Inspector Handbag

Back in December, Bob and I decided we would go see the terracotta warriors exhibit at the High for our anniversary. Naively, we thought that because we’d bought our tickets online and we had a queue time early in the day on the Tuesday before Christmas, we wouldn’t have any trouble with the crowds. Wrong. The place was packed, and we had to wait in a long line to get on the elevator that would take us up to the exhibit. The lobby area of the High is cavernous, with wood floors and glass everywhere, so the noise of the crowd, while not deafening, was challenging.

As we turned the last bend in the line, we passed a security guard. When I was next to her, she said to me, “Hello. I need to inspect your handbag.” I obliged, unzipping and opening my handbag so she could see its contents. When we were closer to the elevator, Bob turned to me and said, “That’s a weird name.”

“What are you talking about?” I said. Around Bob, I say that a lot.

“That lady. ‘Hello, I’m Inspector Handbag,'” he said.

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “‘I need to inspect your handbag’ is what she said. She wanted to see what was in my purse.”

“Yep,” he said. “That’s how I hear music.”

Bob is famous (you know, with me) for mangling song lyrics. I’ve never heard anything like it. The first was the most memorable, when I heard him sing, “I Want to Be Sedated” and it came out, “I want a piece of candy.” Really, I should keep a list. After almost nine years together, what generally happens now is a song comes on the radio, he starts to croon, and if I really like the song I yell, “Don’t sing!”

My point for telling this story is that I was able to profit from said mangling (although it wasn’t a song lyric, but that’s a mere technicality). Fast forward a few weeks, when I see a contest post on the Emerging Writer’s Network to win Michael Shilling’s novel, Rock Bottom. To win the contest, I had to submit some fake band names (limit three), and the author himself would choose five winners out of all submissions. Fake band names are one of my geeky pastimes! Really, I should keep a list of these, too, but I don’t. I could only think of my two favorites, the only ones I can ever remember: Frigid B*#ch (the obvious would be a punk band, but it would be great for alt-country) and Pedestrian Saints (which in all truth sounds like a band I probably wouldn’t like). I thought about it for days, trying to come up with another entry. I didn’t have to have three, but I wanted every chance. And it hit me: Inspector Handbag!

And wouldn’t you know, when Michael Shilling picked the five winners, Inspector Handbag was on the list! I got my copy of the novel today, and I can’t wait to read it. In college, practically every guy I knew was in a band. I loved live music, but what a hard life those people have (and a lot of fun too, I’m sure). Making it in the music industry is tough enough, but it’s worse when the band can’t get out of its own way. I can’t wait to read this. I’ll post my thoughts when I do.

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