[Letter Talk] Mail Bag #32

In this mail bag we have a thank you letter with some product development suggestions, a postcard with a merchandising idea, and a pitch for a costume change for a popular wrestler.

Letter Talk is a short (~10 minutes) comedy podcast where a I write letters to anyone about anything, and I’d be honored to write one to you.


Dear Urban Outfitters,

I’m sending this to you because I assume — but am not sure if  — you’re a responsible party here. If you are not, please forward this letter to the correct group, as I am sure this is something you know.

In recent years, it has come to my attention that fanny packs have come back into style. That sentence sounded a little hostile, so I must clarify: I am 100% for this. It was honestly a total bummer when they went out of style to begin with. The ‘90s came and went, and I feel bad that I didn’t spend the latter part of that decade clutching my pink fanny pack for dear life.

In the 90s, pro wrestlers wore fanny packs to keep their money from merchandise sales. They also used them to hide index cards with affirmations like, “You’re a beautiful flower,” “You’re only a bad guy in wrestling, not in your soul,” “Believe in yourself,” and “Live, Laugh, Love.” Fun fact: a ton of the gentle phrases you see on home decor pieces at department stores came from a secret stash of cards kept by the Undertaker. Like he always said, “just because you undertake the competition, doesn’t mean you have to undertake your own self love.”

Some wrestlers would use it to cover their crotches to keep wandering eyes from getting to worrysome. “Eyes up here, buddy,” they would say to people.

I’ve actually had multiple discussions with my sister about fanny packs, and she’s anti fanny pack. I can understand why. I’m not speaking for her here, but I see a lot of downsides to fanny packs, too:

  1. They’re usually hella small.
    If you’re used to carrying a purse, a fanny pack just doesn’t have the room you’re expecting. You have to actually prioritize and not just put everything in your bag for every contingency. My fanny pack can fit my phone and my keys and not much else. But in my normal purse, I can store all sorts of shit: old train ticket stubs, a giant wallet with every grocery store club card and a Dave and Busters card I forgot about when I was at Dave and Busters so I didn’t play any games because I was mad and didn’t want to spend the money to buy a new card, pads AND tampons even though I use a diva cup, a square card reader even though Venmo exists, tissues in case I’m at a funeral or crying in an alley while hiding from people, nail clippers in case I discover that I have a hangnail while on the train, hand sanitizer as if they don’t have dispensers everywhere now, a full set of markers for my bullet journal, a pencil sharpener, white out, bandaids, deodorant, a bullet journal, a joke notebook, pens because they keep going to bottom of the purse so I assume I don’t have a pen so I grab another pen and put it in my purse until I realize that the entire bottom of my purse is just pens, an umbrella, a phone charger.

    If I wanted to carry all that shit in a fanny pack, I’d probably end up with a giant fanny pack that encircles me like the sort of inner tube you’d take to the pool. Sure, I’d have all my shit upon my person, but I’d probably have a hard time getting through doors with that ballerina tutu of anxiety relieving excess baggage.
  2. Another problem with fanny packs is that you look like a tourist.
    I’m not sure if this is really a negative thing, and it’s probably a reflection of my upbringing. Both my parents grew up in higher crime areas, so I was raised to always try to look like I 1. Wasn’t rich, 2. Wasn’t a tourist. My mom always cautioned me against that because if you’re rich or a tourist or both, people will want to rob you. I will add that in Baltimore, if you look like either one of those, I’m sure some hooligans will want to throw you into the Inner Harbor. Wearing a fanny pack is like the go to tourist move, and I see the appeal. For women, it’s like, “You can’t grab this purse and run with it, because it’s attached to me!” For tourist men, it’s like, “You must risk quite possibly touching my dick to abscond with these American Express traveller’s checks ™, good sir.”
  3. Maybe the biggest problem I see with fanny packs is that they’re called fanny packs.
    Even if you don’t know what fanny refers to in British, it just sounds really weird. Also, I’m afraid the bad PR from the 90s is still affecting fanny packs today.

So given that information we know about fanny packs, I’d like to propose that we change the name of them. Rebrand them, to ensure that they will stay in style forever like the Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress, cool leather jackets, or money laundering. I’ve read some alternate names for them and I don’t know if I like them. In Spain they call them kidney bags, which sounds horrible, and like you’re carrying yours or someone else’s kidneys in them. French people call them banana bags, which is absolutely maniacal.

What about “belt tote”? Or “tactical waist pack” for all those tough guys out there? Or maybe if we’re going to be so specific with the term “fanny pack” we can at least update the language and call it an “ass purse.” Or let’s take a hint from messenger bags, and just look at who uses them most and then name it after that. What about a “protest pouch?” All my friends who protest all the time keep telling me it’s perfect for that. You can hold up your sign instead of worrying about holding your Birkin bag and a sign that says, “Stop wasteful spending.”

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for having a part in bringing back this waistful accessory. I have one that I bought from Baltimore band War on Women, and I use it every day. It totally rules.

Thanks for your time!



Introducing a possible new item for your store! Have you thought of carrying TACTICAL WAIST PACKS? They’re embroidered with flowers so you can blend in with the shrubbery while hunting. Let me know if you’re interested.

Dear WWE Creative Team,

I wanted to write to you with a suggestion for your wrestler Roman Reigns. It’s mostly about his ring attire. He normally wears military looking stuff because his character is in sort of a SWAT team-like group called the Shield. But after they broke up, the other two guys in his group, started dressing like other stuff: one guy looks like every dude you’d fight in a bar, and the other guy looks like an emo X-men character. But Roman Reigns stuck to his bulletproof vest and tactical Dockers tucked into his boots.

Now I’ve gone online and seen the petitions from fans asking for the WWE to stop Reigns from wearing his illegal “body armor.” Honestly, I’ve never had a problem with him wearing body armor. It sort of makes sense, doesn’t it? I’m not sure why someone didn’t start doing it sooner. If I were to become a wrestler, I’m sure I’d want to wrestle in one of those suits people wear when they teach german shepherds to attack people, because I’d be afraid of someone actually hitting me and not pretend hitting me like they’re supposed to. I feel like if those buttheads are going to violate the “no hitting for realsies” rules, then it’s ok for guys like Roman Reigns to wear a bulletproof vest and break the “no body armor” rule.

Also, I figured that he wears a bulletproof vest because he was watching wrestling that time Stone Cold Steve Austin tried to home invade Brian Pillman, but Brian Pillman had a gun. It was one of those storylines that was maybe even *too* realistic, and could have used some whimsy. I’m sure Reigns saw that and thought, “If ever become a wrestler, I gotta watch out, because some of these guys have guns.” Roman Reigns never got a chance to wrestle Brian Pillman before he passed away, but also WWE recycles storylines sometimes, so you never know when someone is going to have a gun.

Or maybe the next time someone suggests the “let’s be realistic, some people have guns in their home” storyline, instead maybe you can have people fight at a state fair so everyone just gets hit with funnel cake or squirted with those squirt gun things. Plus you can always have someone get hit with a trash can, and then you put the trash can over someone’s head and they stumble around because they can’t see and then someone else hits them with a kendo stick that came in from wherever. That’s my favorite wrestling bit! That’s one of the things I love about wrestling: it always overestimates the amount of kendo sticks that exist out in the world. If I was watching WWE in a different country, it would make me assume that Americans just keep kendo sticks under every piece of furniture in case some hooligan outside is stumbling around with a trash can on their head.

But I guess that’s beside the point. I’m here to offer a solution. If fans are unhappy with Roman Reigns coming to the ring wearing a bulletproof vest, maybe another tactical item would be a better replacement. Have you guys considered having him use a tactical fanny pack? I prefer to  call them “ass purses” since that’s sounds more 2018 to me. Here’s my thinking on this, if he’s a bad guy, he can use the ass purse to carry weapons: handcuffs to attach people to the ring ropes, brass knuckles, thumb tacks, flyers people give you on the street that you have get rid of because you were just being polite when you took them in the first place, or maybe bullets for Brian Pillman’s gun. If he’s a good guy he can carry helpful stuff: handfuls of candy for fans, band aids for when other wrestlers start bleeding, cards with listings of helpful resources for a job search, or maybe a spare cell phone charger.

Please reach out with any questions about my idea if you have any! I’d be happy to help. I’ve been a fan for a long time, and I know ya’ll are working hard to get these stories out every week. I assume that if I have barely enough time to keep up with all your shows, you guys probably barely have enough time to write all of them, so I really appreciate you.