My friend Douglas Rushkoff opened his bag for the What's in my bag? newsletter.
Douglas Rushkoff is the author of Team Human, Present Shock, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, and a bunch of other books on media and society. He's host of the Team Human podcast, and currently adapting some of his novels to TV.
About the bag
I got that backpack for around $10 on sale at the Vans store when I was getting my daughter some sneakers. She picked it out. I figured it would break pretty fast at that price, but it's lasted 5 years and been around the world. It works because it's super light, has lots of easy-to-find compartments, and the zippers haven't failed.
What's inside the bag
Legal pad and Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pen .5mm
I always wanted to be a Moleskine person but I wrote my first book proposal on a legal pad and somehow they bring me luck. 14″ is enough for a good handwritten paragraph, a chapter outline, 45 minutes of interview questions…the perfect scribal unit. My pen of choice changed from the Fischer Space Pen (the pressurized, any-direction ink cartridge was perfect for planes) to the Paper Mate InkJoy, which writes like a real ink pen and not some ballpoint. No pressure required, and very fast drying. Very sensual writing, but cheap — and I lose pens a lot.
Ricola Original Natural Herb Cough Drops
Not only am I a friend and fan of Ramona Pringle, who played the Ricola girl on the TV ad, but I'm dependent on Ricola for speaking gigs. In Covid times, I'm doing upwards of 6 hours of talks and webinars a day, so I just keep a handful in my bag. I now get the huge packs at Costco. No one has improved on the original flavor, shape, herbal blend, or wrapper.
NuGo Dark Chocolate Pretzel Vegan Protein Bar
I've been a bar person since PowerBar was the only option. NuGo are a real family business making high-quality vegan snacks. Their dark chocolate pretzel is my emergency meal replacement on trips or whenever I get fatigued or strung out. Salty sweet. And not soy.
Puregear Wireless In-Ear Earbuds with Mic
I walked into a Radio Shack a couple of summers ago when the whole chain was going out of business and picked up these earbuds for around $25. I suppose they're basically the same as Apple ones except they don't charge automatically in their box. But I like having a bit of a wire so they can hang on my neck and not get lost. They're fine for hands-free calling but I don't listen to music in any ears-only ways. Only speakers.