M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, November 03, 2003  

I’m Retiring That Sweater

“I’m retiring that sweater,” I told Trash.

The sweater in question is an absurdly soft, steel-gray chenille or something. It’s a long, loose v-neck that both hangs and clings. I don’t understand all this chick stuff. Apparently it’s incredibly comfortable and warm. But I have to imagine that it’s becoming less warm, because every time it gets washed there is less sweater. She can’t wear it without a shirt underneath it any more, because it’s growing transparent. Bits of black and silver fluff are coming off of the underlying infrastructure in expanding horizontal strips. Swatches of the garment’s grid-like armature are becoming exposed, to the point where it’s the only thing holding it together. Every time I wash it, everything else in that load of laundry comes out of the machine limned in a uniform coat of tiny, silvery-black fibers.

I’m retiring that sweater.

The sweater’s label says to dry it on the low setting. That’s what I do. Most of the other things in the load carry the same instructions, so it’s no problem. Then I open the dryer door and a tsunami of steel-gray fluff explodes into the laundry room, which instantly goes dark in a highly localized nuclear winter. Every time this happens, I think there can’t possibly be anything left of the sweater. Too much of its volume is in the lint filter and on my black clothes and in my lungs now. But I’m always wrong. It always comes out, intact but another stage further along in its slow but inexorable transformation into a mesh top.

I’m retiring that sweater.

It came out of the laundry first last night, which meant it was at the bottom of the laundry basket. It has to be that way. Otherwise it blows away when I come up the stairs. While I hung up the clothes, Trash rifled through her closet to get a pair of black pants. “What’s all over these pants?” she asked.

“That sweater I’m retiring,” I said.

“Oh,” she said. “I see what you mean. Now you have to rewash them.”

“No,” I said, “now you have a pair of black pants that are sort of wooly-looking. It’s like two pairs of pants in one.

“But I’m retiring that sweater.”

Trash dug the sweater in question out of the bottom of the laundry hamper, making sad-kitten noises. “But it’s so soft and warm and comfy.” She held it up to her cheek. She hugged it to her body. She read a few stock prices through it.

“And I’m retiring it,” I said.

“Okay,” she said, accepting the inevitable. Dealing with her grief. Preparing to move on.

Or so I thought: “Just don’t wash it any more,” she added.

“So you’re giving up the sweater, but first you want to keep wearing it until it gets too stinky?”


“Okay then.”

She’ll probably be wearing the sweater well into next winter. There probably isn’t enough left of it to store a decent funk anyway.

* * *

I should say something nice about my wife now. How’s this: she refers to the movie Radio as I’m Retarded—Give Me an Oscar. Which I can’t not crack up at.

* * *

So my parents came over yesterday and I helped them install the new storm door on the front of our house. More on that some other day. At some point in the process, I got a small cut on my hand. It’s narrow, less than an inch long, just at the base of my right pinky on the palm side. It didn’t even call for a Band-Aid™.

This morning at the office, I glanced at it. Guess what I found embedded in the slowly healing tissue?

Tiny, silvery-black fibers.

I’m retiring that sweater.

Today’s best search phrase: “Instructions fix cavalier alternator.” See, this is important, because if your alternator won’t take its job seriously…Oh, all right, I’m sorry. I got nothing today.

posted by M. Giant 4:25 PM 0 comments


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