Against the wind

June 5, 2016 § 26 Comments

“Hairy legs in a sport where hirsuteness is a crime against humanity. Wearing a 3-year-old skinsuit from your old team which no longer exists in a sport where any self-respecting club has an annual winter kit, summer kit, and a ‘cross kit. Then to top it off, refusing to raise your hands on the podium. EVERYONE raises their hands on the podium. You’re a contrarian,” Derek said.

“No, I’m not,” I replied.

About six years ago I bought a pair of jeans because my other pair didn’t work any more. The new jeans were super expensive even though I got them on sale for $37.99 plus tax. I am pretty easy on clothes because they have to last, but finally these jeans broke down, too, in the knee.


Wardrobe malfunction.

Usually when things break down I take them to Boozy P., my ace mechanic, but since he mostly does SRAM wireless and Di2 setups, this manual job looked like it might not be in his wheelhouse. [Note to self: What is a wheelhouse?]

I remembered what used to happen growing up in Houston when you tore your jeans. You got a patch, that’s what. There were three different kinds, dark denim, medium denim, and light denim because you tried to match the patch with the color of the jeans. My mom used to iron those suckers on and they worked pretty well. Since we were kids we tore our jeans everywhere, not just in the knee. Butt tears, side rips, one time I even got a rip up through the crotch. Didn’t matter, you were getting a patch.

Of course once you had worn through the patch you generally got a new pair of jeans, which wasn’t much fun because they were hard and stiff and took forever to break in. In those days the waists were high and would gouge you in the stomach when you bent over. New jeans hurt as bad as new shoes.

Anyway, I got online and ordered myself a patch. I wasn’t going to spend another $37.99 plus tax on a perfectly good pair of jeans when I could go to and get me a patch  for $2.50 and they would be good as new.

After I’d ordered the patches but before they’d arrived, Mrs. WM and I were in the car together. She looked at my torn knee. “Thatsa nice,” she said.

I figured she was being sarcastic except she doesn’t have a sarcastic bone in her chicken. “What is?”

“Thatsa onna your knee all tear hole. Thatsa nice.”

Now I was pretty sure she was making fun of me. “Don’t worry,” I said, “I ordered a patch for it.”

“A what?”

“A patch. A knee patch. One of those iron-on dealies.”

“How come you patchin’ onna pants? Thatsa fashion days now.”

“What is?”

“Tear holes onna knee. Boys payin’ top dolla gettin’ big holes.”

“That sounds wrong,” I said.

“Itsa right,” she said. “Boys payin’ thirty dolla or three hundred for old ragged pantsy hole, tore up the leg and down and up again so much holes old droopsy balls hangin’ out. You better not patch that old jeans. That cheap old jeans you paid for $37.99 plus tax now with that old ugly color and tear hole you can flea market eighty dolla.”

“I’m not wearing any holes with clothes on them. I’m patching the bastard, I don’t care how much people pay. Anybody wants to see my old droopsy bags hangin’ out they’re going to have to make an appointment.”

Finally the patches came and my daughter looked at them but never said a word. “Would you?” I asked.

She nodded, and smiling went to work. First she applied an inner patch, then ironed on the knee patches, then sewed them with matching thread to make sure they stayed in place. With her head bent she carefully went about her work.When she finished she handed them to me. “Do you like it?”


Mrs. WM was not amused. “Thatsa awful and you tossed away eighty dolla. Nobody buy them jeans now, just lookin’ like a crazy pants. How come you always doin’ a opposite thing? How come you gotta head from hard wood? How come you gotta be goin’ always in the wind?”

“They were sewed on with care by someone who loves me. They’re my Coat of Many Colors,” I said.


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§ 26 Responses to Against the wind

  • Barbara Radnofsky says:

    I read the opening and thought, now Seth is going to share more poetry with us. And I got to the end and thought, So glad that he did.

  • 900aero says:

    I sympathise entirely. Good jeans are not to be taken lightly or thrown away prematurely.

    I have a wonderful uncle who used to patch mine whenever I visited, much to my aunt’s dismay as I don’t think he sewed much else. He would often add a signature flourish like a small embroidered aeroplane (he’d been a pilot in the war), usually somewhere inappropriate. Some pairs ended up more repair than denim but they all faded eventually. I wish I’d hung onto at least one pair, the old guys on his last legs now and has long since repaired his last pair of jeans.

    (Apologies for the personal anecdote hijack – hope you don’t mind).

  • LesB says:

    Those smiley faces will temper your edge when you go to blast the Traffic Endangerment Committee out of the water.

  • dangerstu says:

    Wanky McPatchy knee. I like them.

  • That’s why we love you Sethi…I penned a tribute yesterday to post with a photograph of the late Mr. Muhammad Ali, and I thought of you as wrote these words…
    Outstanding leaders pass the torch with the fire blazing…the fire of your torch continues to light the paths of millions…you went where there was no path and started a trail…you livein the courage of your convictions…and your spirit continues to inspire…
    Yes…that’s our Sethi…

    P.S. Dolly Parton is somewhere smiling about your coat of many colors. Kassady did a fantastic job.

  • Mark says:

    I live on a ranch and wear jeans every day. (Wrangler nut huggers ‘cuz relaxed fit are not comfortable on a saddle or a tractor seat.) I buy them at Wallyworld for about $16.00/pair. It would be difficult to convince me that a pair of jeans selling for multiples of that just because some designer put his label on them offer any more functional utility than my “cheap” jeans do. Yes, they wear out but at that price point I can certainly afford to buy another pair.

    When I was much younger and poorer and fashion conscious I did patch my jeans, using old flannel shirts. Back then, someone offered me $100 for my patched jeans and I turned them down. Apparently I had evolved to the status of fashion maven. Not so much anymore. These days it’s pretty much “cowboy clothes” 24/7

  • Jeff says:

    LOL! No, really. 🙂

  • Brian in VA says:

    I had a pair of Levi’s Big Bells back in the 70s that were so comfortable that I could part with them. My mom patched them so many times that the entire ass was patches. I finally had to give them up when she said there was nothing left to patch. Great story, Seth!

  • Brian Gaskey says:

    I remember watching a documentary on the Romones and a question came up about ripped jeans ( they kind of inadvertently invented the fashion, as they were not able to afford new jeans) and one of the group members said ” why would you spend money ripped jeans?”, I think of that every time I see someone wearing $300 ripped jeans

  • Winemaker says:

    Sing on Brother…play on Drummer.

  • JF says:

    You just wanted your jeans to look like the TLC kits, didn’t you…? Thanks for the chuckles.

  • shano92107 says:

    Dolly Parton?? I thought you were an ok guy — however my estimation of you as a human being just went UP an order of magnitude 🙂 Great job yesterday too BTW, heckuva workout that stupid effing little hill
    (Ps if you’re a Dolly fan get you some Sunny Sweeney, east Texas pines girl and just as pretty as Dolly)

    • fsethd says:

      Great hanging out with you. I heard every holler of encouragement, and that burrito is with me still!

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