If you, the reader, don’t know this about me already, I have spent and still spend extensive time reading about any and all subjects pertaining to flashlights.
I will say that EDC in its modern form began in 1984 with the launch of The Mini Maglite personal sized flashlight.
Ever since then, those who carry flashlights almost always will carry a rugged, compact metal flashlight of some sort.
However, people have been carrying flashlights almost since their initial invention in 1899.
Industrial Grade Flashlights as we know them can be traced back to the 1940s.
From that point on, but especially between the 1960s and the 1980s or 1990s, tradespeople and laborers, especially those in the transportation sector usually carried a 2 D sized Heavy Duty Industrial Grade Flashlight. They would tuck it away usually in their right back pants pocket, with the face protruding upwards.
I first read about this practice in the Summer of 2010.
During this time, I was also employed as a grocer.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do like grocery work and I am considerably good at it.
However, I worked for a God awful grocery company and the work environment was very spirit-crushing.
We were stripped of any and all dignity as much as legally possible.
We also were forced to wear humiliating uniforms.
As you, the reader, probably already know, I have a special fondness for flashlights.
My entire disability pension at the time and then some was eaten up by my rent and I was working part-time at $8 an hour.
Needless to say, I had very little spending money.
Industrial Grade flashlights, especially the incandescent models are pretty cheap and at the time they were the only flashlights I could afford to splurge myself with.
So, I would buy them whenever I had a few extra dollars to my name.
When I would buy one, I would do as much reading about it as possible. This is how I kept myself amused during my off-hours.
I didn’t have much spending money to eat out or do anything else, so my then-wife now ex-wife would watch television and I would read online.
Cable TV and Internet maintained the sanity that was many times just hanging on by just a thread.
Not only did it maintain the little sanity we had, it served as a window to the outside world because we had a very basic phone plan with very limited minutes.
Actually we went completely without a phone altogether for a month or two, but kept in touch with friends and family via the Internet.
We always had food on the table (without any SNAP benefits by the way) and I just thank God that I didn’t get her pregnant!
If the ultimate failure of my marriage can be boiled down to anything it, was these two factors:
A spouse whose personality was permanently altered for the worse due to fluid buildup on her brain a few months after us exchanging our marital vows.
A miserable and demanding job during the honeymoon phase of that marriage.
I know I would be married to her for a little over eight years and honestly that was me trying to honor my God.
Things did slightly improve when I worked enough quarters so my disability pension was bumped up in January of 2011.
After my hours were drastically cut and I was demoted for no reason; I quit without warning in September of 2011. I have not been employed since.
My disability pension was bumped up again to in January of 2012 for working a few more quarters.
There have also been cost of living adjustments, since then, and I humbly but joyfully thank my God for it!
Okay, I think I’ve got my point across on how real my struggles once were!
I needed to get that off my chest and this is good therapy for starting a new year and a new decade off fresh!
So, as I mentioned before the work environment at this grocery company was very spirit-crushing.
When I first started there, I attempted to clip my portable scanner radio to my back pocket, just so I could have entertainment during the break periods.
The managers who wanted to suck any and all joy possible out of working for their company swiftly reacted and equally swiftly denied me the privilege of having my scanner on me.
Just for the record I never had it turned on while I was on the clock, just during break time.
So months later, I after learning how working people of previous decades carried a flashlight in their back pockets, I began to do so as well.
Most of the time I had a cheaper tactical model in my front pocket as well.
I was met with lots of positive reactions from my coworkers and only by the Grace of God, management never tried to stop me. These positive reactions from coworkers were the beginning of me being accepted for liking flashlights as opposed to being harassed, as in primary and some of secondary school.
I finally had a way to express my individuality and at the same time have a comfort item on me, which made the extremely toxic work environment a little more bearable.
I know some of you may think I was being smug and rebellious and possibly to a degree I was.
However, while I am not condoning my rebellion if any, let me just say that it was a reaction to oppression but more than that it was simply a desire to have a comfort item with me during a very uncomfortable time.
As a Christian, I do feel convicted as I am writing this because The Bible clearly instructs Christian employees to do their work as if they were doing it for God. There were times I did fail to do this.
However, the Bible is very harsh on oppressive employers and oppression in general as well!
I’m no expert on fashion at all.
But, I’ve considered trying to start a fashion trend, though I highly question whether or not I will have any success.
However, what if we could invent this dress style which would entail a white tee-shirt, a newsboy hat of some sort, then either black, brown or khaki work pants, some sturdy but casual shoes or work boots and the crowning point either a vintage or a current Industrial Grade Heavy Duty 2 D Cell sized flashlight to be carried in the right back pocket, head protruding up! It could be to identify with and support the working class. I could see hipsters possibly doing this and maybe, just maybe, it could catch on to other groups of people.
While I am no longer a member of the working class, at one point I was simply mentally disabled, though high functioning, but now I am also physically disabled due to a back injury. I am still and always will be a Millennial.
And many of my fellow Millennials are indeed heavily oppressed by the workforce with no foreseeable relief from this oppression.
Maybe it could be worn on the job, at least the flashlight portion, to show solidarity with other workers from now and previous times.
And for those that already carry flashlights anyway, still, carry your main flashlight on you, but have one of these aforementioned flashlights in your back pocket.
For those in hazardous environments, there are quite a few models that are approved for your job-the idea is to carry them in your right back pocket!
Flashlights give off light, which chases away darkness and exposes everything good and bad. We can use the flashlights as a symbol of chasing away the darkness of oppression that workers face even with all the rights they are supposedly guaranteed. We can also see them as the symbol of exposing the good intentions of the workers trying to support themselves and their loved ones and exposing the dirty dealings going on that cheat these workers out of so much.
I’m not trying to align with one political party or another, because they both have failed us, miserably.
This doesn’t have to be totally political anyway, it could just be an innocent fad started by someone who is fond of flashlights!