When it was time to wind down from an arts and crafts project, my Dutch grandfather would say, “Make sure you clean up your shnipples.” We would do our best to get the little bits of cut paper or other debris from table or rug. The vacuum would eventually consume any wayward ones, but we learned the moral lesson that every person is responsible for cleaning up his or her own shnipples.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving visit with my sister and her family in Tampa, but there is no way I cleaned up all of my shnipples. How do I know? Because even when I got home a week later, those suitcase shnipples were still coming out of my sneakers.

Why do the plastic linings of suitcases totally disintegrate into giant landfills of shnipples? Is it the change in pressure during the flight? Wouldn’t a plane be the default environment for a suitcase? Does a suitcase go bad after a few years? Does name-brand luggage produce shnipples?

I broke off big chunks of plastic from my suitcase lining to try to be a better guest for my next trip. It’s just a respectable character trait of mine.