Jewish World Review March 3, 2003 / 29 Adar I, 5763

Greg Crosby

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Consumer Reports

Crosby in Wonderland | Welcome, dear readers, to a new occasional feature we call "Crosby In Wonderland." From time to time I will share with you some of the things that puzzle me in society, politics, or just life in general. These musings may or may not necessarily have any profound or even trivial meaning in the large scope of human events. These thoughts may hold no relevancy to anything in particular. Each item I mention stands alone as an independent thought., thrown out, so to speak, for your edification (and to clear my head).

I won't offer any conclusions or answers to the questions I raise, either. I'll simply state a few observations for your amusement, interest and reflection. I welcome any and all comments you might care to offer, especially if you think you have the answer. And now, buckle your seat belts ....let's go to wonderland!

I WONDER .... why some men prefer to wear shorts instead of long pants. I'm not talking about kids or teens hanging out at a beach resort in July -- I'm taking about middle-aged guys walking around town wearing shorts in the middle of winter! It can't be that it's more comfortable to wear. I've worn shorts from time to time in my life (only in summer), and I can tell you that wearing shorts is really no more comfortable than wearing pants that extend that extra 18 inches or so down to the ankle. As far as looks goes, I haven't seen an adult man yet who looks better in shorts than he would in long pants.

This "all shorts -- all the time" thing seems to be a relatively new phenomena of the last 10-15 years. I can't be certain, but I think it surfaced around the time that the backward baseball cap was gaining popularity as the headgear of choice with adult men. Living in Southern California, I may be experiencing a local dress style that has not (yet) caught on in other places, but it wouldn't surprised me to learn that there are guys in Georgia or Oregon walking around with their shins exposed just as blatantly as the men around here.

There must be something about delivering letters and packages that brings out the shorts in people because most mailmen and mailwomen wear shorts all year 'round. That goes for UPS drivers, too. I don't get it. Maybe it's just easier to put on short pants than full-length ones. You know, you don't have to balance on one leg as long when you're putting on shorts. Maybe they just don't make long mailman pants anymore. Or long brown UPS pants. I haven't noticed whether the FedEx guys wear shorts, so I'm not including them, but if there really is some kind of "shorts syndrome" associated with the carrying of mail, then they must be afflicted as well, I would think.

Cops wear shorts a lot, too. Why is that? It doesn't help protect them if they're chasing some crook and they fall on their knees. It certainly doesn't add any dignity to their uniforms. If anything, it takes the dignity out of the uniform. Makes them look less of an authority figure. Now, I'm not against shorts in every situation. There are some occupations where shorts make sense -- like swimming pool lifeguards and basketball players. But there are some professions that just don't make it in shorts. How would you like to see firemen running around at a fire wearing shorts? Or how about your doctor in shorts examining you. Want to see your hairy-legged dentist in shorts? No thanks.

I guess it's all part of this new dressing alike thing. Men and women dress like boys and girls and boys and girls dress like men and women. I've seen television shows and commercials that portray families and much of the time I can hardly tell which ones are the teens and which ones are the moms and dads. No kidding. It's conformity taken to the absurd. So much of today's clothing offers no distinction between ages, or sexes, or the rich or the poor. Everyone wears the same uniform -- baseball caps, T-shirts, jeans (or shorts), and big ugly athletic shoes.

But getting back to grown men in shorts --- not a really good idea, guys. Little four-year old boys look cute in shorts. Big thirty-eight year old 6 foot 200 pound bald men look like idiots (Unless they are lifeguards or basketball players). So do the world a favor --- save the shorts for sitting in front of the television set alone in your own home.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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