Out of the Closet

Barbara and I live in a very nice two-bedroom apartment with a lovely view of Saks Fifth Avenue as we sit on our balcony and look across the street. If, however, we look to our right, there is an equally lovely view of an exclusive nursing home and assisted living facility. We have lived here a fairly long time. The nursing home has started to send us invitations to come take a look.

When we first moved in, the apartment space was fine and everything had a place. Not so much anymore. Our “things” seem to have grown. Much like us. I am pretty sure our “things” are having sex and multiplying faster than we realize. I am not quite sure what the gestation period is for a throw pillow. Even the storage locker that our building provides is bulging at the seams. We have been told by the fire inspectors that we had to reduce the amount of its content. I figure if we just wait long enough, the fire will take care of that problem.

We have decided that it just might be time for us to sift through all of the junk that we have accumulated over the years and see if there are a few things that we can get rid of. The problem is that Barbara and I cannot seem to agree on what is junk and what is treasure.

For some reason I have what can only be considered a psychological phobia that prevents me from getting rid of old clothing. I kid you not, I still have suits and other clothing that I bought about the time my kids were born, back in the early 80’s. The goal, of course, is to one-day fit back into them. The problem with that plan, aside from the obvious, is that even if I found some way to cut my body to one quarter of its current size, the clothes are so out of fashion that they make Nehru jackets and Parachute pants look cool. And, yet, I can’t seem to part with them.

Back in the late 1990s I went to the Cleveland Indian’s fantasy baseball camp. (Ask me about how I led the camp in RBIs and finished 4th in batting average!) While there, I purchased a pair of gym shorts (do people still call them that?) with the Indian’s Chief Wahoo logo. Well, 18 years later, although they were ripped, stained, too long and probably smelly, I was still wearing them to bed. (Barbara says I can eliminate the word “probably” from that sentence.) I had actually pulled these shorts OUT of the trash on more than one occasion after Barbara and/or my kids tried to get rid of them.

To me, the Indians shorts, being only 18 years old, were just getting to the point of being properly broken in. (Am I right, guys??) To Barbara, they were at the point of being an excuse for her to make me sleep in the spare bedroom.

So, under the duress and pressure put on me by the women in my life, a few months ago I called them all together and we held a memorial service for the shorts. I then permitted them to place the shorts in a trash bag and throw them into the garbage chute. A truly unfitting end for such a worthy garment. (The video is available upon request.)

My favorite shorts now being history, I assumed that Barbara and the kids would be satisfied and would stop complaining about my wardrobe. Never assume. They immediately set their sights on my favorite T-shirts. I have still not figured out why the T’s would become a target simply because the shirts have holes in them and they are yellowed to the point that Clorox has obtained a restraining order preventing us from adding its product to the wash.

Anyway, one recent weekend, with Barbara out of town, I decided it was a good time to clean out my portion of the bedroom closet. The first part, I figured, would be super-easy since my daughters, Allison and Stephanie, had previously made reference to the fact that they found the look of a guy In jeans and a button down, short-sleeved shirt fashionably reprehensible. (Both girls live in New York City and Barbara is from NYC. All are card carrying member of the “Fashion Police” so I take their comments on style seriously, least I be forced to watch multiple episodes of “Project Runway.”)

Given the fact that I had, just 12 months earlier, in preparation for my trip to Italy with Barbara, purchased about a dozen button down, short-sleeved shirts that were still hanging in the closet, I knew exactly where I would start the purge of my clothing.

I started to take the short-sleeved shirts off of their hangers and all of a sudden I stopped. I couldn’t do it. What if we plan another trip and the trip is to someplace where button-down, short-sleeved shirts with jeans is considered really cool? I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Brazil recently and saw delegations from some countries I had never heard of before in my life. Maybe the people in those unknown countries think button-down, short-sleeved shirts are “the bomb.” Hell, I could instantly become the Brad Pitt of Kiribati or the Elton John of Djibouti, (Yes, you can insert your own joke here.) Back on their hangers and back into the closet.

I next turned to my stock of jeans. For some reason, every time I walk into Costco, I feel the need to buy another pair of jeans. Little did I know, until my kids took me jean shopping in New York for my birthday, that you can actually buy jeans that fit properly.

I never knew they made “slim-fit” and “skinny” jeans for men. Neither did I know that I could actually fit into “slim-fit” or “skinny” jeans for men. (Of course, I saw some pants with 46 or 48 inch waists that were marked “slim-fit” so, I’m not really sure how valid the tag is!) Apparently, there was no need for all of my jeans to have enough room in the leg for the entire Latvian shot-put team. Now that I could get jeans that fit correctly, it should be easy to get rid of the dozen or so pairs that don’t, right? Not so fast, Usain Bolt.

What if I put on weight and can’t continue to squeeze into these “slim-fit” jeans? So, I came up with an alternative way to save room. I got some of those multi-hang hangers where you can put five or six pairs of pants on them (and, because I don’t believe in boundaries, I have about eight pairs on each hanger) and I simply moved them to the closet in the spare bedroom! Then I went out and bought six new pairs of “slim-fit” jeans. So now, instead of having less clothing in the apartment, I have added to what was already there.

Barbara told me about some “trick” where you are supposed to turn all the hangers in your closet that are holding clothes, the reverse way and then, as you wear an article of clothing, you are supposed to turn the hanger the other way. At the end of the year, any clothing on a hanger that is still facing the “reversed” way is supposed to be discarded because you haven’t worn them. I have decided to give it a try. At the rate I am currently wearing my clothing, at the end of the year, given my attachment to a very select number of items, I should have about eight articles of clothes that I will keep.

And they will likely all be items that Barbara and the kids hate.