My parachute pants

Back when i was a middle schooler in the mean streets of Mahopac, N.Y., parachute pants were the thing.

You might remember. You might not. Plasticy. Lots of zippers. Myriad colors. All around the hallways of Mahopac Junior High, kids sports parachute pants. They weren’t merely a craze. They were the craze.

I however, was always afraid of crazes. I wasn’t the kid who followed trends. And it wasn’t because I thought I was too cool. In a way, it was the very opposite. I viewed myself as painfully uncool, and deemed any efforts to fit in as ones that would ultimately lead to life-threatening humiliation.

So …

Parachute pants were this thing. And I resisted and resisted and resisted. But they stuck around until, one day, I said to my mom, “I think I’d like some parachute pants.” So we went shopping. Probably to Marshall’s. There were two pairs that fit—black ones that were appropriately snug, silver ones that I’d grow into by (at the latest) my mid-30s.

“The black ones are too tight,” Mom said. “They won’t last a month.”

We purchased the silver ones.

That night, I went to the roller rink—clad in T-shirt and uber-baggy silver parachutes. My emotions were somewhere between euphoric and terrified. I felt like a cool kid. I felt like a fraud. I felt like a cool kid. I felt …

I saw this kid, Louie Hanner. He smiled at me.

“Hey, Pearlman,” he said, “your pants look like your legs are wearing tents.”

Chuckle.

Chuckle.

I went home.

I threw the pants in my closet.

I rediscovered them, oh 15 years later.

They were outstanding snow pants.

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