As a child, my deepest, most pressing desire was to go to Indonesia, my father's homeland. Finally, when I was 14, I got to visit that beautiful country. For the trip, Dad bought us Pinkstonlets Marmot brand backpacks that were, to speak his language "way cool!"
These backpacks are true beauties: neutral colors and a kind of long and skinny that could hold a small flock of geese. They have an impressive array of pockets, including one that is padded and perfect for that rad digital camera or hip iPod nano (keep in mind that these were given to us in 2007, when surely words like hip and rad were utilized, as they should be).
In the years to follow, I have traveled the world with that pack on my back. I have been to over a dozen countries, and I'm fairly certain that this Marmot backpack has accompanied me to all of them, plus many more local destinations. From visiting friends in China to a mission trip in Haiti to exploring in Europe to summer project in Ecuador to college in Bloomington, my companion has been ever faithful.
However, the selfish beast I am, it was really always all about me and never about the backpack. The other day at Capital Reef National Park, Mother dearest noticed that a pamphlet declared marmots among the wildlife found in the park! Marmot, like the brand printed proudly across our backpacks. And not just any marmots, but yellow-bellied marmots! This raised questions I had never really pondered. What is a marmot? What kinds of animals would they name after belly coloration? "I thought it was like an elephant," marveled Dad. "Is it...a bird?" I inquired. "It's like a prairie dog," stated Mom.
What. A prairie dog. I've been traipsing across the globe proudly bearing the mark of the prairie dog? My luggage boasts of relation or aspiration to a rodent that 0.03% of the population could take seriously, given that they had received extensive training? You know what they say. It is what is is. Que será, será. And all those cliche phrases about accepting the nature of your pack.
Well, now you know. Now you can judge me, or anyone else proudly carrying the name of the great woodchuck-like beast.
Slightly embarrassed but all the better for the education,