It's all a matter of perspective.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Ode to my Favorite Pants

Two sizes too big in the waist, two inches too long in the legs. My favorite pants that I have ever owned came from J.C. Penney’s and were not purchased on sale. There were a gift from my momma for Christmas, but she let me pick them out. They were gray, and I might have preferred olive green, but that did not keep them from becoming my favorite pants of all time.

They were big and wide in the legs and pleated in the front which made plenty of room in the crotch. The pleats also made plenty of room in the butt, which is more important. I am bulky in the moneymaker. These fantastic slacks had cuffs folded over at the bottom of the legs that would collect dirt and lint and perhaps even crumbs while I was eating. If I had on sandals, the back side of the cuffs would tuck under my foot, between heel and sandal. If I had on sneakers or my favorite shoes (which are a whole other story) the cuffs at the bottom of the legs would tuck under the heel of my shoes and get walked on.

These were the very definition of comfort. Sliding my legs into them was like putting on a fresh coat of love. My flesh swam around in them all day and was never constricted. I wore them often – at least twice a week, sometimes more – for they made me feel like a man. I rarely dared to place them in the dirty clothes hamper, for who knew when they might return? These pants had to desperately need a washing to get one. If you love someone set them free, you might say? Not me with these fair slacks.

On Sunday mornings I would stand in front of my closet and contemplate, “How many Sundays in a row have I worn these. Have people started to notice? Does that even matter? There would be plenty of time to wash them from Sunday to Sunday. These people do not know that I wore them to work on Monday and Thursday. They are the most comfortable thing I own. I don’t care, I am wearing them.”

Those were the days, the good ole’ days, the days of the Haggar wrinkle free 40x32’s. When I look back on them my mind sees me as thinner, more handsome, smarter, and happier. When I look back on them I see a simpler, more honest time. A time when I was not so scared, not so alone, not so overwhelmed. When I look back on them, I long for them.

I first noticed them wearing out down where they had been walked on. I knew it would happen eventually, but why so soon? This did not seem like a crisis and I ignored it, continuing to wear the pants as if they were brand new and just as stylish and elegant as ever. Soon I noticed that the fraying went all the way around the pants leg. This was very disheartening, for they might not be easily passed off at work or at church any longer. It did not stop me, though. These were my favorite britches I had ever owned. Wearing them was like going home and I would not soon give it up. Perhaps their life could have been extended if at that point I had put them away for extraordinary occasions, but these were not pants that could be retired. These were not pants that would go gentle into the good night. These were rock-and-freaking-roll slacks and they would rather burn out than fade away. I would maintain my strict pants wearing regimen.

It was not long after that. No fabric can stand up indefinitely to the corrosive powers of crotch sweat. One morning I was dressing for work a little disoriented from the long winters nap. I lost my balance and my foot went right through the crotch of my chinos to the floor. There in the dark bedroom I finally had to accept the demise of these perfect britches. I knew they could never be replaced. I knew there was nothing in my closet that would compare. Bent over and pantsless in the twilight, I was overwhelmed. A bleak and lonesome tear slipped down my cheek.

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