My son, Excitable, may be a hit with the ladies for his dance moves, but eventually his allergy to showering will overpower their love of his inner Deney Terrio.
Then there’s his clothes.
I love the boy because, among a myriad of other reasons, unlike his sister he is not constantly begging me to take him shopping. He tends to wear clothes until they are tattered and holey. Then he continues to wear them tattered and holey.
I keep expecting calls from his school like this:
“Mr. Uncool, we know you are a poor but ignoble scribe …”
“You mean ‘noble', right?”
“Please do not correct the educational professionals, sir.”
“As we were saying … Excitable is free to rummage around the lost and found box. We deloused it last week.”
When he asked me for a new pair of jeans last week, I nearly wet myself. Actually, I did wet myself. I was doing dishes at the time. So off we went to look for some new dungarees.
(“Dungarees”? I just became my mother. What marketing genius in the ‘50s sold parents on the idea of referring to their kids’ denim pants by a Hindi term meaning “recipient of field animal skid marks”?)
Excitable is big for his age, height-wise and – alas – in the belly. Not obscenely in a “let’s shoot him from behind when he walks down a street to use for B-roll footage for that childhood obesity piece we’re running at 11” way but, heck, the boy has a Twinkie gut. Not that I feed him Twinkies. The parent-blogging police would rip me a new one then fill it will locally grown organic veggies before hoisting Excitable into a sling around some perky attachment mother’s perky perks on a national magazine with the headline: “Was He Daddied Too Much?”
So I had handed him a pair of “husky” jeans.
I remember the Mother of All Uncoolness vehemently opposed to the thought of me trying on those dungarees (dang it!) with the telltale “H” after the size.
“You are not husky. Pfft. You are just well-fed. In the Depression I lived off a stale soda cracker for three days,” she’d say.
Well-fed. That’s the lie I lived until I finally lost 30 pounds and got my rear in a pair of Levi’s for the first time in two decades.
Not the Levis 559 jeans with the relaxed fit, either – the 505s, straight up, homie.
(“Homie”? Take the Young MC off your iPod, Suburb Boy!)
He came out of the fitting room, jeans in hand.
Do I mention the husky issue to him? Do I start filling his 9-year-old mind with self-conscious body image issues already? Should I start saving for the therapy sessions? Who’s going to play me in the Lifetime movie version of this tale?
“How’d they fit, son?”
“What about the length? Too long?”
I looked at the tag.
“And only $19.25. Let’s take ‘em home.”
(Note: That was a sponsored post for Levi 559 Jeans. Seriously. I can now lose the “poor” from the “poor and ignoble” label. At least until the therapy sessions start. Thanks to my gracious sponsor and its agency.)