Back in the day I used to get down and boogie-woogie as a break-dancer. To be taken serious and considered a “legitimate” breaker though, it took more than just the ability to do the backspin, centipede or the robot. You also had to look the part to be considered “fresh”.
So as I got better I realized I was going to have to step up my game in the fashion department if I was going to be taken serious as a breaker at the skating rink.
And so began my quest for the ultimate breaker outfit.
Over the course of several months I saved every red cent that crossed my palm. When I finally felt like I had enough money I went to the mall and began my shopping spree.
- Shell-toe Adidas – Check
- Sleeveless Shirts – Check
- Bandanna – Check, Check and Check.
- Spiked wrist band – Check
- Fingerless gloves – Check
- Cool hat – Check
$120 for ONE FREAKING PAIR?!?!?!
ARE YOU SHITTING ME?
How am I supposed to earn my street cred. if I can’t afford to buy a pair of parachute pants? I don’t have that kind of money.
So I left the mall broken-hearted.
On the way home, I shared with my mom my misfortune.
“Ask your grandma to make you some.”
Now normally I would never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ask my grandmother to make me ANYTHING. Why, you ask? Because she made me a robe for Christmas once – go read that story then come on back, I’ll wait.
This time was different though. This time I was desperate, and desperate times call for desperate measures.
So when we got home, I called her. This is how the conversation went:
Barry: “Hi Nannie, it’s me, Barry”
Nannie: “Oh hey sweetie. I was just dying my hair. What can I do for you?”
Barry: “Well, Mom said that you could sew, and I can’t afford some pants that I really want so I was hoping you could make me some.”
Nannie: “How old are you?”
Barry: “What? I’m 10, why?”
Nannie: “When is your birthday?”
Barry: “You ask me this every time we talk Nannie. It’s in May. Why are you asking me this?”
Nannie: “Because I forgot”
Barry: “Ok, but what does that have to do with you making me some pants?”
Nannie: “What pants?”
Barry: “Nannie, did you hear a word I said?”
Nannie: “Of course I did Sean, you were born in May”
Barry: “No, it’s not Sean Nannie, it’s me BARRY!”
Nannie: “Oh, HI BARRY! How are you doing?”
This was a typical conversation with my grandmother. I’ll spare you any more of the back and forth but after 45 minutes I finally got her to agree to make me a pair of parachute pants. She told me that all I had to do was to send her my measurements, a picture of the pants I wanted, the material they should be made out of and any other info. that she would need.
I did exactly as she instructed… and then waited.
A Zoot What?
Fast Forward a couple of weeks and I get a call from my mom telling me that my Grandma is bringing the pants by so I should be home early.
AWESOME!! I was so excited I could hardly stand it.
As the doorbell rang, I jumped over the back of the couch and ran to the door. I flung it open and there she stood – like an angel with bluish tinted hair and crooked fingers – with a smile on her face and a bag in her hand.
“Hi Nannie!” I shouted as I hugged her and lead her into the house.
“Hello Sean, uh, Kevin, uh Barry. How are you?”
Sensing my urgency, she leaned down and forward and said, “I know what you want, but I’m gonna need a kiss first”. I showered her with hugs and kisses, snatched the bag out of her hand and immediately tore into it.
As I held the pants up for first inspection, the first thing I noticed was the material. It felt like parachute pants, kind of. I unfolded the pants and gave them the once over.
The second thing I noticed was an elastic waist band. I don’t remember any of the pants at Chess King having those, but whatever.
Pockets? Yes, lots and lots of zippery, pocketed goodness.
Well, now to see if they fit!
I ran to the bathroom to put them on. I think I had my shorts off before I even had the door closed. I held them up one more time for inspection and then began to put them on.
One leg in.
So far so good.
Second leg in.
Roger Houston, we are a go for launch.
As I began to pull the pants up to my waist, I noticed that I was running out of material faster than I was running out of leg.
I finally got them on and looked in the mirror.
WHAT. THE. HELL?
WHY HAS THOU FORSAKEN ME GRAND MOTHER?!?!?!?!
And there I stood; looking as if Steve Urkel and Nicholas Bradford had a love child and called it Barry and put it in the tightest pair of pants you have ever seen in your whole entire life.
I tried to find something that I liked about the pants but I couldn’t. The waistband on them shits was stretched to the max, the thighs fit like biker shorts, the bottoms flared like bells and they were so high-watered (is that a word…welp, it is now) that they didn’t even cover up my ankle bone!
I can’t break dance in these pants; hell I can’t even walk in these tight ass pants.
I’ll be made a fool of if I wear these to the roller rink.
Just then I heard my name in the distance (well, I eventually heard my name), “Sean, uh Kev…uh…Barry. Come out and let me see honey.”
I opened the door, walked slowly into the living room and stared blankly off into the distance as if my soul had left my body and I was but a shell of a boy, in tight, bell-bottomed, polyester pants with a waist like sweat pants.
Mom: Oh look how cute you look.
Nannie: My my my, that sure is a snazzy looking Zoot Suit?
Barry: A what?
Mom: Zoot Suit. That’s what you grandma calls it.
Barry: Nannie, it’s not a Zoot suit. They’re called parachute pants.
Nannie: I know honey, we had the same thing when I was in my 20’s, but we called ’em Zoot Suites.
Barry: Well this isn’t the same. (and I’m sure back then, your “Zoot Suites” at least covered your socks – I thought to myself)
Mom: Son, what do you say to your grandmother?
Barry: Thank you for making my parachute pants Nannie.
I had no fight in me. I just wanted to go to my room and get these horrible, wretched, really tight pants off as quickly as possible.
Friday rolled around and it was time to get all dressed up and head to the skating rink. I was pretty much out of options so I had to wear them. I was hoping that it would be dark enough that nobody would notice.
As I got ready, I grabbed my wallet, unzipped the pocket on my left thigh and went to put my wallet in there…but I couldn’t. There was no opening. It appeared to be a fake zipper.
So I tried the other side.
Again, no opening.
What in the non-working zippered fuck is going on here, I thought.
Maybe I’ll try the pocket by the knee. Again, a zipper, but no opening.
I yelled out for my mom and she came to my room.
“Mom, why don’t any of these zippers work on my pants?” I asked.
“Oh sweetie,” she said, “in an effort to control cost and save time, Nannie decided to go with faux pockets and sewed the zippers directly to the pants.”
‘control cost’, I thought to myself? We ain’t running a fucking business here folks, I’m just trying to turn myself into a b-boy.
Basically, I was now the proud owner a pair of small, high-watered, tight-fitting, elastic waist banded, fake pocket having parachute pants.
I wish this was the end of the story.
I really do.
Of course people noticed my pants. How could they not.
I got lots of questions but still managed to avoid complete disaster by staying away from as many people as I could for most of the night. But as the break dancing started to pick up I started getting the itch to get out there and show some of my new moves (I had just mastered the windmill and was ready to wow the public with my version of it).
I looked around and thought to myself, “Eh, it’s pretty dark and I’ll be moving pretty quick, so nobody should notice my pants.”
I leapt of the bench and headed to the circle. I waited my turn and then BAMMO I jumped in.
I started off with the usual. A little pop-lockin’, some robotic arm moves and then moon walk. I was on fire, so I figured it was time to showcase my new stuff. I moved toward the center of the card board, gyrated my body to the ground, got myself into position, swung my right leg around my body and then…
As I started the windmill, my pants ripped from just below the zipper on my crotch (the ONLY functional zipper on the entire pair of pants I might add) all the way around to the middle of my butt crack.
So there I am, wind-milling like a mother with my ass hanging out.
I hadn’t noticed it at first, but about two and a half rotations into it I knew something was wrong because the cheers turned to laughter and I could feel a draft blowing into my pants. In fact, I distinctly remember thinking, “dag, I must be doing this super funky fresh to impress because I can feel the breeze in my pants. Wait, that’s not right.”
As I grinded to a halt, I looked down and sure as shit, all you could see was some inner thigh, my sky blue bikini underwear and my man lump (well, kid lump).
I got up, made my way through the laughter and the crowd, called my mom on the payphone (yeah, you youngsters reading this have no idea), went home, threw my zoot suit in the garbage and never went back to the skating rink ever again.
To this day, I still have the urge to buy a pair of REAL parachute pants. Some how, in my mind, I think this would make it all right again.