The shorts I put on when I wake up in the morning

When I wake up in the morning, I put on something I can wear out to the curb. So I don’t have to go back upstairs before I take out the trash or the recycling or water the window boxes or check the groundhog trap or do whatever else I may have to do outside before finishing my coffee and checking my messages and reading the paper and going back upstairs to get ready for work.

I rarely sleep in anything curb-worthy, so I pull on my orange shorts. That’s the key: I can pull them on. No zippers or buttons or snaps to fumble with in my sleep-addled stupor. That’s because my orange shorts are actually swimming trunks. I don’t swim in them anymore, though, not since the first time I wore them at a party on Canandaigua lake, attended by family and friends, when I discovered they become virtually transparent when wet. Yeah, that was a little embarrassing.

And because they are swimming trunks with a “built-in inner brief”, it’s almost impossible to accidentally put them on inside out. Which makes me think of the dictator’s decree in Woody Allen’s “Bananas:” that all residents of the Republic of San Marcos are to wear their underwear on the outside so that the government can easily check to make sure it’s clean.

Okay, so I wear old clothes. We’re all products of our past; clothes are just part of it. Clothes and books and carpets and facial wrinkles. You should see my car. My daughter says no one really changes. I would add; if we appear to change over time, it’s just that we’re becoming more of what we were to begin with. So why fight it? Proudy wear that threadbare tattersall shirt, save all those cards and letters, let your hair – what’s left of it – go gray. Keep the old cherry table that used to be your father’s and polish the hell out of it once a year, whether it needs it or not.

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