This will be a small expansion of a response I made to a post on “Why Do We Wear Underwear?” One answer was, “in case we split our pants.
Well, that actually happened to me… big time.
For much of my young life I was the fat little kid in school. When I began my Junior year of high school, having just turned 16, I stood five feet three, and I weighed 150 pounds. During that year I grew to five feet eleven, and I still weighed 150 pounds. Unfortunately, most of that growth happened between the annual purchasing of school clothes (in August), and the replacement of school clothes (at Christmas).
That summer, when we went shopping, the Old Man had me try on some ‘low rise’ jeans. The ‘husky’ size I’d been wearing always came all the way up to my navel, with a long narrow fly, making me look even fatter than I was. We found three low rise jeans I could wear. One pair was made of a light denim with grey and black vertical stripes. I called them ‘gamblers’ pants. They fit perfectly, and I wore them more than any others. But there was something going on that I didn’t recognize… I was growing – up.
There came a late, chilly and windy November day I was outside with a group at school. It was a biology class, I believe. I was wearing the gamblers’ pants, and I bent over from the waist to pick up a… damifino. There was a loud “Rr-r-r-r-i-i-i-i-ipp! and a sudden feeling of freedom (not to mention COLDness) in my nether regions. I had split ‘em from the crossing of the seams just below the fly all the way up the back to my belt! What the changes I had not yet recognized had done had included an increase in the distance from my groin to the top of my pelvis, and widened the pelvic collar. In short, my pants were too short… in every dimension.
Too short, over-worn lightweight pants, unrecognized growth in several directions, and excessive stretch in too many dimensions at once, and suddenly I was EXTREMELY grateful for tidy whiteys without signs of excessive wear. Nonetheless, I grabbed for the point of exposure, stood up REALLY FAST, and tried to face the group. THAT didn’t work out very well, since they’d all been in a circle, looking at whatever it was that I was picking up. Every turn I made, someone was behind me. There was a good bit more laughter than I was comfortable with, and, since I was teased a lot, my level of comfort with being laughed at pretty much started at zero… and went down from there.
I was just beginning to get mad, when a very pretty girl, who hardly ever spoke to me, offered to loan me her car so I could go home and change. I accepted with silent and embarrassed gratitude. I lived only five miles away, and even driving a car I wanted to be VERY careful with (it wasn’t mine, and it was nearly new) over back country roads, some unpaved, it took me less than 15 minutes each way. I was back to school in time for my next class… which erupted into laughter and applause as I entered. I decided to take the high road, and walked quickly to the young lady who’d loaned me her car, presented her the keys with a flourish, and turned and waved to my ‘audience’… which included Principal Converse, who had followed me into the room. He crooked his finger at me and walked out the door. There was absolute silence as I followed him.
“What exactly, Mr. Larlham, gives you the idea you can take somebody’s car and drive off in the middle of the morning?” Mr. Converse was obviously not privy to my trials. “Don’t you think it might have been a good idea to stop by and ask my permission? I like to think people will do that. Can you imagine everybody just taking whatever car they want to, and taking off whenever they want to?” He took a breath.
“I split my pants,” I yelped before he could start again. I turned around and bent over. “From here to here.” I drew a line with my finger.
There was an explosion of laughter from behind me, and the unlit cigar Mr. Converse kept clenched tightly in his teeth throughout the day (as it slowly shortened – and none of us wanted to think about how THAT happened) shot past my head, hitting the far wall of the hallway, and dropping to the floor with a small wet splat. “Go,” he gurgled, trying to hold back another explosion. He waved to the door through which I’d just followed him, “Go.” He picked up his cigar, scrubbing the stain into the tile with the toe of his shoe… “Go.”
I went. More applause. I bowed.
The clothing part of Christmas came early for me that year. Much to my chagrin, that did NOT mean that I got any more of the “good” stuff that Christmas. There were fewer packages, but the Old Man was careful to remind me that we’d already bought my clothes for the year.
I’ve never even WANTED to go Commando since my Gamblers’ Pants Adventure.
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