probably considered a way of demonstrating one’s strength and fitness for marriage.
On Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 10:56 AM, Mark Kaplowitz's Blog