Sunday, October 31, 2021

"The Pajama Game"

By Jerry Zezima

Every day, no matter what time I get up, I look like I just rolled out of bed. And nobody sees me, not even my wife, Sue, who either is still sleeping peacefully or is secretly awake and waiting for me to get up and make the coffee.

But on a recent morning, several astonished people saw my disheveled self because I ran errands in the pajamas I bought from my granddaughters’ school fundraiser.

Chloe, who is in third grade, and Lilly, who is in kindergarten, were selling such fantastic and indispensable items as wrapping paper, which Sue bought, and nuts, which I am, so I shelled out (sorry) some money for a jar of them.

Also in the brochure were pajamas, which I had never seen when the girls’ mother, Lauren, who also happens to be our younger daughter, brought home school fundraisers.

She and her older sister, Katie, almost succeeded in bankrupting Sue and me with sales pitches for magazines, toys, games and other things we didn’t need or even want but bought anyway because we feared being known as the cheapest parents in town.

Instead, we ended up being the poorest.

When Katie and Lauren reached high school, they not only were still selling stuff but went to class every day wearing plaid flannel pajama bottoms, the hot style of the time.

Because the girls thought I was the most uncool man in America, I decided to prove them wrong. So one day, I wore pajamas to work.

Before I got there, however, Sue sent me out on some errands.

Everywhere I went — the bank, the post office and the newsroom — flummoxed onlookers thought I was off my rocker. But Katie and Lauren, for the only time in their lives, said I was a dude of a dad.

The memories flooded what little remains of my mind when I saw the pajamas being sold in the fundraiser that Chloe and Lilly brought home.

I purchased a pair, which featured plaid bottoms with the school logo, and a blue, long-sleeved top, also with the school logo.

When they arrived, I put them on, hit the sack and slept like a baby, or a log, or a grandfather who can no longer stay awake for the 11 o’clock news.

The next morning, I rolled out of bed — bright-tailed and bushy-eyed — and ran some errands.

My first stop was the gas station, where Chris, who manned the cash register, said my PJs were very stylish.

“They look comfy,” he said, adding that he doesn’t have kids and has never bought anything from a school fundraiser. “But you’re not the only guy I have seen pumping gas in pajamas. A lot of people do it, mainly at night. But yours are definitely the nicest.”

Next I went to the store to buy a birthday card for Sue and saw Christina, a shift manager who said, “You look good. I like the colors. You’re very fashionable.”

Christina said she has bought items from many school fundraisers.

“You can’t say no,” she told me.

“Have you ever bought pajamas?” I asked.

“Yes,” Christina answered. “In fact, my husband wore fundraiser pajamas last night.”

From there I went to the post office for a book of stamps and saw Renata, a friendly clerk who said, “You look good.”

“Do I have your stamp of approval?” I wondered.

“Yes,” replied Renata, who said she once bought pajamas from her daughter’s school fundraiser. “They’re hanging up. I don’t wear them much — especially out in public.”

My last stop was the bank, where a nice officer named Sharon said my pajamas looked terrific.

“When my daughter was in elementary school, I bought magazines, candy and — my favorite — cookies,” Sharon said. “There were sweatshirts in the fundraisers, but no pajamas. I like yours. And I like that you wore them to the bank. Your granddaughters will be proud of you.”

When I got home, I told Sue about my PJ adventure.

“I got a lot of compliments,” I reported. “And I didn’t get arrested.”

“That’s always a good thing,” she replied.

When I asked when the nuts would arrive, Sue looked at me and said, “The biggest one is already here.”

Copyright 2021 by Jerry Zezima

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