Roughly ten years have elapsed since the heyday that was The Partner's college years. Nowhere is this more evident than in the condition of his fraternity tee-shirts. All across his collection there are holes in the necklines, holes along the bottoms and, as will be shown here today, big gapers in the underarms. But until a breach gets so big that it causes the shirt to fall off his body of its own volition, The Partner will continue to wear the soft, cottony vehicle of the Pi Kappa Phi logo with pride.
Today I walked into our home office with one of the worst offenders and held it up for the Partner's scrutiny. "What am I supposed to do with this?" I demanded. I could've stuck my entire head through the fissure in the seam of the right sleeve.
Sensing a commotion, The Boss ran into the room behind me.
"What's going on?" she asked.
"I'm trying to figure out what your father expects me to do with this shirt."
She looked at the shirt. Then she raised her eyebrows and looked at The Partner.
"There's nothing wrong with that shirt," he said. "Do you think there's anything wrong with the shirt?"
She looked like she wasn't sure if this was a joke or not. "Well, you might show your hair. Of your armpit."
I stifled the kind of guffaw that builds up when a parent thinks her child is the funniest thing on the planet.
"But won't it act like a vent and keep my arm cool?" The Partner spoke as if in jest, yet he was completely serious.
The Boss did a headshake/eyeroll that conveyed not only her distrust of, but disappointment with, the world around her. She looked from one crazy parent to the other. She looked once more at the aerated shirt. "Ugh," she said. "This is a gross talk." Then she ran out of the room.
I'm a little surprised that this conversation, out of all the doozies The Boss has been privy to, is the one to bring out the first glimpse of the kind of childhood angst that can only be caused by hopelessly embarrassing parents. One thing I know for certain, though, is that there's a lot more arm hair where this came from. And while I mean it more literally in The Partner's case and more figuratively in my own, the fact remains that neither one of us is afraid to let it blow in the breeze.