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Daze of My Life: Weight Not, Want Not

Daze of My Life
Weight Not, Want Not

I'm not in denial, though I do realize denial is more than just a river in Egypt. But the fact that both my father's and my older brother's clothes (having been handed down) are too tight for me now is somewhat perplexing; well, difficult to swallow.
As the second in succession and third in the pecking order (father, first born, second born), I always felt smaller, sort of. Not exactly less empowered or insecure in my place in the family, and/or the world for that matter, but let's face it, third of three means last, and generally speaking, those of us that aspire, don't aspire to last. And clothes never really mattered to me anyway but ... .
Moreover, since my relative position was unintentional, I didn't take it personally. Nevertheless, water does flow downhill and "babies of the family" (yours truly) don't usually inherit the same responsibilities as the first born, all familial dynamics and associations/relationships being equal. Still, I don't believe I was raised any differently than my brother was. I wasn't neglected. I wasn't deprived. I wasn't second best. I just wasn't first. As such, I was accustomed, and not at all put off, by certain rights and privileges that accrued to my brother. Nor was I the least bit distressed by the receipt of previously worn clothing frequently handed down to me by my brother, Richard, and on occasion, from my father, as well.
If I recall, and it has been a few years, I rather felt fortunate to have such a steady flow of "new"--to me anyhow--clothes. It seemed to reflect the natural order of things. Nothing more, nothing less. In fact, I looked upon the receipt of these clothes as my birthright. I never viewed there arrival as a negative; to me, they were a positive. No one else in my family received hand-me-downs, only me. I felt special, or I was made to feel special.
And perhaps it was that "special" feeling that prevented me from ever feeling the least bit, least. After all, I was always, well, seasonally, receiving some item of clothing (underwear and socks not included) that was useful and relatively intact. And this trend has continued, for years, even as my older brother and I reached middle age and my father reached retirement. And for many of these years, whenever I was offered their hand-me-downs, shirts and pants mostly, I was most happy to oblige and, the clothing almost always fit. Until recently, that is. Why the change? What could have possibly happened after all these years? My father and brother are still older--and bigger (in my eyes, anyway)--than me. We're still living the same sort of lives as we ever have, all things considered, so why, all of a sudden, do they have clothes to hand down that I can no longer button up or zip up? Either they're shrinking or I'm growing or both or neither. It's a dilemma to be sure. Whatever the cause, I don't like it. Because now, I have to buy all my own clothes, and if there's one thing I hate, other than spinach, it's shopping for clothes with or without my wife Dina.
Maybe if the clothes I tried on ever fit, I wouldn't mind the excruciating ordeal that such pursuits have become, but that occurrence is so rare, avoiding it seems the only logical approach. I imagine that losing a few pounds probably wouldn't kill me, either, and might even change the course of history that I'm presently spiraling on but so too would it help to find a store that caters specifically to someone like me: overweight and underdressed.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.

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