Weighing In On Backpacks

17 Feb

In an attempt to get my sleep schedule back on track for my 8am classes this semester, I found myself rising out of bed with the rest of my family during the last few days of winter break (as opposed to the Utopic winter-break noon sleep-ins). As I sat eating my Fruit Loops at the kitchen table, I watched my younger brother perform his usual morning routine of getting ready for school. After his hair was combed, teeth were brushed, and new fresh kicks he received for Christmas were slipped onto his feet, I observed my mother strap what seemed to be a full sized suitcase onto the little guy’s back. While I watched him walk out the door, hunched over like Quasimodo and struggling to carry a backpack that weighed more than he did, I began to recall all of the not so fond “heavy backpack” memories from my childhood.

Countless times have I been in the same position as he, walking on to the crowded school bus with what felt like bricks on my shoulder, hoping with all of my heart and soul for an empty seat. Eventually I’d find a classmate with an equally large backpack on the seat next to them. Never without the typical look of aggravation on their face, my comrade would pick up the monstrosity and plop it down on their lap.

The truth is, the burden of overloaded backpacks has not only tormented us as young children, but followed us into our college years as well. Time after time we find ourselves filling every last square inch of our bag so as to “prepare for class” with textbooks that we most likely won’t even open once the entire period. Either that or we decide our workout clothes are more important to cram in there than our 1300 page Biology book. This of course generates the inevitable panic when our professor announces the in-class assignment on pg 632.

I meditated upon this age-old dilemma while finishing up the rest of the milk in my cereal bowl. Fully replenished, I asked myself the obvious question: why do we continue to fall victim to the pain and misery brought forth by these backpacks? With roughly 20,000 backpack-related injuries occurring each year, this problem is obviously not going away. If we as a society have been intelligent enough to dub cigarettes as “Cancer Sticks”, then why haven’t these “Hernia Bags” received the same sort of criticism?

In recent history, available solutions were limited to groundbreaking inventions such as the infamous “backpack on wheels” (Frankly, the loss of street cred after using one of these was often more unattractive than a few back surgeries). Fast forward to 2013, however, and I see the solution sitting right in front of me: little bro’s iPad Mini laying on the kitchen counter. With one, nearly weightless device, every textbook ever needed could be stored and accessed with a simple tap on a screen.

Now I’m not saying that I believe we should be handing out iPads to every first grader in a classroom. However, with affordable eReaders available (Amazon’s Kindle now priced at only $69), why can’t we get these in the hands of our youth and spare them all of those future trips to Chiropractors? Certainly we owe it to them.

Taylor Gimino

Packback Marketing Specialist

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