As a wrongly undervalued accessory, consider the loopy lanyard.
They deserve a little recognition.
Lanyards are taken for granted, underrated and, for the most part, ignored.
Go look, there’s probably a lanyard scrunched up in the corner of a drawer full of junk, pushed around by oddments and scraps — a lapel pin honoring the new sanitary landfill, a miniature eight-ball from the pool hall open house, a broken bobblehead of a broken down ballplayer.
Maybe lanyards don’t quite deserve their own museum or a glass display cabinet, or framed presentation on the wall of your entrance hallway.
But they deserve respect.
And perhaps a comeback, a resurgence of sorts, for their common-sense utility. They are a practical accessory, not merely ornamentation.
So what if they bear the inscription “Joe’s Beer Joint” or “Wilma’s Wedding Shoppe.”
Or “First Annual Blossom Hill Snipe Hunt.”
The lanyard, whatever its advertising message if there is one, can come in handy as a welding of usefulness and function.
It’s as practical as a flyswatter, a pair of pliers, a zipper, a shoehorn.
The lanyard is extremely utilitarian.
You could carry that all-important insurance card clipped to a lanyard.
In case you get lost, you could carry your home address for anyone who finds you. Or as a reminder to yourself in case you forget where you live.
A lanyard could hold a digital device if you have one. Or keys, a ballpoint pen or beer opener.
I guess you could use it as an impromptu sling in case of an injury.
The first lanyards, we are told, were used by French soldiers and privateers in the 15th century to keep various weapons close at hand in combat.
As simple straps of cord or rope tied around the neck, they were put to use on ships in olden times, tied around a pistol or sword.
Today the lanyard can be used by healthcare workers for ID, or by academics. Members of the media use them for free admission to ballgames.
A lanyard might carry a note reminding you why you came to the grocery store. Or show off the ribbon you won at the senior olympics in the sack-race or jumping contest.
Sovereigns, monarchs and NBA stars have been known to wear lanyards of shiny gold, encrusted with diamonds and rubies.
In military dress around the globe, the lanyard has turned up in the form of braided loops hanging from the shoulder, determining rank. It has been known by such fancy names as aiguillette and fourragère.
As a practical thingamabob, the lanyard can mean one less crammed pocket in your purse or wallet or bluejeans.
In centuries past, the lanyard has even carried asafetida (yuck!), whose aroma was widely held to cure — or scare away — such things as asthma, epilepsy, stomach ache, flatulence, parasites, festering wounds and snakebite.
It’s an impressive item to wear to a senior living sock hop or HOA meeting.
Clearly it deserves more respect. We could all use a good lanyard now and then.
Besides, it’s time you cleaned out that junk drawer.
Corky Simpson is a veteran journalist who writes a column for the Green Valley News.