Writers observe. It’s stock in trade. Sometimes, however, what there is to observe sitting on the patio of my favorite Quiznos Subs, makes me wonder how in the devil I’m ever going to write about that?
For instance, in my younger years, if we saw someone walking down the street talking out loud, we would naturally assume the person was a few bricks shy of a load. On the street, I’m forever turning to ask, “Are you talking to me?” only to see my best Robert DeNiro imitation elicit a disdainful scowl. Oh, the person is talking, all right. He has a gadget that looks a bit like my late great-grandfather’s hearing aid crammed in his ear, only Great-grandpa’s fit behind the ear. This one is stuck up over the ear where my generation used to carry a spare cigarette. I asked someone what it was, and he told me it was Blue Tooth hands free technology. Why anyone wants a blue tooth (or any other color tooth, for that matter) stuck in his ear escapes me. Well, come to think of it, I’ve enjoyed having my ear nibbled on a time or two.
I knew it was bound to happen when big time designers started coming out with underwear bearing (or should I say baring) their labels. I was walking down the sidewalk yesterday and couldn’t help but observe the guy walking in front of me. He was a good fifteen years beyond his teens, but I guess nobody told him. His jeans were down just under his buttocks and his entire butt was sticking out, proudly showing off his briefs with me and anybody else that happened to be looking. Why he would think we wanted to see is beyond my comprehension. In my day, we would die of mortification if the waistband of our Hanes or Jockeys happened to protrude above our belts.
While I was observing Mr. Wanna C. My Drawers, it reminded me of something. Took me a while to figure out what, though. Then it dawned on me. With those jeans worn down below the buttocks, the seat of the pants fell about knee level sort of satchel-like. Then I recalled my infant son, many years ago, waddling away, his diaper exposing his little Po Po, because of the disgusting load the diaper was carrying. Funny I should think of that.
Looking in almost any direction, I saw that young men today have disdained dress shirts and ties for headbands, T-shirts with faded slogans, rubber bracelets, leather necklaces with silver pendants of indeterminant design–all carefully arranged to accent the exposed underwear, I suppose. Maybe it’s just a backlash. Maybe the guys got tired of being the only half of the population covered up. I’ve seen more London and Stars on women lately than I care to. (If you don’t get the London and Stars reference, the jingle ended with “I see someone’s under drawers.”)
Of course I’m dating myself. I’m old. I’ve lived hard for the lines on my face and the sag in my jowls. I’ve enjoyed all those years, but have no desire to live them again–especially those parts that were down right difficult. My generation (what’s left of us) survived without a tooth in our ears and our underwear exposed to the world. And, yes, we had fun!