Last night, I lay down in bed, and for a moment exhaustion overwhelmed me. I thought, “Wow, God, I’m just here like a sack of potatoes.”
Then, because my body can be exhausted without involving my brain, I began thinking about sacks.
One of the unnoticed losses of the modern manufacturing era is the sack. Sacks are useful and reusable, but they’re also more expensive than their replacement, the paper bag. Items which always came in sacks when sold at the feed shop or the mercantile are now on the shelves at Food Plus in paper bags.
Potatoes. Flour. Onions. Oats. They’re all in paper bags or plastic bags. Coffee beans are in those non-breathable semi-plastic bags.
Consequently, “sack” simply isn’t in daily usage any longer. “Knapsack” is now just a “back pack.” (Not even a book bag, as I discovered last week. “Kiddo#2, you’re standing on your book bag.” “What’s a book bag?” “Look under your feet!” etc.)
“Sacked out” means “asleep,” and that has nothing to do with bags woven of coarse fibers.
“Hackey sack” is the closest it comes to being in usage, but it’s kind of a nonsense word for a toy nowadays, like Frisbee and Slinky. They’re not really sacks any longer, anyhow.
Language evolves. Human needs and habits change. And so, without fanfare, another word dies.