Perhaps bag of swag is answer

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ columnist

It never fails. A friend tries to prevent a tangent, and only inspires another.

Over a drink, a guy she used to date came up. She replied, “Eh … been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”

We didn’t talk about him again, but my mind was already off. Should I be giving away T-shirts? I decided that it’s not narcissism, future earning potential and attraction. I’m single because I don’t give swag.

Swag is a shortened term from “schwag,” a word for promotional items. But I like the definition Michael Scott gave during an episode of “The Office” set at a trade show. “Stuff. We. All. Get.”

Usually, swag means bumper stickers, Frisbees or T-shirts. Sometimes, it means a lot more. The 2010 Oscar swag bag, for instance, totaled about $85,000 and included an African safari trip, a Tiffany cat collar and a year’s supply of Altoids Smalls.

The Date Kevin Swag Bag can’t match it, because I need money for followup dates. But it would provide a girl with function and valuable insight into her new guy. Here’s my pitch:

• DVDs of “Airplane,” “Die Hard,” “The Usual Suspects” and “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Those four movies display my love of movies, and make it easy to believe a girl broke it off partially because I never passed up a good, “And don’t call me Shirley.”

• Snickers Almond bar. My favorite candy bar, because I can pretend the almonds make it heart-healthy.

• Uniball Vision pen, black. I’m never without one. I find enough to stock a stationery store when I do laundry, and they’ve never failed me. They also come to work with me, and no matter how often they get borrowed, they always end up back at my desk.

• An adidas sweatshirt, size XL. It comfortably fits me, lets me slip into many places without drawing attention and will likely fit any girl without looking ridiculously big. Come to think of it, I let a friend borrow one and she still hasn’t given it back. Is she holding out for the rest of the bag?

• The Roots, “Things Fall Apart.” It’s the CD I’d want if I was stuck on a desert island. This was their piece de resistance before they became Jimmy Kimmel’s house band. I love the intentional distortion on “Table of Contents,” the controlled chaos of the drums in “You Got Me,” the hidden track, and all of the other reasons I’ll list in a printed document placed in the bag.

• Todd Barry, “Medium Energy.” A classic CD from an unappreciated comic. The ATM joke alone is worth the $5.99 I paid for my second copy (the girl who said “surely” all the time never gave back my first copy).

I estimate the Date Kevin Swag Bag at $89.50 — not Oscar-worthy, but less than a solid dinner-and-movie date. I could swing that.

Now, I’ve just got to figure out what to print on the T-shirt. Crap, there’s another tangent.