The book is a collection of newspaper columns from The Bergen Record, The Philadelphia Inquirer and several other papers I wrote for on a freelance basis. This was back in the day when newspapers had money for humor columnists. Although several years have passed since these were first in print, the same themes of clutter, chaos and minor catastrophes will keep you laughing - proving yet again that "La plus ca change, la plus c'est le stupid closet is still a mess."
I think you'll really like it, and as a special gift to all who read my blog, I am posting one of my favorite entries from the book here. Enjoy ... and thanks for reading me.
During the last days of summer I came across a magazine that someone had left lying around at the pool. It breathlessly declared all the fun fashion that awaited me this fall and spelled out the 971 absolute must-haves I would need for the coming months. Nine Hundred. Seventy One. Absolute. Must-Haves.
People, we’re talking an ABSOLUTE must have. In case you were thinking that you could sneak by with say, 450 might-haves, or 600 would-be-fun-to-haves, you are wrong. There are 971 absolute must-haves, and if you can’t manage that, well, what can I say? Just put on a bathrobe and drive off a cliff.
I don’t know which is more disturbing: the fact that the must-haves are absolute, or the fact that there are a staggering 971 of them. I wasn’t aware there were 971 things I wanted, let alone needed. I thought lists like this were relegated to a “top ten” type of deal. Just a fast pass at the basics. But apparently, while I’ve been losing elasticity and buying ill-fitting low riders without taking the time to try them on, the basics have been expanded.
Well, I thought, I’ll check my closet. Out of the 971 items, I may have 150 of the must-haves already. That would be a good start. Alas, upon checking, I did not have 150 must-haves. In fact, I don’t have 150 of anything. My grand total of wardrobe items hovers around 100. And that’s counting all shoes, belts and an evening gown I never wear.
I certainly do not have: Knee high calfskin boots in military green; a plaid wool bustier; a white velour fedora. What I do have is 12 don’t-really-fit-anymores, 5 has-underarm-stains, and 6 only-wear-on-thin-days. I am just not put together. Luckily, the magazine also offers me “237 looks I’ll live in.”
This is probably more looks than I need. I only have two looks that I live in now. One is the “I’m just at home with the kids today” look and the other is the “I’m going out to a meeting/dinner/party and this was the best I could do in the fifteen minutes I had between cleaning up for the babysitter and taking the dog out one last time” look.
Maybe I could up the ante to 25 looks I’ll live in. I comb the pages in search of a new me.
There are extra-long and luxurious scarves, and ultra wide leg pants, both of which look like they’d get caught in my minivan door. There is a short print dress that hits you mid-thigh, you know, the part where the thigh starts to get really fat, and you wear it with big, clunky boots. I can imagine myself thundering across the playground to corral a disobedient child as my butt flaps out enticingly from beneath the short hemline.
There are little vests and jaunty knit caps that evoke the bygone era of high style from the sitcom “One Day At A Time”. Have you gotten that look yet? ‘Cause that look is super important!
As I survey my clothes with a critical eye, I realize there is only one must-have I need - a comfortable and flattering pair of jeans. I am not sure what is going on with pants these days. They have all these classifications like classic rise, low rise, super low rise, mid rise, short rise. In practice, there are only two kinds of rise – one is so high you look like a dork and the other is so low that you can’t tuck a shirt in.
My must-have is a pair of pants that comes up higher than my fat roll but lower than my belly button. The waist would be snug, but not so tight that it makes my squishy tummy bulge out when I sit down. The rise would long enough so that when I bend down to tie a shoe I don’t feel a breeze across my backside, and I wouldn’t have to worry about my underwear peeking out. The look would be slimming from all directions. That’s what I call a must-have, and if I could find it, I’d buy 971 of them.