Dr. Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

I have long made snarky and mocking comments about US Weekly’s attempts to normalize celebrities through its series of features that suggest stars are just like the rest of us while simultaneously promoting products.  Recently though, it occurred to me that I may not have taken the difficulties that such articles pose for the unsung heroes of the magazine to write.  So, in the finest tradition of experiential learning, I have decided to create my own “What’s in My Bag” article to see just what creating such a feature is like.  

Please imagine a nice color picture of me overtop an image of the spilled contents of my bag on a table as we begin…

Shuttling between the car and the office can pose a big challenge for an academic on the go.  That’s why Mike Robinson, 49, relies on his seasoned black Samsonite bag while working on the continuing series, Communication Studies, where he just returned for his 18th season on the program.

“I like to be prepared for any health emergency,” said Robinson.  “That’s why I’m never too far away from this roll of Tums, really old package of Ricola mints and that mysterious over-the-counter pill long past its expiration date that’s tucked down in the front pocket.”  And even a veteran instructor likes to look his best.  That’s why Robinson uses generic CVS Health Lubricating Gel Drops to keep his blue eyes shining.  “These really come in handy,” he recommends, “For the seasonal allergies that affect me here in Lynchburg from February through December.”  

Of course, we all know the life of a professor isn’t just glamour and health regimens.  There’s work to be done too!  That’s why Robinson opted for a really large leather (well leather-ish) briefcase-style tote.  “I got it so it could carry a laptop,” he added, “Of course I never did buy a laptop.”  Still, extra zippers allow the bag to expand out considerably in case Robinson has to carry things over to Hopwood in inclement weather.  This has also allowed him to hold onto important materials like rosters from classes he taught a few years ago and some really old papers he’s already graded but students never picked up.  “Wow,” he adds smiling, “How old are these? I do all this stuff on Turnitin now!”

Speaking of bad weather, Robinson has a small fold-up umbrella in there.  It’s dark black, perfectly matching the interior of the bag in a way that renders it invisible.  “What the h*ll?” says the prof upon finding it down there.  “How many times did I walk in the rain when I could have pulled this stupid thing out of there?”

An infrequent traveler, he also keeps his collection of vintage pens borrowed from various businesses with him in the bag.  “This Marriott pen is an old favorite.  It always reminds me of all the luxurious features I enjoyed when last I attended a conference at a Marriott hotel.”  

As our conversation ended, it was pretty clear Robinson was running out of things to mention in his bag.  “Uh,” he mumbled, “I’ve got this phone charger.  I guess it’s important to keep my phone charged, maybe.”  Perhaps these fluff pieces aren’t as easy to throw together as he always thought they were.

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