Teeth, Eyes, Hair, Jeans, and the Cleaners: A Curmudgeon’s Rant Gone South

Begun Thursday, May 18. Finished this afternoon.

i should be finishing up Chapter 2 of my serial A Tale of the Sea and Me (For Sam). i should be posting a Democrat column from my “Notes from the Southwest Corner.” i should be posting another “Murphy’s Law” guffaw. i should be activating my new bluetooth transponder so i can play my ancient non-bluetooth devices, like phonograph players, CD players, cassettes, and eventually reel-to-reel tapes — as i disdain using Apple music or others because i want to listen to my music, not what they think i would like to hear. i should be organizing stuff in my garage, clothes closet, and garage. i should be cleaning and polishing my shoes. i should be cleaning the interior of my car, close to the last U.S. non-sports car with a standard transmission.

But no.

The seemingly unending string of curmudgeonly thoughts loosely tied together kept coming. It began when i saw a beautiful young woman…except she had fake eyelashes. To keep it nice, i will say like she looked like an anime from some video, but not pretty. Definitely not as attractive as she would have been with her natural lashes.

From that thought, it was easy to move to my great dislike of women, young or old, wearing jeans that cost absurd amounts of money with torn sections, which my mother would have fixed with patches. But i’ve ranted about that enough.

My travels took me to the cleaners, a return trip. A day earlier, i had retrieved two pairs of dockers pants, one blue and one khaki. When i got home, i discovered the blue trousers had been pressed with the crease in the traditional front, but the khakis had been pressed with the crease, if you can call it that, along the seam. i queried the woman at the counter. She explained the khakis were considered “casual” and that meant they should not have a crease.

i noticed a bunch of folks, young and old, but not as old as me with hair different than what was natural. Men had corn rows, toupees, or shaved sides, or shoulder length, or, heaven forbid, man buns. The women expanded on that and both had the colors of the rainbow, their choice. Remember when hair was black, brown, blonde, or auburn (remember auburn?). Nearly all had tattoos somewhere, often many wheres.

i was about to explode into damning all artificialities on or added to our body parts. Then i thought about my teeth and my friends.

You see, when i was nine, i took a header off my bike onto the sidewalk while on the way to a baseball game. That is a long story, but the short story is half of one of two front teeth was no longer part of my dental makeup. At the time, dental cosmetics had not reached its zenith and for about seven years or so, i had one silver front tooth — why am i thinking of “The Ballad of Cat Ballou.”

But my best friend, and my second best friend growing up fixed that in the winter of my junior year in high school. Henry and Jim, aka Beetle, and i went out to a frozen pond in February to skate or something, without skates of course. We would run through the snow to the pond’s edge and jump with the goal of making it to the other side standing up and unscathed. Somewhere in this endeavor, i did not make it to the other side and took another header, this time on the rough ice of the pond.

i got rid of that silver tooth…and what remained of the original one. Henry and Beetle deposited on the front steps of my house. i think my mother realized the real culprit and never chastised the Harding boys. The good news i got a bridge with a tooth that looked pretty good. For someone totally void of compassion, i delighted the next week when playing in a JV basketball game, the kid guarding me left the court to throw up because he was staring at a face with a tooth missing and scars that arched from his mouth up to his ears on both sides, looking like a small version of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

Then, this guy pulled out into an intersection, ignoring the stop sign around midnight and i caught him flush with my Volvo, Another front tooth bit the dust…or rather bit the steering wheel, and the bridge was then for two.

And while i was executive officer aboard USS Yosemite, a cook from the wardroom mess brought me a fresh pear. i was pleased, leaned back in my office chair and took a bite. The pear was so fresh, it was hard. When i bit into it and tried to pry it from my front teeth, i was successful in pulling out the bridge and one of the anchor teeth along with the pear.

That’s three.

Then after retiring a piece of food, in spite of my flossing, hung up in crevasse next to an anchor tooth. the anchor tooth eroded.

So now i have four false teeth in front, held in place by that bridge.

i then considered all of my friends. There are very few who haven’t had some body part replacement, knee, shoulder, hip, ankles, etc.

Therefore, i think it might be a tad hypocritical for me to rant about artificial body parts. Because without such medical marvels, i would make Billy the Kid look like a dentist office ad.

During all of this deep thought, i picked up my pants at the cleaners. When i got home i discovered they were pressed along the seam without a crease in front. When i returned to our cleaners, i asked why. It seems my pants are “casual pants” that do not get a crease in the front. i’m guessing i’m supposed to go out with women who wear torn jeans that cost around $200.

It is not happening. My wife will not wear torn jeans.

And so, i must admit, i am a relic. i no longer can fit in. i am fine with that. i don’t recall any phase in my life where i really fit in.

But i do regret what we have lost. Remember back when (for those that can). We dressed up every Sunday and for any big event. We wore shirts and ties and no one, no one wore sneakers — in fact, you only wore sneakers on athletic courts. We didn’t go out without our shirts tucked in. Women wore skirts and looked great, attractive but not suggestive.

I think we took more pride in how we looked. We didn’t go for easy and relaxed. We went for pride in ourselves…i think.

Either is not bad i guess. But i am from a different place and a different time. i’m sort of glad my momma sewed patches on the torn parts of my jeans, that i don’t look like Billy the Kid with fewer teeth, and folks, i gotta let you know you will never see me with false eyelashes.

9 thoughts on “Teeth, Eyes, Hair, Jeans, and the Cleaners: A Curmudgeon’s Rant Gone South

  1. Any post that contains the word “curmudgeon” has my undivided attention and a grin from ear to ear 😁.
    It’s a word that is under used and you gave me a “two-fer’ by nailing our generation in your usual talented way 👍

    1. Thanks, Patsy. You should be proud of my Friday Morning Golf friends, We consider it an honor and have designated Marty Linville our Grand Whiner.

  2. I’m back there with you… paying for tears in jeans!! Never! A wonderful read… thank you.

  3. My husband & I were in fashion retail for over 40 years. We retired on the rewards from selling jeans from bell bottoms to stonewashed to ripped. Personally, I refuse to wear torn jeans. However, my husband wears them all the time, even to church. He refers to them as his”hol(e)y jeans.

  4. My husband & I were in fashion retail for over 40 years. We retired on the rewards from selling jeans from bell bottoms to stonewashed to ripped. Personally, I refuse to wear torn jeans. However, my husband wears them all the time, even to church. He refers to them as his”hol(e)y jeans.

    1. i hope i didn’t upset you with my comments about jeans, but i am an old goat and wish you could have sold dresses and skirts instead of jeans. But nowadays you would likely have gone broke. i’m glad you didn’t.

  5. Love all the reminiscences and the reflective thoughts of yesteryear. I always enjoy reading your posts, Jim. Thinking about being seasick – I believe I told you that Horace bailed out of the Navy ROTC program at Tulane after spending his summer cruise hanging over the railing of a tin can in the North Atlantic. And he absolutely hated to barf ever since childhood.

    1. Thanks once again, David. Yes, i recall your story of Horace and sea sickness. i think it’s sad folks prone to sea sickness cannot enjoy the beauty of being at sea.

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