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The Wearing of the Pants


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Pat Conroy's awesome novel The Lords of Discipline, about a Southern chap's experiences as a freshman at the fictional Carolina Military Institute, is divided into four parts:  "The Cadre," "The Taming," "The Wearing of the Ring," y "The Ten."

 

I, having been working from home since startus pandemicus, have been making the most of that situation by wearing shorts all the time.  I put long pants on during the eight-minute moment of silence for the George Floyd memorial in late may or early June, but that is the one occasion in the past eleven months when the world was deprived of the sight of my studly gams.

 

Many years ago when I was living off of both unemployment and draining savings, I accomplished a similarly protracted leg-baring feat for I think about six months.  See, as a kid I was stuffy and shy and never wore shorts except for on two or three occasions when I was put under absolute duress, and I felt embarrassed and naked and was counting the seconds until I got to get back home.  Then when I was 16 I.... 

 

...developed a different attitude toward exposed flesh.  I noticed for the first time the studliness of my pins and, having those many years to make up for, basically devoted my sartorial life to The Baring of the Thighs.

 

I now observe that it was folly to try and set a record for "greatest number of days gone without wearing more than shorts" this past year.  One of the reasons for that is that - you know - nobody actually cares.  Yet even were that not an overarching reason, there are other compelling ones.  I have, on some occasions, wanted to enter into solemn and "severe" prayer, for which a man ought to - you know - HAVE PANTS ON.   I have also wanted to get the combination of fresh air and exermacise that I often reap by walking seven miles to the Edina post office and back; this time of year you can't do that in shorts at all, let alone my trademark rugby-length ones.  Also I have been sitting at my desk and been just plain cold; so crossed my legs to sit in my desk chair what we used to call "Indian style" so my (studly) legs could pool their warmth; this gets uncomfortable & bad for one's joints and muscles.  "So just put on some sweatpants," sigh the minority members of my brain's Executive Committee, who are quickly outvoted by those committee members who value the pursuit of the worthless "number of shorts-clad days" record.  (I've toed the letter of the law sometimes by placing a blanket on my lap but the problem I have with that is that I am actually not F.D.R.)

 

Today, see, I have errands to do.

 

Today it's not forecast to get any warmer than -1°F.

 

I risk the obvious in stating that this rules out the wearing of shorts.  (It's also forecast to get get down to -19°F tonight, which means it'll be too cold even to wear shorts indoors.)

 

I therefore find myself at the start of Part Three of the Pat Conroy novel that is my 2020-21:  "The Wearing of the Pants."  And, since it's been about eight months since I have done that, I have this nagging feeling that there's supposed to be some sort of ceremony or protocol that goes along with it.  Like a coronation, but with pants.

 

 

 

(Having typed that just now I think I am going to use "A Coronation, but with Pants" as like a album title or something.)

 

: /

 

 

 

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