Benjamin Franklin is often credited with saying something to the effect that death and taxes are the only certainties in life. Or was that Mark Twain? Actually, I think both of them are famous for saying some such thing at one time or another. In any case, it’s a familiar quote referring to two issues most of us would rather not dwell on, unless you’re a millionaire.
For my money, though, shopping also belongs on the short list of things to be dodged.
It’s boring. Apparently, I’ve always thought so.
I don’t remember doing it, but my mom is still mad over the time she took me to a furniture store when I was a little kid and I walked around kicking every chair, table and sofa as hard as I could. I guess it was my way of protesting. Or, at least, amusing myself.
Although, Mom never took me shopping again (giving me what I wanted), I’m paying for my behavior to this day. Mom has a long memory.
These days, it’s not just boredom that keeps me out of the stores. It’s more that I don’t need the reminder of how wide I’m getting. But my hand was forced the other day because of a wardrobe malfunction.
I discovered it when I pulled out what I thought were my only decent pair of jeans. They passed the sniff test and so seemed fairly clean. After a quick visual inspection for stains, though, I noticed a hole opening up in an unseemly place.
I’m used to holes in my jeans. I’ve got several pair that are so threadbare that there are big gaping holes in the knees.
But the hole I discovered in my good jeans was an entirely different matter. It was in the crotch.
“Great,” I said to my wife who was busy collecting laundry (which would probably go first on her list of things to avoid, way ahead of death and taxes). “These are the only jeans I have that are even close to being acceptable. Now …,” I said, holding them up so she could get a close look.
She suggested I go shopping, as if it wasn’t a big deal.
Eventually, I did. But these things require careful planning.
First, I waited for a rainy day. Then, instead of heading to an indoor mall, I drove to the outlet mall in Hagerstown. I figured the chilly rain would keep most of the other shoppers at the indoor mall, allowing me to get in and out of the outdoor one with little trouble.
I was right and everything was going according to plan until the store clerk overheard me grumbling about how expensive jeans are these days. She helpfully led me to the sale rack but then headed straight to where the bigger jeans hung.
She raised her eyebrows when I cleared my throat and mumbled that I didn’t think she’d be able to find my size there. Then, I ended up buying the more expensive pair of jeans, hoping she wouldn’t notice they were the same size as the pair she had attempted to show me on sale.
When I got home, I made the mistake of leaving my new jeans out in the open. My wife found them, held them up to her waist and said, “Look at how huge these are!”
To illustrate the point, our ten-year-old daughter tried them on. If they had come equipped with a ripcord, she could have gone skydiving in them.
Despite the ribbing, I guess getting a new pair of jeans was worth it. They better last, though, because, if shopping didn’t top death and taxes on my list of things to avoid before, it does now.