Laura told me very plainly the other day not to wear that pair of old work pants with the big rip in the seat.
My male brain thought this meant that she would be embarrassed if someone saw me with them on, but I should have known that her wisdom and powers of foresight were much more astute than my own.
Sometimes men make decisions based on their current testosterone level and it gets them in trouble. Example: She says, “Don’t pick up that tree limb, it’s too heavy.” He tries to pick it up anyway and lands in the emergency room with a guy in a white coat telling him to drop his pants and cough.
So I foolishly disobeyed her and put the damaged pants on to do some weed eating chores. My logic for the decision was twofold:
1) I’m just going out here in the back and no one will see me and
2) The fresh air that flows through the hole will keep my backside cool.
I don’t suppose my philosophical powers are on par with Aristotle, but it made sense to me.
Anyway I started in on the weeds and was making nice progress when I began to feel some biting action on the upper, upper part of my legs. Turns out that I had churned into a fire ant bed and after flinging them all over me they had found easy access to my buttocks through the big gap in my britches. A nifty little dance ensued as I tried to beat, scratch, and flick the little devils away from the nether regions of my body.
It ultimately required a strip down to complete the task, but I finally repelled the invasion. Nobody witnessed the event but my mind flashed back to what Laura had said.
“Don’t wear those pants.”
I continued the work of beautifying our yard and in my desire to do a thorough job decided to go up on the main road to clean up a fence row. The hole in my pants was long forgotten and I was now in a position to be seen by passing neighbors in my disgraceful state of undress. I was oblivious to this fact and that slip of memory would soon cause me some more problems.
(I pause momentarily here to point out that this was a king sized hole in the pants that adorned my backside. I would conservatively estimate that the amount of light that it let in would have been enough to grow a large tomato plant.)
At this point in the story I have become a public spectacle happily running my weed eater and enjoying my built-in air conditioner. Cars are passing by and getting an eyeful every time I bend over. Usually one of the neighbors will stop and chat a little when I’m working out there but strangely on this day no one did. In retrospect I’m sure that they were either embarrassed or afraid of me. It probably didn’t help that I had taken my shotgun out there and propped it up on the fence in case some varmint showed up.
Small towns are notorious for their gossip grapevines. Stories get changed around and details get distorted. By the time the rumor of my escapades reached town, was expanded upon, and circulated back out to Buckhead (which took about two hours) the gist of the story went something like this: Coach Richardson was seen this morning in his front yard buck naked, running a weed eater and occasionally discharging a firearm. The poor guy has finally gone over the edge.
Oh, the charm of small-town America.
The preacher called soon afterward and inquired as to my health and state of mind. I informed him that I had never felt better except for a few ant bites I’d accidentally received while working in the yard. He said he would put me on the prayer list nonetheless.
When word of my slip into a demented state reached Laura she instantly put it all together and sagely said, “I told you not to wear those pants.”
For you guys the moral of the story is this: Always listen to your wife and do what she says (unless she tells you to stay home and run the weed eater instead of going fishing.)
Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.