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Mr. Wrong

Itchy & Scratchy

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 8/8/2001

Every once in a great while I break down and buy a new article of clothing, which means I gotta whip out the X-Acto knife and get to cuttin'.

Get it straight: I'm not customizing the garment or anything--I'm strictly off-the-rack. I'm talking about cutting off all those little fucking tags and labels on the inside of my new shorts with the 500 zippered pockets for me to lose my car keys and money in. They itch. Not the 500 zippered pockets--man, I love all the stupid pockets they put on pants these days. They rule. I got a pocket for everything, and I wish I had more, because then I could go on trips with absolutely no luggage. All my stuff jammed into pockets all over my legs so when I walk it looks like I have a rupture. I'll be sad when they stop making all the pants with millions of pockets. Maybe they won't, eh? Maybe this is the end of pants evolution, where the practical pants-of-many-pockets rise up in pairs to crush the fashion freaks who will try to force them out of style in all the magazines and teevee shows that cross-pollinate the clothing trends.

Ahh, who am I kidding? Pants with lots of pockets are in Big Trouble. Next fall it'll probably be supertight pants with no waistband and no fucking pockets. But maybe that's good. Maybe that'll mean pants-of-many-pockets will become Old Guy clothing, and I'll be able to send away for them to a place like Haband, purveyor of the $17.50 "Guayabera Shirt" for him. And the two-for-$21.95 "Paradise Gauze Shorts: The vertical crinkles don't just keep you cooler--they make you look slimmer too!" for her. And the three-for-$29.95 "Comfort-Waist Barbecue Shorts" for him. And the four-for-$24.95 MicroTec(r) "Breathable Knit Summer Culottes" for her.

Or, hey, Haband doesn't market them this way, but I say culottes for him too. I mean, I'm going for the elastic-waist pincords myself, but I'm not trying to repress anybody here. You want the culottes, you go get 'em. Haband used to be hockin' the elastic-waist polyester slacks in the little Parade magazine in the Sunday paper, but now they rock the Web on www. haband.com, where I learned the closest outlet store is in Delaware. Everybody wins in the state of tax-free shopping. Not just tax-free for one lousy week either.

Anyway, the little goddamn tags on the inside of my clothes. Jeezus, the tag up in the back of my T-shirt itches me, and I'm always reaching up and back to scratch the back of my neck, or to pull the friggin' tag away from my neck like I got some kind of reflex-monkey arm-jerking disorder from the neck up. I'm losing my mind.

So when I buy a new straightjacket, the first thing I do when I get it home (before the Men in the White Coats come to pick me up) is lay it out and start trying to neatly and professionally remove the tag from inside the neck with a sharp instrument. I used to just rip 'em out, but then you wind up with a little hole in the shirt, because all the stitching involved in keeping the tag on the inside of the garment is also responsible for holding the garment itself together. That one gets me every time, the tag on the neck. Worser still, they've started putting tags on the side of the insides of shirts, right around the waist. Thanks a lot. If I don't spot one of those side-tags before I put the shirt on for my busy and important day, I will be clawing at my side in the car within 15 minutes and become a danger to my fellow motorists. Itches! Son of a bitch! Drives me fucking crazy.

I mean, what the fuck do they make these things out of, galvanized steel? If they don't itch, they scratch. They're trying to kill me with these tags. The tag tells you which Third World country provided the labor to make your article of clothing. The tag also tells you how to launder said article of clothing and what the article of clothing is made of. What I wanna know is, what the fuck is the tag made of? Is that an unreasonable thing to ask? I mean, maybe I'm allergic or something. Tell me what the fucking tag is made out of, for chrissakes.

Look, when the Revolution comes and I'm Vice President in Charge of Consumer Affairs, we're gonna do a few things differently, starting with tags on the inside of clothing. Any company not adhering to my guidelines will be put to death. No exceptions. First of all, if someone should happen to go out and buy a pair of underpants made out of 100 percent cotton, then the tag on the inside of the underpants should also be made out of 100 percent cotton, and it should be stitched into the waistband of the aforementioned theoretical underpants with some kind of thread that's not like scratchy plastic fishing line or something so that some people who are possessed of sensitive skin don't have to constantly be picking at the tag on the back of their underpants and look like they're scratching their butts due to a hygiene malady. Also, there will be some sort of civil-court remedy for anybody forced to employ the underpants-inside-out strategy to protect their delicate skin from scratchy underpants labels, because people are gonna assume either you're too fucking stupid to put your clothes on the right way, or you got some kind of skid-mark situation you're trying to manage, and that's not good for the self-esteem.

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