I’m seven. I’m bustin’ my little butt to second base in a game of wiffle ball that will go down in the annals of memorable Wilt Family reunions.
A distant, distant, oh so genetically distant relative, a huge oaf of a man with an overabundance of chromosomes and an underabundance of teeth, chases after me. When he goes for the tag my right leg somehow ends up in between his scissoring tree trunks of legs and ….SNAP!
I’m on the ground near second base staring up the trunk of an elm tree. Relatives stop talking about the weather long enough to say, “Did you hear that? It sounded like a chicken bone snapping.” And then they return to their conversation. “Mable Sue, how much rain did ya’ll get up north?”
My femur is broken and my leg begins to balloon.
I’m crying. I scream “you broke my leg, you broke my leg.” If I knew any profanity beyond “fart face” or “eye ball head” I would have used it.
My father tells me to walk it off as if “walking it off” would eliminate a week in the hospital and 8 weeks in a full-leg cast.
A card table is brought out as a litter and the paramedics in the family, happy to have some action at a family reunion, whisk me away in the back of a van. And this is where it gets ugly.
I’m wearing my favorite pair of Jam shorts. Jams are colorful, baggy shorts that dominated my summer wardrobe in the mid-80’s.
The scissors come out and they tell me they are going to have to cut off my shorts. Broken femurs heel, but a boy’s favorite pair of Jams don’t. I offer to take them off and they have none of it.
Snip, snip. My jams are dead.
This is the last I recall wearing Jams. They died as a fashion trend shortly after that. I miss them. Their bright-colored bagginess represents the “screw looks, I want comfort” school of fashion that I try to adhere to this very day. But I just can’t bring myself to wearing Jams anymore. Besides, I wouldn’t know wear to buy them, until now…
Jams are alive in well in Cambodia. It had been so long since I’ve see a pair that I almost didn’t recognize them, like meeting an old friend whose face you nearly forgot.
Check ‘em out.
Now, don’t those look comfy?
As thrilled as I am to see that Jams, and everything that they represent, live on in our world, there’s no way I’m buying a pair. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’ve been tainted by some sense of fashion. Or maybe, I remember the pain as I watched my favorite pair get cut in two and I don’t want to experience that again. Whatever the reason, I still love Jams. We had a good run…other than that one to second base.
Long Live the Jams!