The Call of the Wild

I forgot my belt. It happens. This day was doomed probably since last night when I did not turn the lights out until an indecent. To paraphrase Richard Dreyfus in “The Goodbye Girl,” I was decent. I also happened to be up to late. Which meant that I either a: did not set the alarm or b: did not rise when the alarm went off. Still, though, I went to the gym. Riding the stationary bike is a cop out, but only a little bit of a cop out. If I wanted to cop out big time, I never would have gone.

Had I not gone, however, I would not have found myself looking at belts in Target at 8:20 on an overcast Monday morning. I’ve looked at pants in Target before. I’ve bought pants from Target. All their pants are “modern cut.” Nobody with a waistline larger than 37 inches wants to be modern. We want to believe that the encroaching belly fat is a sign of prosperity which should be rewarded with comfort. Pants from Target belie that positive self-talk. But belts? Belts don’t come in “athletic fit” do they?

Yes. Yes they do. I found this out in the restroom immediately after purchase. Well, not quite immediately. I don’t carry a knife in my messenger bag because messenger bags are for the hip and cool and pocket knives are for Boy Scouts. (Sorry Wesley, no offense.) It’s terribly difficult to get the plastic tag on which the belt hangs undone with a key to a 1998 Subaru Outback. I’ve not tried with any other make or model. Having removed the tag, however, I found that the “Large, 36-40” appellation was total bullshit.

My outrage at the false advertising did not, however, match my own shame. I do not want to need a belt over 39 inches. Despite the fact that my waistbands do include elastic again, I do not wish to return to the Husky jeans of my youth. That brand, with its arctic dog labeling, is the basis of my general distaste for the sports teams of the University of Washington and the collected works of Jack London. I will be a man of the “modern cut.” I will keep this belt. I will use the treadmill next time.

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