Many years ago, when I was in the 6th grade, I started a trend. I was in the 6th grade. Which would make me about 12. That would make the year 1986.
Our southern middle school was always coming up with “Idea Days”. These days were designed to help make kids come together as one. (It was either that, or to amuse the teachers. I never figured it out.) For example, there may have been “Wear Purple Day” or “Famous Person Day”. Idea Days were invented to keep the playing field level. In reality they made the playing field more like a minefield. Kids all throughout the school were being nailed to the wall and stuck to the ceiling with words like “Loser” and “Freak” and “What were you thinking, Retard?”
Given I answered to those words everyday, I never partook in any Idea Days. That is, up until Twin Day. Twin Day was the day where you were to grab a friend and dress alike. I approached Kerry just after second period and asked her if she wanted to join me as my twin on Twin Day. She agreed and the creative brain wheels were thrust into motion.
But time was of the essence! And I pretty much always wait to the last minute to hop onto any bandwagon. (It’s best to make sure you’re not its only passenger.) I rarely give myself time to plan. I’m just not a planner. I design Halloween costumes the day of. I come up with logos while I’m on the subway. I write posts the moment I get up in the morning, usually without any idea as to what I’m going to say. (Take right now, for example. I have no idea where it is I’ll be taking you. You have no idea where it is I’m taking you. Isn’t it fun? Don’t you feel dirty?)
First, we had to quickly figure out what it was we owned that was similar. Knowing full well our parents wouldn’t agree to invest in our endeavor, we knew we had to use existing apparel. Easy. We had the same pink and white striped shorts made by Esprit. (Actually, I think every girl back then had the same pink and white striped shorts made by Esprit.) But it was the dead of winter, who could possibly be dumb enough to wear shorts to school in the dead of winter?
Next up, came our Jon Bon Jovi T-shirts from the “WE CAME, WE SAW, WE KICKED YOUR ASS” tour. (Incidentally, I would have asked Caryn to join us as well, but her shirt was destroyed by her mother who made her change it to read “WE CAME WE SAW WE KICKED YOUR A88” using a bottle of White Out. Poor girl. I imagine she had to go over it several times given how diluted it was from the tears.) But Kerry and my parents were heathens so our t-shrits remained in tact.
And it absolutely had to have pink socks. Pink socks to match the pink and white striped shorts made my Esprit. I think I actually purchased said pink socks the same day I purchased the pink and white shorts made by Esprit.
Kerry had the pink socks, too. We added the pink socks to the ensemble, the same pink socks, which, if pulled all the way up, would reach one’s thigh. At least our shins and feet would be warm.
There is myth about the south and its winters. Some might say that wintertime in North Carolina isn’t cold. I might say that those people are slightly mad. While it doesn’t get nearly as cold as it does up north, it still gets cold. Sometimes, it even snows. Yes, it snows. And then they shut the southern world down.
On the eve of Twin Day, we tried on our outfits after school. That’s when Kerry decided there was a problem.
You know, I wonder if we’ll be too cold. I mean, I like the shorts and the pink shocks and all, but I just think we’ll be cold.
I hadn’t thought about that.
Oh. Yeah. Good point. You think people will make fun of us for wearing shorts in the dead of winter? I mean, Adam, from down the street does it every day. He wears them to the bus stop and I always think, ‘man, he must be cold.’
Yeah. They’re going to make fun of us.
I heard the wheels kick on again. What to do now? Everything was falling apart right before my eyes. And then I had an idea.
Growing up as a skier has its benefits. Besides the number of Dickie Turtle Necks I was forced to wear throughout childhood, I was also forced to wear long underwear. All the time. I wore long underwear to school. I wore it skiing, sledding, to bed, camping, in the van, in the station wagon, at grandma’s house. My brothers and I wore long underwear pretty much everywhere. We wore underwhere everywear. And it always smelled like cedar. And they were usually only new for my oldest brother, Rob.
I screamed this a bit too excitedly. It’s rare someone gets excited over long underwear. But I was excited.
In the end, Kerry and I wore long underwear under pink and white striped shorts made by Esprit. The long underwear was then tucked into pink socks. We wore black converse on our feet. We wore them to accentuate the Bon Jovi, “WE CAME, WE SAW, WE KICKED YOUR ASS” tour t-shirt (which was black as well.) Under the t-shirt came some more long underwear. We looked like absolutely nothing but weird. We did pull of weird well. And if that wasn’t strange enough, we topped the outfit with a cherry by putting our into two pigtails.
And we went to school. And everyone stared.
What is it you’re supposed to be? Exactly?
Twins. Ummm like, no dur.
Prior Twin Day, I hadn’t ever seen anyone wear long underwear under much of anything (including ripped jeans which became like all the rage a few years later). That said, I fueled the nation’s hippies and enabled folks to wear shorts all year round. I started a fad for hippies everywhere. I started the long underwear fad. I was that cool.
I have told this story numerous times to Toby. Well, the second, third and fourth time was more like a summary. And each time he sort of looks at me funny. And he’ll either laugh or shake his head and continue with whatever it was he was doing before the interruption.
Remember the time I invented that fad of wearing long underwear under one’s clothing? I never got credit for that.
Last night, Toby looked up from his computer and instead of looking right back down again by screwing his head back in place with a shake, it looked as if he was finally going to give me the recognition I have always deserved. For a split second, I was elated.
You know, usually when people have delusions of grandeur at least it’s something good.
Maybe I should telling people about the time I came up with that dance.