Evidence that people don't always match their luggage

I'm sitting on the train. Man gets on. Big bag slung over his shoulder. Sits down opposite me. Puts bag on lap. Bag has big lettering on it, saying, 'BUGGER'. I mean, BIG lettering. No shame. No two ways about it. No hiding.

My, that's bold, I think. That's mighty bold. I wish I could be that honest about who I really am. I wish I could say, 'Ner ner ner ner ner' to the world like that.

But then he catches me looking at the bag, and what does he do?

Goes red. Turns the bag round, so I can't see the word. Clutches it to his chest. Looks embarrassed.

Eh? What the heck was that about?

Let us speculate together. There must be some explanation.

a) He was late for work, dashed out of the house carrying some big folders, realised he couldn't possibly carry all the folders under his arm, dashed back in for a bag, checked his watch (Damn, only a couple of minutes to get to the station), grabbed the first bag he could see, and didn't realise what it said until I saw him on the train. Later on, his wife is going to have some questions to answer.

b) He bought the bag at the weekend, while he was in a 'ner, ner, ner, ner, ner' mood with the world, and was convinced that he'd have the courage to use it without embarrassment. But when it came to it, he bottled out.

c) In the shop, there were two kinds of bags. One of them not only had 'BUGGER' written on one side, but had something even worse on the other. He thought he'd bought one of those, so when I looked at him on the train, he switched it round so I saw the worse expletive. What he didn't realise was that he'd actually bought one of the other kind, one with absolutely nothing written on the reverse. (This wouldn't explain him going red, though, unless what I thought was embarrassment was excitement at his own audacity.)

d) I thought he was switching the bag round in response to my looking at him, but in fact it was his Auntie Maud, who was sitting next to me, someone who had taken him to Sunday School every week during the 1970s, helped him to learn the creed and read him bedtime Bible stories.

e) He was foreign, but not very good at learning languages, and thought 'BUGGER' meant 'I LOVE YOU' so had bought the bag to give to a sweetheart, so when I stared at it, he switched it round to avoid a misunderstanding.

f) He knew a lady vicar who looked exactly like me.

g) His wife is a lady vicar who looks exactly like me. The bag belonged to his teenage daughter, who has some questions to answer when he gets home tonight.

h) He is actually a she, a lady vicar who is trying a new life path and dressing up as a male commuter who carries audacious luggage. Just for a moment, though, she has slipped out of role.

Any other suggestions? Do you know this man? ARE you this man?


  1. I suspect he suddenly realised you were a teacher (there's something about teachers, one can usually tell), and this triggered a memory of a deeply embarrassing moment from his childhood where he mistakenly swore in front of Miss Strickland the Maths Mistress, realised what he'd done and wet himself. Did you check his seat?

  2. i) He owns a pest control company called DE-BUGGER INCORPORATED but he's been so super duper busy, some of the letters have worn off his bag and he just hasn't had time to fix it. Hate when that happens.

  3. In our neck of the woods, having "bugger" on a bag is not a swear word, nor does it have much of a negative connotation....so I don't see why he turned it around.
    In fact, BUGGER here would just mean you got rid of bugs. ha

  4. Ah, an interesting observation, battypip. What is it about teachers that you think immediately marks us out? Is it the manic look in the eyes?

  5. Lesley, I like your interpretation. I feel bad now for speculating so rashly about such a busy, harassed man.

  6. Ah, Retired One. In this neck of the woods, not good, not good.

  7. northernknickerwoman4/8/09 14:06

    Audacious baggage! I like the sound of that!

    Words that end in the 'sush' sound are fab!

    Could we have seditious baggage with 'Democracy sucks!' or ,Bloodsucker Royals?'on it

    or my own personal favourite

    ferocious baggage with 'I'm menopausal AND a Scorpio come and have a go if you think your'e hard enough !

    Of course with a message that size it would have to be an old fashioned 'not needed on voyage' trunk --like the one some poor soul was balancing on one shoulder on the Liverpool to Norwich train today -- there was no way he was going to get to Norwich without liberally administering a range of head injuries to his unsuspecting fellow travellers .

    Fran ,you are a seasoned if unhinged traveller -- why are all baggage receptacles on trains expressley designed to preclude fitting anything else other than a troll with a sequinned clutch bag in them ?

  8. 'Seasoned if unhinged traveller' ... NK Woman, that is going to be the name of my next book. As for the tiny baggage receptacles, are you saying you expect train companies to actually make life EASIER?

  9. It was given to him as a going-away present by his office mates who politely presented it to him with the blank side up and wished him a Happy Birthday. Of course he didn't know the bag was a going away gift until he opened it after you were gone and found a "So Long Sucker" note from his boss in it.
    I think I worked with him when he lived in Wisconsin. Of course he wasn't from here originally. Glad he's over on your side of the ocean now.

  10. That's a good one, CJ. Funny - I think most of us have worked with this guy.


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