It is a sad day in the House of Quirk for today my oldest, softest, most loyal pair of jeans have officially died. They were a pair of Express jeans that I bought back in high school, which due to some mysterious loophole in the first law of thermodynamics*, continued to fit me even though I've climbed more than a few sizes since then. (My guess is that the cotton fibers had an almost superhuman quality to stretch and stretch and stretch. It's the only reason I can think of that an otherwise normal pair of jeans could go from fitting my skinny little high school self to my walking-to-classes-gave-me-the-thighs-muscles-of-the-Incredible-Hulk college days to my early married 20 lb jump). Still, these jeans went through it all. Sure, they had both knees ripped out (by use, not as a fashion statement), and paint splotches on them, and holes in the pockets, and some worn spots that were so thin that they were by definition transparent, but they were also REALLY REALLY soft. And faded in all the right places. And totally broken in. They were my workhorse jeans. Jeans you didn't care if you got messy in. Jeans that weeded flower beds and stained furniture and painted bathrooms and at the end of the day laughed and said, "Is that all you got?" And even though there was that little hole in the butt from the time that I was sliding along the roof to string Christmas lights and could therefore never wear them out in public without being fined for indecent exposure, the jeans knew that they were loved. And respected. And more than a little worn.
And so today, when it was rainy out and I had no errands to run and needed to climb behind the dryer to rescue that bottle of fabric softener that had fallen off the shelf last Tuesday, I turned to my faithful working jeans to help me get the job done. "Okay jeans," I told them. "We're going into dangerous territory today. The area is heavy guarded by dust bunnies and dryer lint fuzz, not to mention awkward to maneuver around. It's going to take some flexible twisting, and we're going to get linty". And the jeans never flinched. Just saluted and dove right in.
I'm not going to lie. It was bad back there. I've never seen so many dust bunnies. But my jeans had me covered (literally) and we were doing okay. That is, right up until I made the final lunge for the softener, and the jeans snagged a screw on the back of the dryer and went down in a hail of glory. RIIIIIIIPPPP! I tried to apply pressure as I inched my way back to safety (no jeans left behind, you know), but sadly the wound was too big, too gaping, and once the tear started, there was no stopping it. The entire right cheek gone in a matter of seconds. I told the jeans it would be okay. I told them that they could still be house jeans; that nothing had changed...that the rip just added character, but we both knew that it was a lie. They were less jeans and more in the way of chaps now, and even I can't work with that kind of draft on my derriere.
So goodbye to you, faithful jeans! We honor you for your many (many, many) years of service to the cause. Through good and bad, thick and thin, yard mowing and manure spreading, we salute you! May your final resting place be peaceful, and may you always feel the warmth of the dryer in your denim.
*That's the one about matter not being created, which makes no sense because I swear these jeans magically adjusted from, "Someday I'll have some curves" to "Good Heavens! This is more than just junk in my trunk...this is the entire U-haul!"