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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Real. Uncomfortable. Jeans.

There’s a dangerous game unfolding this week, and it involves my pants.

I think everyone would agree that it’s best when my pants are in no way the subject of controversy, scandal or undue attention. Sadly, that may not be preventable soon. Avert your eyes, if you must.

Here’s the thing: I’m fortunate enough to have a job where I can wear jeans to the office. And I currently have four pairs of “wearable” jeans.

(I’m also fortunate to have a wife who leaves for work a couple of hours before me, and is therefore unavailable to lend her opinion on what actually constitutes “wearable” on any given day.

Mustard stains smeared across the back of the ass, for instance, are certainly embarrassing. Also, regrettable. And if I’d accidentally sat any more squarely on that plate of hot dogs, I might have lost some type of food-related virginity that I’d prefer not to think too hard about.

But do the stains render the pants “unwearable”? At half past the ass-crack of dawn and late for a staff meeting, I say no. And if the missus is unavailable for comment… well, I guess that’s just how the Oscar Meyer squishes.

I never said I was proud. But it beats wearing slacks to work. I can live with that.)

So, four pairs of “wearable” pants. And some indeterminate number of pairs of “unwearable” pants — most of them rendered so because they’re small enough that if I tried to pull the legs up past my knees, all the bodily material there would shoot up toward my head to compensate. And the last thing I want is to give myself a ‘fatty nose’. Ergo, “unwearable“.

Of course, all of these pants fit at some point. They were in regular rotation in the past, but kept shrinking and shrinking and inexorably shrinking — yes, I know it doesn’t work that way; shaddup, you — until they finally had to be set aside.

But not thrown away, nor donated to Goodwill with the hand-me-aways, nor passed off to someone a little lighter in their Levis. No. There’s a rule to be followed with jeans that used to fit, and now almost fit — in a if-I-only-breathe-twice-per-day sort of way — and aren’t completely tattered or worn.

The rule is, you attempt to put on the jeans. Ten minutes, a failed try and two denim-burned thighs later, you fold the pants, stick them on a hanger in the back of the closet and say, to no one in particular:

Ah, I’ll get back into those some day.

(Often, the corollary to this rule is to console yourself with a pizza or a large plate of nachos. Because nobody said ‘some day’ was going to be fricking tomorrow. And all that heaving and stretching makes a guy pretty hungry.)

“What I’d appreciate is if Auntie Frida didn’t knit birthday sweaters that look like they were made by a one-eyed drunken seamstress using one macrame needle and a plastic spork”

So, I’ve followed the Rule of Unwearable Pants, more than once, and stuffed some number of pairs into the dark far reaches of the closet. How many pairs? I don’t know. Three? Five? Forty-seven? I only look back there when I need a tie for a wedding or one of the shirts I have to wear when Aunt Frida comes over, because she puts so much thought and effort into her birthday presents and the least I can do is show a little appreciation once in a while.

(Or so I’m told. What I’d appreciate is if Auntie Frida didn’t knit birthday sweaters that look like they were made by a one-eyed drunken seamstress using one macrame needle and a plastic spork.

Forty years I’ve been blowing out those goddamned candles. So far, no luck.)

Anyway, there are a bunch of old teensy jeans in the back of the closet, waiting patiently for me to liposuction myself or come down with consumption or dip my middle-aged ass in the Fountain of Skinny Firm-Cheeked Youth.

(Hopefully, they’re not holding their collective zipper-flied breath.)

Meanwhile, there are four pairs of acceptable (by my standards, anyway) workaday pants. Which leads to a load or two of mid-week laundry to keep a supply available, but otherwise all is well.

Except.

This evening I was going through my freshly-clean laundry and found… five pairs of pants. Not four. FIVE. This leads me to one of two conclusions:

A.) My pants have somehow gotten together and multiplied, bringing a bouncing baby pair of jeans into the world. This seems unlikely on a number of levels. For one, none of my pants have seemed pregnant lately. For that matter, I haven’t noticed anything resembling a uterus in any of the pairs — and I fold my own laundry, so I think I might notice that. I found a dollar bill in a back pocket earlier — but no uterus. So I think the ‘pantsemination’ theory is out, leaving:

2.) One of the ‘too-skinny’ pairs of jeans escaped and jumped the fence into the laundry.

Only I can’t tell which one by looking. And I’m not in the mood to go stuffing myself in each pair to see ‘which one of these things doesn’t belong (wrapped around my ass in polite society)’. So I folded them all, and left them out for wearing, starting first thing tomorrow morning.

In other words, I’m now playing Russian Roulette with my pants.

Maybe Monday’s pants will be good to go — baggy, roomy, maybe even with another dollar in a pocket somewhere. Or maybe they’ll be the shrink-a-dinks, and the EMTs will find me upside down with them around my ankles, dead of a pant-yanking aneurysm.

Or maybe it’ll be Tuesday. I’ll bravely drag myself out the door after cutting off circulation in my legs, and they’ll cut me out of the pants using the ‘fabric scissors of life’ on the sidewalk outside.

How about Wednesday — I’ve got a big meeting on Wednesday; that’d be par for the course. Maybe I’ll manage to scrape the pants on and get to the meeting, then I’ll take half the room out with me as they explode off and we go up in some sort of muffin top mushroom cloud.

Or it could be Thursday, or Friday — there’s no way to tell. I just know that there’s an extra ninety-percent or so of a pair of pants sitting on the bed, ticking like a hip-hugging boot-cut IED. Maybe I’ll survive the discovery, and maybe I won’t.

Sometime this week, there’ll either be a pair of blue jeans shoved waaay back deep in the closet — and maybe shackled down — or I’ll be declared dead of denim-related overexertion. Will it be me or the jeans? Man or pants? Denim or doofus? Only time — and an unsuspecting set of handmade riveted seams — will tell for sure.

But I wouldn’t stand too close to my ass this week. Just in case.

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