Blue Tarp Bible
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Where: Over your shoulder, pardner

It's an age-old dilemma. As an active American guy who travels a lot, you've got a lot of stuff to keep track of: car keys; plane tickets; credit cards; bubble gum; passport; grooming kit; dry-cleaning tickets; Just For Men applicator brush; phone numbers that, for the life of you, you can't attach to any person you've ever met; spare change; contraceptive devices; Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card (you never know); jerky strips; dental floss; Starbucks gift card with 39 cents remaining credit; Junior Ranger Certification card; iPod; Leatherman tool; and 1977 and 2007 ticket stubs from Styx concerts.

You could try -- in fact, you have tried -- to fit this all into your wallet, which is possible, but creates such a thick pile that you're left cocked 45 degrees to one side whenever you're seated. Or you could wear a small pack, which works fine, assuming you want to spend your life with a small river of sweat flowing down the center of your back.

Some designers have gone so far as to design a male "organizer bag" that holds all your stuff within reach--at the bottom of a strap hanging from your shoulder. But let's be honest: Not even those most secure in their masculinity are going to be caught dead buying rebar at Home Depot and paying for it with a Visa card fished from a man purse.

No way.

But you can maintain your swarthy, sweat-stained dignity by fashioning a man purse out of that material that simply reeks of testosterone: BBT fabric.

Follow these simple steps to male greatness:

Blue Tarp

1. Purchase, purloin or otherwise acquire a small blue tarp, a glue gun, a stapler, and a three-foot length of clothesline.

2. Cut out a 12-by-24-inch rectangle of tarp.

3. Fold it in half to make a one-foot square.

4. Temporarily unfold the tarp material. Place glue along the two sides, leaving the top open and being sure to burn yourself with the hot glue gun as you do so. Refold.

5. Watch SportsCenter several times until the glue dries.

6. Placing the open end up, staple the ends of the clothesline to the top corners of the pouch to make a stylish shoulder strap.

7 Take your new man purse outside and drop it in cow manure. Step on it. Spray it with fish guts. Stomp on it. Back over it with your truck. Light it on fire. In short: Do whatever's necessary to remove any trace of newness or tidiness.

8. Put your stuff inside, sling the bag over your shoulder, and get on with your life -- better-equipped and certainly more balanced from side to side.

Aside from never being separated from life's little essentials, there's another beautiful benefit: Nobody will ever mess with a guy wearing a blue-tarp man purse. He simply looks too crazy to approach. You never know what he might be packing in there.

-- Excerpted from The Blue Tarp Bible, Skipstone, 2008

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