USED TOO


 

     Generally, I put on my pants just like anyone else.  First one leg-Okay, take them off.  Had started putting them on backwards.  Usually, I’m not always wide awake when I first wake up so you can understand how a guy like me could make a  simple mistake like that!  One leg on at a time, zipper in the front.  All is well.  But then, one morning, there was one thing in particular that really irritated me.  It really rubbed me the wrong way.  What caught me a little off-center was the seam running up and down the back of my work pants.  Let me explain.

     A few days earlier, I decided that it would be cheaper for me to buy my work uniforms rather than rent them.  That way, when I laundered my clothes, I had the ability to spread the dirt, grease, odors and all sorts of germs from my work place to the clothes of the rest of my family!  Yep, I could save money by owning my own dark prison blue pants and light blue, pinstriped shirts.  In other words, clothing that could also be known as ‘Picasso grease rags’.  The whole idea was that if I repaired my own buttons, furnished my own laundry soap, repaired my own rips and replaced the clothing when it became thread-bare, it would be cheaper than paying someone else to do it all for me.  Yes siree, I was going to save myself a bundle by purchasing my work clothes!

     I would be buying five sets of clothes, a set for each work day though I had never  considered what I would do if I ever had to work on a Saturday!  So, since I was on a thrifty, tightwad money-saving spree, I was not going to buy new uniforms, I was going to buy used ones.  I was offered that option.  Compared to buying new blue jeans, it would be cheaper to buy the uniforms. 

     As soon as the guy who delivered the uniforms to my other co-workers, I would talk to him about my purchase.   When he came around, I approached him and he asked me what I had in mind.   I didn’t want to sound too cheap but finally, I weasled my way around to the question of how much my uniforms would cost.  He started at $15 and I silently panicked. 

     “$15 for a pair of pants and a shirt”? I asked.

     “That’s right”, he said.  “$15 for the shirt and another $15 for the pants”.

     Let’s see; $15 times two times five would run me$150!  $150! Was he crazy?  I quickly asked him if he had anything else, something I wouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage on the White House for!

     He looked me up and down til I felt a little uneasy.  Then he confided that he could get me some Grade D uniforms.  Finally, we were talking!  Well, he was talking, I was listening.  Granted, the other guys at my work place were being rented Grade B uniforms, as I had been so how much difference could there be between Grade D and Grade B?  Of course, it still depended on how much it was going to cost me to buy my clothing before I signed on any dotted line.

     $1.50 was the price I was quoted so I asked if that was $1.50 for both the shirt and the pants to which he gave me a crusty look as well as a crusty reply. 

     “$1.50 for the shirt.  $1.50 for the pants.  $1.50 apiece!” 

     He seemed to turn up the volume when he said “apiece”.  Maybe it was just the acoustics in my head but I don’t think so! 

     I was still doing the math in my head when he said, “$15”!

     Again, the pitch level of his voice was a little bit more than I thought it should have been.  He turned and headed for his van.  As he drove off, I guess I never realized that one of those big delivery vans could turn a corner so fast and still keep it on two wheels!  

     I could hardly wait for the week to pass, the end of which would bring my new “threads” to me!  

     Sure enough, bright and early the next Friday morning, the uniform man showed up with a bundle of freshly laundered, crisp looking uniforms for the rest of the guys.  Poor suckers!  Renting when they could buy!  What losers!

     After hanging up the uniforms, the man stopped long enough to explain to me that he did not have my uniforms that day. As a matter of fact, he was hand-picking my uniforms, personally, for a guy like me.  As it turned out, I would wait another two weeks before my clothes finally showed up.  After giving me my new possessions, he again seemed to leave on two wheels, this time appearing to be laughing up his sleeve, so to speak.  (A little bit hard to do since he was wearing short sleeves.)

     Five o’clock the next Monday morning rolled around way too soon as all Monday mornings do but I was excited that the day would see me in my newly acquired clothes.  It was going to be a day I would remember, one that would stand out more than others.

     I slipped on my uniform shirt and sniffed deeply the odor of cheap laundry soap.  As I reached the top button to finish buttoning up, I noticed that there was an extra button-hole. Upon further inspection, I discovered that one of the middle buttons were missing which had caused me to mismatch about half of the buttons.  All I could do to deal with the situation was to deal with the situation like a reasoning adult should do.  I could just set that shirt aside to be repaired later, get another shirt and continue.  Or, I could….just let it go.  If I didn’t allow my shirt to ‘pooch’, the missing button was hardly noticeable.

     I went for the pants next because, well, they were the next thing I needed to put on.  Pulling them on, I immediately began to wonder if I had put them on backwards because of the uncomfortable feeling I was getting.  My left hind side was feeling a little bit restricted, more so than my right side.  Not a proper feeling.  I tried twisting the pants to the right while keeping the back seam right where it should be, directly in the center.  My left side still felt way too tight, like my pants were holding that side of my posterior in a death grip, trying to suffocate it.  Try as I might, no amount of adjusting and adjustment would remedy the out-of-balance situation.  Slowly, carefully, cautiously and awkwardly, I backed up towards the mirror on the medicine cabinet mounted in the wall above the hand sink.  That feat in itself was hard but somehow, I got the view I was looking for.  Sure enough, my back side appeared to be out of kilter. 

     By the time I had made the assessment, it was getting late enough that I needed to be heading out of the door, off to work.   On the drive there, for some reason, I kept trying to rearrange and shift and make things right but all to no avail.  The seam that had gone astray would not be tamed.  No amount of digging could fix the crooked ‘terrorizer’.  The longer the day wore on, the worse the chaffing got but I felt that no matter how bad the situation was, I could put up with it for 1/5 of my work week.  At least the other four newly purchased pants would make up for the one bad sheep of the pant flock. 

     Sadly, I could not have been more wrong.  Yes, every pair of pants were in next to new condition with few stains, rips and working zippers.  Of course!  Whoever had previously rented them had probably worn them just once before they were exchanged for pants that were fit for humans, not aliens, to wear! 

     On top of the lop-sided fitting pants, there were also the zippers that wouldn’t stay zipped, pockets without bottoms or pockets sewn shut at the top.  I could deal with my change sliding down my leg and sometimes dropping in my shoes.  I could handle not being able to put both of my hands into their respective pockets and I got in the habit of checking often for fallen zippers.  But what I could not get past was the idea that if I continued wearing such ill-fitting pants, I could be deformed on the back side for the rest of my life. 

     What did I do?  What could I do?  I endured till I wore those uniforms completely out and wouldn’t you know it?  Those were the ones that lasted me the longest in my working career. 

     Anyhow, this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

     Regarding my uniforms, did I mention they were USED TOO?

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