A Pocket History of Milton J. Wurtleburtle

by Brett & Kate McKay on January 13, 2010 · 117 comments

in Accessories, Dress & Grooming

As we’ve discussed before, you can tell a lot about a man from what he keeps in his pockets. And you can tell a man’s whole life history from how those contents change over time. At least that was the premise of a piece that appeared in a 1933 issue of Esquire Magazine. Enjoy.

A Pocket History of Milton J. Wurtleburtle

By: Robert D. Abrahams

Contents of His Pockets at Ten

1 watch, lacking a main spring.
1 report card, badly frayed and unpresented at home.
1 much damaged cigarette, unsmoked.
1 penknife.
1 rubber band, for use in sling-shot.
Remains of an exploded toy balloon.
2 marbles.
4 caps of milk bottles, won in competition
1 dirty handkerchief.
1 piece of chewing gum.
2 keys which do not fit locks.
7 pieces of string.

Contents of His Pockets at Twenty

1 cheap watch
1 one dollar bill and twenty-one cents in change.
1 letter on lavender stationery from a girl in Worcester, Massachusetts, signed with numerous “X’s.”
1 letter on mauve stationery from a girl in Cleveland, Ohio, signed with numerous “X’s.”
1 photograph of a beautiful girl who does not live in Worcester, Massachusetts or Cleveland, Ohio.
1 address book, containing nicknames and addresses only.
1 letter from the Dean of …….College, regretting the necessity of again calling attention to his deficiencies.
1 bank book, showing balance of $4.20.
1 pipe, marked with college class numerals.
1 tobacco pouch.
1 key to his own door.
1 fancy handkerchief for coat pocket.
1 pocket comb.

Contents of His Pockets at Thirty

1 gold watch with jeweled movements
1 roll of bills containing $84.00.
1 practical handkerchief and one fancy handkerchief in coat pocket.
The same picture of Mrs. Milton J. Wurtleburtle and both the children.
Membership card in Elks, Moose and nine other fraternal orders and clubs.
1 accountant’s statement of business of Milton J. Wurtleburtle & Co., showing net worth of business now high
1 letter from Jake Hesser from Colorado, saying Wurtleburtle can expect to hear great news from that mining proposition soon; all that is needed is capital.
1 circular, advertising hair restorer.
1 memorandum from wife to stop and buy new goldfish, the old ones having died.
1 bill from summer camp for children’s stay.
2 ten-cent cigars.
Several keys on ring, opening-
(a) his home door
(b) his office door
(d) his automobile tire lock and
(d) his safe deposit box

Contents of His Pockets at Fifty

1 watch, inscribed “To the Chief from Affectionate Employees of Milton J. Wurtleburtle & Company, on the Occasion of His 50th Birthday.”
1 roll of bills, held together with rubber band.
2 silk handkerchiefs and one for display.
1 picture of son in cap and gown.
1 picture of daughter in riding habit.
1 letter from son, asking for a little more money this month.
1 letter from daughter, saying she will be home after attending only four more out-of-town horse shows.
1 statement of accountant showing Milton J. Wurtleburtle & Co. has very large net worth this year.
1 spectacle case containing a pair of reading glasses.
Life membership cards of twenty-two different fraternal orders and clubs.
Letters from receivers of Colorado-Hesser Mines, Inc., stating it is doubtful whether stockholders will receive anything from wind-up of concern.
2 quarter cigars.
Numerous keys on ring, including-
(a) key to home door
(b) key to office door
(c) key to safe deposit box
(d) key to country club locker

Contents of His Pockets at 60

1 watch, inscribed as before, containing, in case, picture of three grandchildren.
1 roll of bills as before.
1 practical handkerchief.
7 additional pictures of three grandchildren.
1 letter confirming reservations for “Around the World Cruise” for Mr. and Mrs. Milton J. Wurtleburtle.
1 copy of tentative president’s report for submission to stockholders of Milton J. Wurtleburtle & Co., Inc., showing large dividends earned during the year.
1 bottle of liver pills.
1 spectacle case containing bifocal glasses.
1 recipe for cocktail, written by a friend.
Several keys on a ring, opening:
(a) his home door.
(b) his office door.
(c) his safe deposit box.

Contents of His Pockets at Seventy

1 watch, inscribed as before, containing, in case, picture of Mrs. Milton J. Wurtleburtle.
Roll of bills as before.
1 dirty handkerchief.
1 spectacle case with glasses and one spectacle case with magnifying glasses.
Letters from three grandchildren from three different colleges, thanking him for Christmas presents.
Letter from Edenwood Cemetery, acknowledging receipt of check for perpetual care of Mrs. Milton J. Wurtleburtle’s lot.
Letter of praise from Board of Directors of Milton J. Wurtleburtle & Co., Inc., on occasion of his retirement from active business.
Notice to report for jury service.
1 newspaper clipping, concerning grandsons playing as substitute end for Princeton.
Two keys on ring, opening-
(a) his home door.
(b) his safe deposit box.

Contents of His Pockets at 80

1 handkerchief in coat pocket carefully folded and placed there by the undertaker.

{ 117 comments… read them below or add one }

101 JG August 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm

At 26
-Wallet containing cards, to include ATM, hunter’s license, fishing license, VFW, American legion.
-gum
-keys, personal
-keys, government
-pocket knife
-cellphone
-dollar bill and change

102 Andrew November 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

At 24:
pocketknife
Reading glasses
eyeglass cloth
wallet
keys (home, bike, car, guitar case)
phone
ipod touch
ipod nano
guitar picks
ponytail
earbuds
business cards

103 Casey December 24, 2012 at 11:19 pm

At 23:
-Handkerchief
-Daybook (Pocket planner/notebook)
-Wallet
-Pen (1 black ink, 1 black Sharpie)
-Twenty-sided die
-Nail Clippers
-Comb
-Penknife
-Phone

104 ethan December 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm

At 13:

-House keys
-Cell phone
-wallet (empty)
-playing cards
-poker chip
-tactical flashlight

105 Viktor January 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm

at 26:
wallet(5000HUF-about 25USD-, some change, debit card -not a fan of credits and loans-)
ipod nano + koss “brainplug”
ID wallet(national id, several other cards thanks to buerocracy, frequent buyers’ cards to about a dozen shops, 1000HUF SOS cash)
phone
small spiral notes book with a pen tucked in the spirals
public transport ticket block of 10
bottle opener keyring with keys to home

106 Csaba January 26, 2013 at 4:17 am

at 22:
-swiss army knife
-wallet
-handkerchief
-keys
-zippo lighter
-leadholder pencil and a folded A4 paper
-gum
-phone

107 Anonymous February 8, 2013 at 12:51 am

At 15:
-Copy of the United States Constitution (kept in left breast pocket of my coat)
Multi-tool
-Accurate, practical watch
-wallet containing (currently) 14 dollars
-Phone
-First aid kit (contained in an old wallet)

108 Dylan February 23, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Damn, Milton’s life got depressing. And fast.

109 Matt April 2, 2013 at 1:23 am

Age 23
pocket contents
phone n charger adapter
chewin tobacco
pocket knife
pliers
zippo lighter
checkbook style western wallet with cash, credit, debit, as well as id cards inside
some form of ammunition ifn im wanderin round the farm.
varies somewhat day to day,

110 Matti July 9, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Contents of pockets at 21

-Leatherman multitool
-Golden Virginia rolling tobacco, papers and filters
-Zippo lighter
-Matches
-Wife’s wallet
-Passport
-LED flashlight

111 JT July 22, 2013 at 10:39 am

At 16:
hankerchief
pocketknife
cell phone
wallet

112 Ethan (again) October 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm

This time at 14:

-Cell phone
-house keys
-Ipod
-Half dollar
-small single use tube of hair wax
-wallet (still empty)
-tactical flashlight
-chap stick
-gum
-tube of mint

113 Erick October 26, 2013 at 2:16 am

At 19

- pocket knife (so sharp i can use it to shave)
- wallet
- comb
- pen
- notebook
-$20
- head phones
- picture of my girlfriend
- business cards
- life saver certification
- ipod touch
- lighter (I am a pyro not a smoker)
- phone keys
-house
– car
– bottle opener
– gym membership (which I will start using again)
- glasses
- sunglasses

114 John November 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm

At 24

-Thin wallet with brass bill clip
-Small Multitool
-Pen Knife
-Keyring with Keys to House, Car, Bottle Opener, Work keys
-Handkerchief with Monogram
-Torch Lighter
-LED Flash Light
-Sunglasses
-Cellphone
-Hand Sanitizer

115 "Biohazard" Joe December 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Age 18:

-Pocket Knife
-Keys
-Wallet ($3.00, Driving permit, gift cards, tool card, gift cards, men’s warehouse card, ect.)
-Leatherman Tool
-Pocket Comb
-Notebook
-Pen
-Flash Drive
-Movie Tickets
-Goodwill Receipt for a book
-86 cents in change
-Cell Phone

116 Troy February 26, 2014 at 9:10 pm

At 35:

Pocket Knife
Challenge Coin
Thin Clip Wallet
Space Pen
Handkerchief
Keys

117 Ross March 5, 2014 at 4:19 am

At 26:

Case Pocket knife
Chapstick
Can of Copenhagen
Wallet (ATM/ Debit card, Drivers Licence, CAC card, Military id, insurance cards, and about twenty business cards) and Spyderco Knife.

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