An Ode To Life-Changing Pants


The second my eye focused on the image of these pants, I knew I would never be the same. As the cone cells in my retinas received their magical color, I awakened. There may be nine species of true salmon, but this one is The Truth. This salmon fabric is the whole truth and nothing but the Sojourner Truth that Tom Cruise couldn’t handle, and they’ve taught my heart to sing the song of life.

I am forever changed by these pants. You know the famous traveling pants of the sisterhood? These pants banged them. I think I understand that song “Defying Gravity” now.

I wasn’t always this way. Before these pants, I was the kind of person who would have endlessly mocked anyone, man or woman or infant, wearing embroidered pink slacks. I would have said things like, “Look, Connecticut anthropomorphized!” or, “Oh, I didn’t know the Lame Army had uniforms” or, “Who stole the washcloth set from my grandmother’s guest bathroom and sewed them into the shape of a man’s legs?” At my best, I would have introduced him to everyone in the immediate area, “Ladies and gentlemen, the famous literary genius, Salmon Rushdie.” At my worst, I would have scolded him saying, “It’s pretty swordfish of you to keep abusing the Whalefare System like this.” I just didn’t get it.

These pants are close to a religious experience, but also, in a way, better and more important. I want to write ten songs about these pants over ten months and then burn them in ten fires, because they will never be good enough to capture the essence of these dungarees. It is a travesty that these pants, a more expensive spin-off of the Nantucket Reds, only became popular in the 1950s. They are truly so incredible that had they existed earlier, World War I never would have happened. Then World War II would have just been called “World War,” or possibly “War of the World,” or “Thirty Country Fight.”

These pants touch me in a place I didn’t know existed: my chino. My chino is the part of my brain that allows me to enjoy things, when it would be a lot easier to ridicule them. All these years, I had no idea that it is actually my chino which allows me to eat in the Times Square Olive Garden and love it. Since I realized it existed, I’ve been trying to use my chino more.  I’ve watched two sitcoms with laugh tracks and, next week, I’m going to try listening to the radio. I’m working up to un-ironically shopping at a mall and also being inside Beacon’s Closet (or a thrift store of similar magnitude) without rolling my eyes.

These (idiotic, iconic, ironic) pants may just make me a better person. They’ve already located my chino, perhaps there’s more they can do. Maybe one day I will be able to happily shotgun a Bud Light, execute a flawless high-five, and then discuss an indie darling over a crafted cocktail. Maybe, not yet, but maybe someday, for now I just won’t say things like, “What size are those gift soaps you’re wearing and from which coastal Maine bed-and-breakfast did you get them?” Well, I won’t say it out loud anyway.

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