So I’ll start by saying I have no clue what “manties” are and we’ll just go from there.

Several weeks ago during a bit of forced e-cleaning, Bag Lady had a Mark LaFlamme moment.

Oh, no fear — the fake feds aren’t after me and I’m not fleeing the casserole scourge — however, I did stumble upon a cache of old Bliss notes and column ideas that in the fresh light of 2019 make absolutely no sense.

Actual notes. What was I actually thinking? Let’s decide together:

“What to wear in your coffin.” I’m unclear of the intended audience here. Were we to shop for the soon-to-be departed who has the strength for one last stroll through JCPenney? For the newly bereaved, who are probably not price comparing crisp black suits and sensible hosiery?

“Manties versus panties.” Are manties boy-cut women’s underwear? Are they frilly man underwear? So. Many. Questions. But I’m not Googling manties, no sir. I’d like to stay gainfully employed … but if you do it, tell me what you find.

“Handmade sign-making season. Don’t make it look like a ransom note.” I’m guessing this is a reference to yard sale signs. There’s nothing sketchier than a random mix of upper and lowercase letters scrawled on a scrap of cardboard encouraging strangers to show up at your door at 7 a.m. (No EarLY BiRDs alloWed.) If I’m going to take those heirloom doilies off your hands, I’m going to need uniform lettering, thank you.

“Fashion cockroaches: plastic old lady rain caps. Knee-highs. Dickies.” We’ve never shopped for rain bonnets. You tell us: Should we keep up that streak?

“Tattoos as accessories. Always wanted a ring of flames. Something flamey chasing up my arm. (Would it stretch to some orange-hued skyline when I got old? Don’t think about that.) So last trip to Kittery, stopped for lunch, the waiter had a ring of flames tattooed on his right wrist. (Also several jelly bracelets. Last wore those for an ’80s party, don’t intend to ever unearth.)” You know, I’m going to let that one just lie right there.

“What to spend that tax return on.” Notable because I believe it’s the one idea we ACTUALLY used. Look at us being all topical at tax time. Not that I can find it in the archives, so you’ll just have to trust Bag Lady that it exists. I’ve just admitted that I’d secretly like a ring of flames snaking up my arm, so I hope we can trust each other.

“Fingernails! Tollbooth worker with inch-long (blue) fingernails. Friend recently inviting Bag Lady to scratch someone’s spleen out.” The travesty here is I DON’T REMEMBER WHOSE SPLEEN WAS AT STAKE. Though, truly, I do still remember that tollbooth worker rocking those nails.

“Prisonwear/what to buy someone in prison — maybe find out from jail what sort of material can be given.” An evergreen idea if ever there was one. We could write that tomorrow.

“Scott idea — three-building place across from (store redacted)! Elvis, Ernhardt … and a room full of nipple clips.” Can you say nipple clips in the newspaper? I guess we’re about to find out.

Not to pull the curtain back too far, but said long-lost notes even included the original pitch to start the Bliss Thru Shopping column with Good-Buy Girl roughly 117 years ago:

“Column title: Ms. Merchandise … We’d keep it anonymous and write using the ‘we’ voice in a really snappy, light style.”

So grateful someone saved us from Ms. Merchandise. So, have we succeeded in keeping it light and snappy all these years?

What? Sorry? I can’t hear you over the tat gun. Bring on the flames!

Bag Lady’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who have been here since the beginning) and the customer service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]

Shopping for what to wear in your coffin? One of the worst ideas recently unearthed by Bag Lady in a long-lost file of potential column ideas.


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