Life Beyond Jeans...in which Uncle Duke despairs beyond words


In case you were wondering, I intend to live until such time as I begin looking ridiculous in blue jeans. I don't know when that time will be, but I believe that I will know it when I see it.

It is my opinion that I am not there yet. Do not correct me if I am wrong here. My life-support systems would not support it. The bells and whistles in my identity quadrants would begin to clang and blare, and it is likely I would never leave the house again. For one thing, I would have no pants to wear.

I have seen it in others, as have we all, and it is pretty horrific. Generally, there are other factors involved. Those geriatric athletic shoes for one. Those orthopedic-correction sneakers, the ones that look like ankle-high snow boots with rubber soles. Bedroom slippers with treads. Those things.

Then there are the sun hats with the little under-the-chin, loop thingie to keep them from blowing off and saving everyone the embarrassment of seeing a geezer chasing down his hat in a stiff but irregular breeze. I have seen this too many times on You-tube. And I am NEVER AMUSED!!

But it’s the jeans in the ensemble that really set off the alarm. Somehow pants--regular pants, normal pants--that don't fit are perfectly acceptable on old guys. Understandable. Things change after all. It’s very forgivable. Legitimately, there is some bodily rearranging going on as the structural requirements change. You borrow a little excessive flesh or whatever from this area over here and put it over there. As body parts get shifted and moved around, there is both addition and subtraction at work here. Those of us in the engineering field call it The Rules of Entropy. Rule #1) All things change. Rule #2) Not for the better.

Clothes just don't fit the way they used to. So belts are not necessarily parallel to the ground anymore. And the cuffs kind of flop over the shoes and drag the ground a bit. “It’s all OK, Gramps. You look fine.”

But somehow the affect with jeans is not so acceptable. With jeans there is an assumed retention of ‘youthfulness’. Or, to borrow and paraphrase Stephen Colbert, ‘youthiness’. There is an attempted identification with ‘cool’. We are on the outer edges, granted. Not ‘hip’ certainly. Not ‘trendy’. But we are indeed making a statement that we are in the state of prolonged youth. We may not be wearing the Slim Cut, but we are retaining an association with many people much younger than ourselves who also wear jeans. We are calling ourselves ‘ageless’. In a relative sense. We are arguing that we are still on the ‘cool’ spectrum. At least for now.

But there is a point in time in which this illusion crumbles. You will not notice it in hair styles necessarily. The slick, bald look can carry you with some flair and panache well into your 80s. Putting your ballcap on backwards may provide some diversion. Tattoos, earrings and a motorcycle will sometimes buy you a few years. But eventually your jeans will betray you. There is a saggy look to them that pronounces loudly and rudely that ‘cool’ has abandoned you. And your days of youthiness are well behind you.

Generally for the reason that there is no butt behind you. Jeans are for men with butts. Without a good, firm keister, you might as well be wearing a pony-tail wig and a Nehru jacket. They don't work. Sorry. When your jeans fit you like a pair of bib overalls without the bib, you’ve been outed. You need a solid caboose to hold those Levi’s in place. Without a good set of glutes, you might as well be hanging them on the back of a chair. You can work around a belly, but without a boodle to anchor them, you’re jean toast.

Here’s the deal. When your jeans fit you like they were made for a man much taller and huskier than you are but you just cut them off at your shoe tops and think they look just fine, you’re an old guy impersonating a more vibrant, athletic, virile life form. Take ’em off. Hand ’em in. Now go put on your cargo shorts and suspenders and make the best of it, Amos.

So I have this life-expectancy limit. I'm not sure how I will activate the Life gizmo, but there must be a fail-safe device that you can trigger when you understand that you’ve reached unplanned obsolescence. It's good to know your limits.

I will tolerate senility. I have been a part-time, unpaid practitioner for a number of years now. Joint pain and incontinence, ditto. Hearing impaired, digitally compromised--check, check. I can tolerate all the above and function fairly well in that limited capacity. But when I start looking like a dancing bear in blue jeans, take me out, gentlemen. Roll me over and in. Cash me in for what you can, boys. I’m ready to go.