It is time to tell the story of the women's pants.
It starts with a political movement, which is a good deal like a bowel movement, minus the satisfaction. It was called "NOT ONE DAMN DIME DAY." It came to me by e-mail. It was supposed to cripple the economy, which, apparently, is the only way to bring innocent Iraqis back to life. It might even bring back the Saddam Hussein magical mystery tour. I had to at least consider it.
Not one damn dime. Underground, baby. They had me at "not."
Most of the planning was easy. Whereas I live a contemplative, almost monastic life, stopping the simple spending was, well, simple. But I'm nothing if not thorough. Not one dime, they said. And they meant it.
Not one damn dime for credit cards, which I payed off so as not to accrue interest on the 20th. Hope you all did the same. And the mortgage--more interest. Payed that off as well, knowing there was a movement behind me doing likewise. Called PG&E, told them to shut off my power for the day. But they left me uncertain as to whether or not they could honor my request. And the PCWA. (Water isn't free!) They said, "just don't use it." Which made sense, but took all the wind out of the symbolism. Or the symbolism out of the wind. Or both. Still, I was on a roll. This was not going to be some empty gesture. I asked the IRS if they would kindly hold off on taxing me for the paycheck I was to receive by direct deposit on the 20th, but they would have none of it.
So I decided to forget it. I'm an all or nothing kind of guy. If I can't go all the way with something, then never mind. I went to work Thursday wishing that futility was more convenient.
But then something magical happened: Women's Pants. I had discovered this really great pair of pants by Dickies. A delicious cut. Very sexy. I purchased them straightway and took them home. But as I tried them on, I realized: My ass looks way hot in these pants. Too hot. I had to wonder what was up. I noticed there were no back pockets. Only when my brain at length gave up on figuring out how people can live in a world of pocketless pants did I realize my error. Without further thought, I lamented the loss of the pants, and decided to give them to my hot wife.
Thursday morning, I was down about not being able to participate in the protest. I was envying all those who were somehow able to live up to the high ideals of mass forwarded e-mail activism. The pants seemed to speak to me: "If sexy clothes can't cheer you up, nothing can." So I decided to wear them. Caution to the wind. Total freedom. A little protest of my own. Why should the ladies get all the great gear? So I put them on, and went to work--feeling sassy, even though I KNEW that all my beloved brother and sister protesters where skipping work that day, so as not to enable or necessitate the exchange of ONE DAMN DIME.
Work was blah blah blah as usual.
The magic happened on the way home.
I stopped for a treat. (All the compliments I got on the pants had made me a little hungry.) I put it on the counter and reached for my wallet. But there was no wallet. There was not even a pocket wherein to place a wallet. Only a perfectly cradled and lusciously framed buttock. The irony hit me right away. Here I was, thumbing my nose at the protest, forced to participate in it by my own escapism. My participation was minor, but the solidarity I felt with really unhappy people all over the country surged in my veins. This was not a day to go down quietly. Our voices would be heard.
On any other day I might have simply lied to the clerk and said I forgot my wallet.
But not this day.
I thought of all the money he had taken in from all the fat cats and war mongers that had come through the 7-11. I looked him in the eye, and said, in a voice loud enough for everyone in the store to hear:
"Sorry. I can't make this purchase. Not today. You see, I don't have my wallet." I turned and lifted my shirt, showing him my pocketless rear. "THESE ARE WOMEN'S PANTS! THEY DON'T HAVE POCKETS!"
I left that store with my head held high, feeling--no, KNOWING--
I made a difference.