A Smart Suitcase In Conversation With An 88-Year-Old Valise

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On set in a Brooklyn loft space that was once a former marshmallow factory, the filming of a documentary style video is about to begin. Joining the crew are Milo, a Kickstarter-backed smartbag with self-charging wheels, GPS, and the ability to start your espresso machine from Japan, and Herman, a tan leather valise with clasps. Neither have met before.

Producer: Guys, we can’t thank you enough for being here, so excited to get started. Any questions, either of you?

Milo: Just wondering if you had an idea on release date? Want to make sure I work this into my social promotion calendar.

Producer: Sure, no problem, we’re looking at late next month, end of Q3, something like that. And Herman, any questions?

Herman: It’s sunny in here.

Producer: Okay we’re going to go ahead and get started, you’ll both have the opportunity to ask each other questions and share your perspectives and…Herman, I think you’ve got something on your lap there…

Herman: It’s leaves. From the garage.

Producer: Milo, why don’t you go first.

Milo: Well first I just want to say what an honor it is to speak with you sir, I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting someone from your generation.

Herman: You mean before wheels?

Milo: Exactly, I’m so fascinated by what life must have been like for you. I can’t imagine it.

Herman: For me life was easy. The poor schmo shlepping me around by a top handle had it rough.

Milo: And so back then you just like…held stuff.

Herman: What else you want me to do?

Milo: Well like for example, if my owner’s cell phone dies while they’re waiting to board, I can charge it.

Herman: And I can make sure he has clean underpants when he lands, good for you.

Milo: But did you ever get lost? Do you ever wish you had what we have now? Like a locator app?

Herman: App? There’s shrimp cocktail here?

Milo: I’m also really fascinated by your size, we don’t really see that much anymore. We all pretty much have to conform to overhead bin specs.

Herman: I never made it in the overhead bin, that’s where they kept the rugelach from Queens. I was cargo area man. Proud of it. The tales I could tell you from the tarmac, kid. I was once pissed on by a German Shepherd from a very impressive distance.

Milo: It seems like a much simpler time.

Herman: It was a simpler time, and I’ll ask you something kid, what’s the point? Of your bells and your whistles and the pockets custom made to fit your pacifier—for what? At the end of the day, you got stuff, you need to get stuff someplace else, that’s it!

Milo: I guess I don’t really know. It seems sometimes like all that matters is making life seem cool. Truth be told I didn’t even want to be painted blue in collaboration with Casper. I really liked the basic black offering.

Herman: See? Where does fancy get ya? Dressed in a bad suit, jealous of a Samsonite for cryin’ out loud.

Milo: Wow, you’re right. I never thought of it like that. At the end of the day I think what I’m most proud of is just being a really good suitcase.

Herman: And you should be. It’s your job, don’t let any tech bigwigs tell you you’ve gotta learn how to make ‘em Julienne fries. We carry crap, kid. It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done. And it was always enough.

Milo: Thank you Herman, you’ve really changed my perspective on things.

Herman: Wheels sound fun though kid. I’ll give you that.

Written by

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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