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One of Life's Great Mysteries

December 8, 2017
Mrs. C's purse
Mrs. C's purse

There are many mysteries in the world: what happened to Amelia Earhart: how has the Loch Ness Monster remained hidden for so long; did D.B. Cooper survive jumping out of that plane? But I have a contender for the biggest mystery of all—women’s purses.

 

Reaching into them makes me quiver, like plunging my hand into a pumpkin. Mrs. Chatterbox will infrequently ask me to pluck something from her purse, which usually hangs on the back of a barstool in our kitchen. I hate reaching inside, even on those rare occasions when I’m asked to do so. I fear the unknown lurking inside. When I reach within I’m confronted with a surreal feminine vortex, a denial of the science explaining our universe and everything in it. Space seems to expand and contract in inexplicable ways that defy the laws of physics, like the small tent in one of the Harry Potter movies that had an interior as big as Versailles.

 

Mrs. C., like most women, has several purses, and regardless of size they all seem capable of holding a vast assortment of items that defy the size of the space. When our son was small, her purse was filled with snacks, dozens of metal die cast cars and a scale model of the USS Missouri.

 

Her magic purse contained more than toys. Once when I stepped off a curb and bloodied my knee, she opened her purse and whipped out sterile sanitizer, gauze and bandages. As she bandaged my knee I felt like I was married to Clara Barton. Her purse is like that bag from which the Wizard of Oz plucked a heart for Tin Man, courage for the Cowardly Lion and a diploma for Scarecrow. In spite of my trepidation, I often benefit from the contents of her purse and would be foolish to complain.  

 

I mention all of this because of a recent incident that seemed to prove something unfathomable happening in Mrs. C’s purse. She lost her keys, or thought she did. After emptying every item in her purse onto our kitchen counter, including enough change to make the purse heavy as a sack of hammers, she hunted throughout our home for the missing keys. They were not to be found.

 

Mrs. C. isn’t in the habit of losing things and I became curious. Avoiding my aversion for sticking a hand in strange places, I examined her purse closely. She was right; the purse was empty. Or was it?

 

I squeezed the lining in one of the pockets and clearly felt the keys. They were there all right. I felt proud for the discovery, until I tried to extract them. I figured there must be a hole through which they gained access to space beneath the lining. But there was no hole of any kind. Frustration set in as I tried to figure out how her keys ended up there. Had the magical purse hurled the keys to a distant world, only to mistakenly return them to a sealed place beneath the lining?

 

Eventually, we both gave up and I cut a hole to extract the keys. I still can’t figure out how this happened. Magic? A parallel world using my wife’s purse as a portal?

 

Something bizarre is happening in my wife’s purse, something I think I should steer clear of. I fear that one day she’ll ask me to reach inside for something and my hand will disappear. Of course, if that happened she’d just reach into a side pocket and pull out a prosthetic hand.  

 

 

 

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Comments

26 Comments
Her purse must be like Dr. Who's TARDIS: it's bigger on the inside than the outside. There must be a dimensional rift inside, maybe like that Twilight Zone episode where a little girl disappears through a wall in her bedroom into the 4th dimension.
By: PT Dilloway on December 8, 2017
I'm guessing Amelia or DB had something to do with it.
By: scott park on December 8, 2017
Hah! It's another universe! My children refer to my purse as Hermione's Purse ( the young woman in Harry Potter movies who has a plethora of items needed such as a tent, sleeping ags etc) and I call my purse the Mother Ship. Have a great weekend!
By: Kathe W. on December 8, 2017
We call my wife's purse a Bag of Holding (from D&D) since it's frightening how much it holds. She loses stuff in it though. So far it hasn't teleported keys to the interior lining. Yet...
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on December 8, 2017
It sounds like the hole might be at the top of the purse, or through a pocket if there is one. But I like your speculation better; it's way more interesting :)
By: jenny_o on December 8, 2017
purses amaze me too but more like, why does someone want to carry a suitcase around with them all the time. I carried one in high school and had a hard time keeping track of it. by college I carried only a wallet and keys cursing the makers of women's clothes for their habit of making pockets nearly unusable.
By: Ellen Abbott on December 8, 2017
Purses are like that, and mother's purses even more so. This same thing happened to a lady at our church, and sometimes you will just never figure out where the original point of entry for the keys was.
By: messymimi on December 8, 2017
Even though I keep less than half of what your wife does in my purse, my husband refuses to get anything out of it for me!!
By: fishducky on December 8, 2017
You are a brave man, Stephen. Purses are indeed amazing and mystical and it serves me better if I stay away from them. Take care.
By: Mr. Shife on December 8, 2017
I call my wife's purse(s) The Black Hole. When she asks me to get something from it, I fetch the purse and hand it to her.
By: Catalyst on December 8, 2017
Pockets only. If it doesn't fit, it stays home.
By: Joanne Noragon on December 8, 2017
I agree with Catalyst's reply. This male training began with my mother.
By: Daniel LaFrance on December 8, 2017
Yes, purses are a high risk item. One never knows what a hand might touch. Good for finding the keys.
By: Keith Kline on December 8, 2017
I carry a messenger bag. It has everything including the kitchen sink in it. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on December 8, 2017
Hmmm, sounds like Mary Poppins's bag! Seen any coat stands or potted plants lurking in there?
By: Botanist on December 8, 2017
Women's purses are mysteries. Now we enter the age of man purses. What does that mean?
By: Tom Cochrun on December 8, 2017
My husband refuses to reach into my purse. I can tell him EXACTLY where to find a folded $20, part of it visible, and he instead brings me the whole purse. UNLESS he is being sneaky. I always know when he's been in it.
By: Val on December 8, 2017
I have the same reservation about my wifeâs purses. Usually when she asks e to look in it I will get it and take it to her.
By: Rick Watson on December 9, 2017
Hum, this fear seems universal. Think we women have not been using it to the full potential. I gave up a large, full purse when my back started hurting. Downsized and I was healed.
By: Arkansas Patti on December 9, 2017
I forgot to mention that my purse is NOT a purse but rather a compact and tidy AND easy to carry because it is a small backpack...it leaves my hands free and is a good sensible way to keep my life in order as it has a multutude of zipper pockets inside the main zipper that has a lock. No pickpokets allowed! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on December 9, 2017
This is priceless. I have a jacket that was designed for the CIA. It's got 27 pockets and includes spaces for wires to be run and more. And, of course, a diagram to show how to use it correctly. I didn't follow the diagram and now I can't find my laptop computer.
By: Mitchell is Moving on December 9, 2017
I'm like Rick, I do not reach into her purse. I pick it up and bring it to her.
By: Tom Sightings on December 9, 2017
Great post. I would not be surprised if someone were to pull out a whole eight-carriage train from a woman's purse. :-) On another note, I loved your response to my post. I fell for Turner before I knew who Turner was and his influence (and Constable's, let's give him his dues, as well) on impressionism. Every time I go to the National Gallery I have to go up to see my good old friend Turner. :-) Greetings from London.
By: A Cuban In London on December 10, 2017
Ha! You are hilarious. And I LOVE that bag!
By: The Bug on December 13, 2017
Somethings are just best left alone.
By: cranky on December 18, 2017
I was going to give the same answer as PT Dilloway, mainly because the little girl in the Twilight Zone episode that disappears through a wall in her bedroom into the 4th dimension has MY NAME! But you are absolutely right: (1) women's purses are mysteries and (2) men are a little afraid of them.
By: Pixel Peeper on December 24, 2017

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