I’m Pretty Sure The Richest People In The World Are Messing With You. Here’s How.
A week ago I finally caved and bought a new pair of shorts.
In an effort to “grownup-ify” my wardrobe, I determined that short-shorts, while fun and the least likely to produce embarrassing tan lines when I’m nekkid, are less likely to inspire people to take me seriously as a 30-year-old professional woman when I’m doing something like, say, interviewing a restaurant owner about how to grill the perfect steak.
But I’m not ready to give up on shorts all together as everyday casual wear because I live in a state that is hot and humid in the summer and I pretty much threw out all of my dress pants when I quit my cubicle job and hello — I’m a freelancer now. I can wear whatever I want.
So I bought these shorts tax-free when I was in Minnesota because they’re a nice neutral color, they’re semi-dressy, and they’re short enough to not look like “mom shorts,” yet long enough to ensure full butt-cheek coverage even while sitting.
It’s important to note that I’ve taken special care in life to never buy new clothes just because I don’t fit into my old ones. That’s a slippery slope, my friends, and the gauge by which I measure when it’s maybe time to start cutting back on a few of those steaks, ifyouknowwhatI’msayin’. But when I bought these shorts in Minnesota, I couldn’t recall the size of my slightly snug shorts I’d bought from the same chain store in my mid-20’s, and I’m also realistic enough to understand that, hey. My body is going to change over the years and as long as I take care of myself, stay healthy, and indulge in moderation, I should be able to love and accept these changes, even if it means I occasionally need to cave a little on my size guideline. I’m never going to be as thin as I was when I was seventeen, but I also didn’t have these rockin’ boobs or the confidence to love myself. (The boobs, by the way, magically appeared when I was eighteen. No surgical enhancement required. Good times.)
But I digress.
I grabbed a pair of shorts at the store that were a size larger than I thought I normally wore, and imagine how thrilled I was when I tried them on and realized they were too big. Way too big. I’m pretty sure my joyous shout rang throughout the dressing room as I told the attendant Yes, as a matter of fact I DO need help. I could use these in a SMALLER size. Thankyouverymuch!
She brought me the next size down and while they still had a bit of room to spare I wasn’t ready to press my luck and go smaller still, so I made my purchase and went on my merry way.
It wasn’t until I got home to North Carolina that I dusted off my older pair of shorts from the same company because woohoo! They should definitely fit again.
But guess what?
In fact, that very pair of shorts of which I’d so stubbornly busted a button so many years ago were as snug that day as they were at the end of last summer, and okay. That would be fine since I hadn’t worked particularly hard to make sure they’d be un-snug by this time this year, but imagine my surprise when I examined the tag and realized the were the same size as the shorts I’d just bought.
The same size.
Yet there’s at least an inch of extra material in the waistband of my new shorts.
And yes, I’m sure shrinkage from multiple washings has to count for something, but over an inch?
Obviously, someone is messing with me.
Obviously, some enterprising people out there in the world want my money. And the best way to get my money is to make me feel good about myself so I continue to shop at their store. And if I’m not going to make me feel good about myself by eating right and exercising, then why shouldn’t they make me feel good about myself by making me think I’m healthier than I actually am? And if I can be healthy without even trying, then wow, guess what? Now I can buy more junk and commercial businesses and convenience food chains will thrive! And when I develop cholesterol problems I can buy magical pills to fix them and drug companies will cheer! And when I need heart surgery and pain medications and therapy to deal with the fact that I didn’t bother taking care of this one body I have because the clothing store tricked me, my surgeon will smile on his evening jog. My insurance provider will grin as he rubs organic oils into his aching muscles. And my therapist will laugh and ask, Really? Did you REALLY think you were healthy? Did you REALLY think you didn’t have to try? Did you REALLY think you were still a size 2? And I will write her a check that, in the end, will cost much more than time spent planning out meals for the week or buying extra produce to make a green smoothie or three.
The truth is, many of the world’s richest people want us to be unhealthy because many of the world’s richest people are involved with industries that benefit from us not bothering to take care of ourselves — from us choosing to prioritize an extra hour of watching American Idol over cooking a decent meal or taking a walk through the neighborhood. And it’s not like a crazy conspiracy theory — it’s just business. And it’s definitely not like I never indulge or eat horrible things or consume alcoholic beverages or enjoy a movie marathon on a lazy Sunday afternoon — but, like every other vice in my life, I enjoy in moderation. Or, when my helpings aren’t so moderate, I try to make up for it with an extra grueling workout. A smoothie for lunch. A mental pep talk. Because you know what?
You don’t have a soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body.
(Paraphrased from Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz. Thanks, Thomas Thurman, for hunting down the origins of that quote. It’s one of my favorites.)
And you only get the one.
So use it well. Use it wisely. Challenge it. Forgive it.
And don’t forget to love it like your life depends on it.