My waist size and height total 110 inches, just as they have for years. Nothing has changed.
Well, that’s sort of true. The total hasn’t changed, but that’s a little misleading. The numbers have. That became clear last Saturday when I decided it was time to clean out my closet.
The rod that holds my clothes was sagging from the weight of too much stuff accumulated in the more than four years we’ve lived in our house in New Albany. After buying a couple of new pairs of pants with money I had gotten for my birthday last month, I discovered there really was no place to hang them.
No problem, I said to myself. I’m sure if I go through and try on everything, I’ll find some shirts and pants that either have gone out of style or are worn out.
The first thing I tried on was a pair of olive worsted-wool trousers that I hung at the far end because I considered them too nice to wear day-to-day at work. The waist closure was at least two inches from coming together.
“I guess my waistline has expanded since I bought these several years ago,” I said to myself. Then I looked down. My trouser cuffs were dragging on the floor.
How could this be? I knew I had had them cuffed at just the right length at the store when I bought them.
I tried on another pair of pants I had had quite a while. And another. Same problem. They dragged on the floor.
Then it hit me. I must have shrunk. I’ve been six feet tall ever since I was an adult. It’s been right there on my driver’s license since I was in the Army in the late 1960s.
There’s something about being six feet tall. Somehow, a shade over 5 feet 10 inches just doesn’t have the same panache.
Over the next couple of hours, I piled up two suits, a sport coat, a half-dozen shirts and 17 pairs of pants for the Salvation Army. Four of the pants were pretty well worn, and another three or four were that slick microfiber (the modern name for polyester, I guess) that I don’t like. But most would work just fine if I were both taller and skinnier. But I’m not, and I’m not likely to be.
The last thing I added to the pile was a tuxedo I bought a dozen years ago when we were living in South Carolina. The community where we were living had several black-tie events each year that, as editor of the paper, I was obligated to attend.
I didn’t even try it on. I don’t have a reason to keep it, and I didn’t really want to know how much my waist size has expanded in those dozen years.
It was a depressing afternoon, but with any luck, I won’t need to clean out my closet for a long time.
And to the guy who ends up with my pants: I hope you’re not too attached to being six feet tall. One day, you won’t be.
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached at 662-634-6321 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.