Opinion

Living with a missing shirt pocket

You don’t really know what you have until it’s gone.

Take shirt pockets, for example. Every shirt has a pocket, or so I thought. Until one day I bought a shirt at Penney’s for $5.95, regular price $350, discount price $175, sale price $75, super sale price $25, clearout special $15, get-rid-of-this-junk desperation sale, $5.95. Always a sucker for a good price, I didn’t examine the shirt closely enough. I noticed it looked like a shirt, had long sleeves, and was cheap. Not until after I put it on did I notice anything amiss. That morning I went to put a pen in my shirt pocket and it wasn’t there. Not the pen, the pocket. Some idiot in China had made a bunch of shirts without pockets and pawned them off on a J.C. Penney buyer for a pittance, and the store no doubt still made $3 on the final sale price of $5.95.

I once wore another shirt without a pocket. It was part of a tuxedo outfit for a wedding. It had no pocket because they call them monkey suits. Monkey don’t need pockets. You never see a monkey looking for somewhere to put his banana. He just holds it in his hand. That’s what separates people from animals, our need to put bananas in our pocket.

Only when I did not have a shirt pocket did I realized how much I missed it. Pens, pencils, paper, sticky notes, dead flies, matches, toothpicks, bullets, paperclips, nails, pizza tips, staples, gumdrops, firecrackers, dog bones, sunglasses, are just a few of the things I’ve put in my shirt pocket. Without the pocket, I was helpless. All day I walked around with a pencil in one hand and a banana in the other, with nowhere to put anything else.

The hardest thing to deal with was my new flipper. A flipper is a cheap way to replace a missing tooth until you win the lottery and can pay the dentist for a permanent fix. The dentist told me he could do a bridge, which befuddled me. Would a bridge be cheaper than a tunnel, or a surface option? I sat there doing nothing, like Gov. Gregoire. Or, the dentist said I could have a tooth implant. I imagined where the dentist would get the implant: Perhaps from the funeral parlor, or maybe he tracks fatal accidents with his pliers in his shirt pocket, hoping to get there before the medics. Or maybe he buys implant teeth from the Chinese, who execute “criminals” for profit, selling livers, kidneys and teeth. The dentist tried to convince me that an implant isn’t the same as a transplant, but considering the price, why should I to believe him? I opted for the flipper, which is a fake tooth you can flip out of your mouth any time you want to freak out a kid.

But flippers aren’t real natural, so you’re always putting them in your shirt pocket, assuming you have a shirt pocket. With no pocket, you’re holding a pen and a banana, and you can’t taste the banana very well because of the flipper in your mouth. It’s a very unnerving situation having no shirt pocket, and I’m tired of it.

Penney’s would laugh if I returned my shirt and asked for my $5.95 back. There no doubt was fine print, saying no refunds. But in the future I’ll not hesitate to pay up to $9.95 for a new shirt if it’s got a pocket, now that I know I can’t live without one.

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