What was that thing in the PCA player bag?

February 08, 2012


“The players are calling it The Thing,” Emma said. It was her job to be in touch with the people at the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. She had listened, and she knew that many folks were exceptionally curious about what my colleague Rick Dacey described as the “the elasticated crisscross thing” in his investigation of the PCA player bags.

The elasticated crisscross thing (ECT) came with no instructions. The cap went on your head. The earphones went on your ears. The ECT? It was simply “The Thing.” Who knew? In a bag full of intuitive items, the ECT was more than a curiosity. It was a mystery. In the three weeks since I got home from the PCA, I have looked at my ECT countless times and wondered, “Why great purpose do you have? What does it all mean?”

The full contents of the PCA player bag

It’s a great burden, friends, to spend your evening hours awake in bed wondering if the secret to the universe might be sitting on the shelf in your closet. More than a few times, I hurt myself trying to attach the ECT to my body in hopes that through some sort of mystical osmosis I might learn the great secret. You must understand, I don’t sleep in pajamas. Actually, forget I mentioned it.

In the daylight hours, however, I found myself coming up with many uses for the ECT. Too many, in fact. So many that it’s become a bit of an obsession. On any given day, I wanted to find new ways to use the ECT. Cooking! Cleaning! Home repair! I envisioned myself on after-midnight television explaining how I had found the real meaning of life and how it begins with elastic.

To wit:


New age entrapment device for those meddling small people in your life


A snowshoe for dogs!


The world’s biggest money clip


A handy picture display for your most treasured photographs

Obviously, this went on for some time before my wife–tired of my attempts to get her to wear the ECT to bed–finally said, “You know, genius, you could Google it.”

And so I did.

It’s not nearly exciting as I might have hoped. However, if you are one of those utilitarian types who wants the things in his backpack to actually serve some meaningful purpose, you might actually like the ECT, which is apparently also known as the Tech Trap. You know, for holding your tech stuff.


Alas, it’s not the secret to the universe. There will be no further meditating on its mystical properties. Still, I suspect it might come in very handy when I go to Brazil next week (as long as the security agents don’t mind me bringing my dog along–she’s grown attached to it).


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