It’s been 27 years since I graduated from high school — and at least that long since a high school kid called me a nerd.
But that all changed recently when my high school son was kind enough to inform me of my nerdiness.
To be fair, he wasn’t criticizing me specifically (though it may have been implied) as much as my wardrobe choices. Specifically, he was not impressed with a pair of hiking shoes I had offered to loan him for his recent trip to Peru with other kids from his Spanish class.
“No way am I wearing those nerdy things,” is how he put it, or other words to that effect.
The irony, at least for me, is that I have also been informed that he plans to take my favorite sweatshirt with him when he goes to work on a set-net site.
Now, my hiking shoes have grippy soles and good support — which is exactly what hiking shoes are supposed to do. And I’m pretty sure there weren’t any judges from Project Runway watching when he was walking around Machu Picchu.
My sweatshirt, on the other hand, is not the one that people outside my family see me in very frequently — it’s not nearly nice enough to be worn in public.
No, my favorite sweatshirt is the one I wear for doing chores around the house. It has become a little frayed and stained, with splatters of paint, motor oil, bike chain lube, wood glue or whatever else I’ve wiped or dripped on it during the course of several years of chores.
I’ve even worn that sweatshirt while doing some personal-use setnetting, so you wouldn’t think it would be too big a deal if my son borrows it for the next month or so.
However, I loaned him a different sweatshirt for working a setnet site last summer, and let’s just say it didn’t make it back in one piece. “Muscle shirt” is its current status. There was a matching pair of Carhartts that didn’t make it home at all.
I don’t want to do chores in a muscle shirt.
You might wonder how hard it could be to just replace the sweatshirt, and believe me, I’m as surprised as anyone that I can’t find anything close. I won it as a door prize at a golf tournament. As such, it is made of what I’m assuming is a cheaper cut of cloth, so it is a lighter weight than your typical hoodie — but the perfect weight for yard work.
Even though the cuffs are starting to fray, the sleeves always stay pushed up when I need them out of the way. And lengthwise, it’s right in that Goldilocks zone, not too long, not too short. Other sweatshirts I have either ride up my back when I lean over, or are so long that they catch on things. (If you’ve seen my garage, you know there’s a lot to catch on in there.)
So, I guess I’m in the market for a new sweatshirt. I don’t know what the fabric blend of that old one was; the tag came off years ago. And who knew that finding a good-fitting sweatshirt would be more difficult than much more sophisticated pieces of clothing, like dress shirts or slacks? (Whose idea was it to make dress clothes “slim fit” these days? I haven’t been built for “slim fit” since I was my son’s age.)
I did go check my son’s room to see if there are any sweatshirts there that would fit the bill, and there are a few that I think might be coming my way a couple years down the road, when he’s done with high school and decides all those Kenai Central hoodies are too nerdy for college.
In the mean time, maybe my dad has one I can borrow.
Happy Father’s Day!
Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.