Warning: May cause keyboard player weight gain

When going to a show, one must decide what their position is regarding pockets (not to be confused with the picture at right).

Some will say that pockets are important for storing all of those essential items you bring into the venue with you: car keys, cell phone, ticket stub, lighter, money, setlist book, digits of the cute girl you met in the lot, smokes, etc. Some phans swear by pockets and the benefits they have in holding all of these various items for you while you dance the night away.

On the other hand, pockets are often seen as a curse that will haunt you throughout the evening. You may place something in your pockets, never to be found again until well after the time in which it was needed. Many people find it difficult to organize the items in their pockets and this causes delays in the beer line ("I can't find my money!"), problems getting back to your seat ("I swear my stub was in my left pocket!"), and many other unfortunate circumstances. Pockets can bog you down by being too full, as once you start putting things in there, it is difficult to stop.

Some tips on pocket management:

--Always keep your car keys in a secure pocket, preferably zippered. And if you didn't drive, make sure your driver does the same. Don't get Mickey'd.

--Before the show, check your pockets to see what is already in them. If necessary, remove items that will be unneeded during and immediately following the show.

--Gather all of the items you want to have with you inside the show and determine whether your pockets are capable of holding all of these materials.

--Once you have your items organized place them in your available pockets, keeping track of which pocket you place each item in. I find that if I always put my cell phone in my front left pocket and my money and stub in the front right, I can avoid confusion later on when I try to call my car or open my phone.

--The greatest risk you run when putting things in your pocket is missing your pocket and having the item fall to the ground. Such lost items ("ground scores" in the vernacular) will be a boon for others, but may be a bummer for you. Take care to ensure your hand drops the item after your hand has entered the pocket area.

--Throughout the evening, try as best you can to return the item you take from a pocket to the same pocket each time. This way you can prevent yourself from being the slow guy in line when it is your turn at the counter. As a corollary to this, take the time you are standing in line behind other phans to find that thing you need before you need it. But don't linger too long, as people who can't keep their hands out of their pockets often receive puzzled and sometimes worried looks from passersby.

If you determine that pockets are not your thing, DON'T PANIC. There are alternatives. Some will bring a backpack with them (like the TicketHunter). Others will pawn their belongings off on someone else (like my wife). Whatever your views on pockets are, don't let your experiences with them ruin your -- or anyone else's -- experience at the show. Remain calm at all times. Pockets don't ruin shows. People who don't use pockets properly ruin shows.

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