Saving Chloe from Her Backpack

Chloe had her annual physical yesterday. Aside from the fact that she can’t touch her toes (this lack of flexibility inherited from her papa) and that it looks like the right side of her back is raised higher than her left (don’t be too alarmed – the doctor isn’t particularly concerned), she’s in tip top shape.

Chloe opined that the cause of her uneven back is her backpack, which until today weighed about 100 pounds. I’m exaggerating only slightly, mind you. It weighed a ghastly ton. We’ve repeatedly told her that she can’t continue to lug that thing around five days a week, and we were finally able to use the doctor’s observation about her back as the much-needed excuse to make a change.

We tossed reams of paper, bought smaller binders and perhaps most important of all, banished her keychain collection. That mass of metal and other objects, which she displayed prominently on the outside of her pack, easily weighed a couple of pounds. Her newly streamlined school bag now weighs significantly less than it did a few hours ago.

It’s absolutely scandalous that kids are required to carry so much crap to school, from school and in school. Granted, Chloe is partly at fault for not using her locker more efficiently and for carrying around 19 key chains, but one does one wonder why, in this technology-rich era, schools aren’t making more of an effort to use said technology in ways that minimize the need to carry around 100-pound backpacks.

If it continues, Chloe will look like Quasimodo’s distant cousin by the time she starts college. Chloe’s French aunt has serious back problems and to the extent they are hereditary, we need to do everything we can to help Chloe avoid the same fate. If it means purging her backpack of all the accumulated shit every few weeks, she’s going to have to do it. Even if it means letting go of her hoarder tendencies.


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