My husband collects hotel key cards.  I just found another one, honey.  In the back pocket of the jeans you wore in San Jose (I’m assuming)–in case you were wondering where that pesky thing went.

As the Supreme Director for the Disposition of Dirty Clothes in the Madhousehold, I am responsible for going through everyone’s pockets to make sure that I am not accidentally laundering money, important receipts or phone numbers, candy wrappers, gum, facial tissues, ball point pens, crayons, or any other non-launderable and possibly destructive thing along with the items that have legitimate laundering needs.  When I say “everyone’s” pockets, I really mean my husband’s pockets because no one else in the house utilizes pockets to the same extent he does.  Most of my children’s pants don’t even have pockets, and those children whose pants do have pockets are wont to put in them things unlikely to escape my notice during a casual search–things like rocks and their parents’ cell phones and such.  (For about a week Girlfriend was carrying in her jacket pocket a sales tag that had a picture of a baby on it, and she’d take it out and look at it fondly every so often, but that is not a usual occurrence.)  I put things in my pockets now and then–stuff like change or ponytail bands or keys–but really only in my right front pocket, because I am right-handed and apt to pick up or handle things primarily with my right hand, and it would be awkward to put it in any left pocket, and it just never occurs to me to put it in a back pocket.  Why would I do that, when I’ve got a front pocket?  That is the question.

I think that men use their pockets more than women do.  Maybe because women have purses.  But I don’t know.  It isn’t necessarily as convenient to stuff something in a purse instead of a pocket, but then, what is the justification for carrying around a purse if you’re not going to stuff things in it?  And too many things at that.  But I digress.  My husband sticks all kinds of things in his pockets, and not just in one particular pocket, but every single pocket he has.  While I was growing up, my dad often extolled the virtues of pockets, and specifically the virtues of clothing articles which contained more pockets than the average.  My dad definitely didn’t carry a purse.  But it wasn’t because he was too macho for one.  He would have carried one, if he thought it would be more convenient and practical than using pockets, but obviously he didn’t think that, because who would?  Besides a woman, I mean.  Because to us it’s less about the utility than the accessorizing.  A cute handbag is a good accessory.  Pants full of pockets which are in turn full of keys and rubbish do not qualify.

Back to my husband’s pockets, which I’ve just finished emptying, and here is what was in them (every single one, mind you, not just one or two):

hotel key
multiple candy wrappers
paper napkin
assorted hardware

This is about par for the course–the most dangerous (in the laundry sense of the word) item being the paper napkin, which is really not so much “dangerous” as “filled with potential to be highly annoying though not as annoying as a paper tissue”–but there have been times when I conducted less-than-adequate searches of the pockets and missed things like a tube of Carmex (not pretty) and a USB flash drive (takes a licking and keeps on ticking!) and a black Sharpie marker (fine point, not that it matters–I mean, how do you miss an entire pen?).  Sometimes if I find items such as these after the laundering cycle but before the drying cycle, I can still divert disaster, but that’s neither here nor there. 

I used to resent Sugar Daddy for not going through his own *#$*&* pockets before putting them in the laundry (particularly when the pockets contain valuables–though I admit I’ve never been upset about finding the money), but that was just so much wasted energy and bad karma.  This is not meant to be a rant against my own honeybunch or men in general.  For one thing, I can totally understand why SD would be putting lip balm and USB drives and marking pens in his pockets.  Sans purse, what else should he be doing?  I can’t blame him for forgetting about these things when they’re out of sight, either.  As often as I’ve turned around and forgotten what on earth I turned around for, I can hardly judge anyone else harshly in this department.  No, what I don’t understand is a) the vast amount of trash that accumulates (is he never near a garbage can?) and b) all the usage of back and left pockets.  Lots of usage of the left pockets for a right-handed person.  I guess if he’s not carrying a purse or a child on one arm, he has more occasion to feel ambidextrous.  I don’t know. 

As I type this, I am wearing jeans with pockets, and in my right front pocket is a nail clipper and a quarter.  I picked them up off the floor and haven’t put them away yet.  You see, I don’t carry my purse around the house.  Anyway, the other pockets are all empty.  If I were to take my best guess, I would say that right now my husband’s pockets (all of them) contain some combination of money, keys, wallet, cell phone, iPod, receipts, business cards, candy wrappers (always with the candy wrappers, this one) and possibly a small piece of machinery.  If he were out of town, I’d guess that he was also carrying a hotel key card–in his back pocket, where he’d never remember putting it, as many times as he’d be sitting on it. 

What’s in my purse, on the other hand?  Besides my keys, wallet, cell phone and check book, there is the following:

lip balm
hand lotion (2 tubes–no, make that 3)
pictures of children
daily planner
unsent invitations to Mister Bubby’s birthday party
subscription cards to Newsweek (I’m quite certain I didn’t put those there, as I have no reason not to recycle them)
receipts galore
diaper wipes
3 stage 3 diapers
subscription card to Discover Kids magazine (that I did put there…about two months ago)
notes on the tap routine I’m learning this term
2 pipe cleaners (long story)
hair scrunchy
deposit slips
expired auto insurance card with the claim number for the fire written on the back
2 tampons
chewy granola bar (still wrapped–it’s for the baby, should I need it)
Spiderman fruit snacks wrapper (empty)
snack-size Ziploc bag with Goldfish crumbs inside
half-full box of Tic Tacs, most of which have been dumped on the ground and put back in, courtesy of Elvis
Neutrogena On-the-Spot acne treatment (I take this on-the-spot stuff literally and figuratively, obviously)
hand sanitizer
generic stain pen (doesn’t work–seriously doesn’t work, as in “performs no function”–never has)
small Tonka car
postage stamps
emery board
bacon-flavored toothpicks (another long story)
2 packets of moist towelettes
small comb
Tide-to-Go stick (does work)
1 roll undeveloped film
1 bandage
hair barette

And for some reason, it is all wet, despite the fact that I haven’t accidentally laundered my purse.  Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

And now the science part (social science, that is–not the real thing, of course):

What’s in your pockets?  What’s in your purse (if you own one)?  Be ye male or female? 

And just for curiosity’s sake:

What’s the worst thing you’ve accidentally laundered, and who did you blame for it?