On the case

Yale Hollander is a dad, husband, legal professional and writer whose works have appeared in a number of local and national publications. He is currently a trustee of the St. Louis Jewish Light, however the opinions and viewpoints he presents in this blog are strictly his. Follow him on Twitter @yalehollander.

By Yale Hollander

I was thumbing through the pages of a magazine just the other day, which is not unusual behavior for me but for the fact that it was a current issue and not one of the, ahem, legacy volumes occupying cherished space down in the DonnyBunker. It was a business magazine which shall go nameless, because who am I to serve as an unpaid spokesman for Fortune?


I was paying particular attention to the ads, because I was curious as to who is keeping this particular magazine — and a very good one for its class — afloat. I cannot be counted among the publication’s benefactors, seeing as how I receive it compliments of one of the many airlines where I have an accumulation of frequent flyer miles just good enough to fill my mailbox, but not even close to good enough to fill the seat of one of its airplanes — even the puny one that would only take me as far as Omaha. And even when I was a paid subscriber, I’m pretty sure I was paying somewhere around eight bucks and a Product 19 box top for two years’ worth of this fine publication.

Based on my research, it’s pretty clear that this magazine derives quite a bit of ad revenue from banks, brokerage firms, luxury automobile manufacturers, resorts, insurance firms, electronic gadgeteers and, yes, the Moroccan National Tourist Office. 


But do you know what products I did not see advertised anywhere in a magazine dedicated to the accomplished and/or ascendant captain of industry?


You read that right. A magazine that is read by tens of thousands of successful business folk (and me) appears not to receive a single penny of sponsorship from the purveyors of the very vessel that likely totes the thing between home and office every day.

Again, this is a paper magazine whose ads I’m reviewing, not an electronic version. The kind of person who still reads a paper-based publication is the very person that the commercial luggage industry should be wooing.

Maybe I’m missing something here. Or maybe nobody actually makes briefcases anymore. I know they’re still sold because I’ve seen them on the shelves of no fewer than four stores over the past weekend, but maybe those stores are simply selling off the remaining stock of an item that’s no longer being produced. I really wouldn’t know because I am not in the market for a briefcase.

This is not to say that I am not a briefcase user. On the contrary, I am apparently among the dying breed of loyal briefcase-lugging guys. Perhaps I’m just a felt hat and a tan raincoat away from becoming a wholly out-of-date caricature of a businessman, one whose ilk will finally be cast out of the world’s consciousness once the last episode of “Mad Men” airs this spring.

My current briefcase is anything but current. It’s approximately a quarter-century old and was a rescue from my dad’s basement, where he had consigned it to (in my opinion) premature retirement. But with a good dusting and a generous application of leather conditioner, I got the thing back into…well…presentable shape. 

Far from pristine, my case has a few nicks and creases, and the leather is a bit worn in spots, but that just gives it character. The insides are in outstanding shape for something that first went into service during the H.W. Bush presidency. It has a pocket that, presciently, is a perfect fit for my iPhone. It has ample, dedicated space to store my paper files — yes, I still use paper files — in a neat and organized fashion. And it still has plenty of room for magazines, of course.

As a matter of fact, my briefcase is so deceptively roomy that I can also manage to stow my laptop and a tablet within its confines, even with all that other stuff, but I’m reluctant to do that as a matter of course because I’m afraid of disrupting the space/time continuum. 

The fully loaded case does not, however, leave sufficient room for my 24-year-old Day Runner, so that has finally reached the end of its life, replaced by a sleeker, more compact Moleskine planner. 

Let it not be said that I am unwilling to make concessions to modernity.