The Urbane Savant

A Gent Knows: Always Be Ready

Conquering life's curveballs? It's in the bag.

By Josh Robertson January 30, 2015

Left: Truman duffle, $498 at Cole Haan. Right: Herschel Supply Co. novel colorblock weekender duffel bag, $79 at Urban Outfitters.

Life is unpredictable. Things always seem to happen when you least expect them: those coffee spills, that drunken nightcap with work in the a.m. A wise man will admit that he cannot predict the future, only prepare for it.

I have thought nothing of a normal, boring day, only to be a victim of happenstance, as I am sure we all have been. I know what it feels like to be swallowed whole and let the universe have its way with me. All I can say is that I have learned from these random instances and am now able to grab the bull by its horns.

One instance stays fresh in my mind as a constant reminder of the importance of being prepared. It began an ordinary date night, taking my girlfriend out to drinks and a nice dinner. You know, something really easy. We arrived at Nara for the fine Korean delicacies we had been craving all day, were seated and placed our drink orders. I was in the mood for a rich merlot, which is a rare occasion. As our waiter arrived with our drinks, calamity. As I reached for the glass, I accidentally knocked it over, spilling the contents in my lap.

No words can explain the level of embarrassment that was showing in the beet-redness of my face. Luckily for me, my denim and shirt were dark, so staining would not be a big deal. However, trying to have dinner in cold, wine-saturated clothing was. What is a man in my situation to do? Tough through it and air dry? No, not at all. I excused myself and headed to my car, where a crisp outfit awaited in my trunk. A quick change and I am back at it, like nothing ever happened. I won this fight with life by planning ahead.

From then on, I've kept an overnight bag in my trunk with everything I could possibly need to survive whatever that the night or day had in store for me. In my duffel bag I keep everything from hygiene products to clothing. It is my safety blanket: in case of fire or an emergency, just pop the trunk, sir.

To me its like a condom—you would rather have it and not use it than need and not have it. My bag has gotten me out of many tight situations and I am thankful to have it. We have been through a lot together, my bag and I. Don Draper had his back-up shirts in his desk at work. I’m not going to tell you what to put in your bag; that's up to you.

Stay prepared, my friends. 



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