The incredible shrinking Carharts

by Ken Carpenter

Sigh and double sigh. It seems that I have doomed myself to an undignified and distasteful entrance to 2007.
Darn those infernal Carharts!
I guess I better backtrack a bit. I recently had to spend too many (One is too many!) hours grubbing around under a house hooking up water and sewer lines in 20-degree temperatures. I’m not sure I saved money doing it myself, but it seemed to be the manly approach.
To make sure I wouldn’t get frostbite of the blubber, I dug out the insulated coveralls that I had been ignoring for two years. They are used to it, for I generally avoid them and associate them with misery and I generally am right.
I slipped them on with difficulty, wondering how something could shrink just sitting there. Somehow I managed to bend over far enough to zip up the legs, then grabbed the zipper in the front and gave it a hearty tug to seal up the unit.
Zounds, I cursed to myself, the zipper is stuck. I yanked it down and up again, still stuck. Muttering a few unprintable terms, I carefully worked the zipper up and down at the bottom, then sucked my stomach in as far as I could and gave it a mighty heave that could have zipped up the pants of the Lincoln Monument.
“Ugh!” I grunted, feeling like my stomach had been relocated into my lungs. It was still to no avail, I only gained an inch and felt like I was in a straightjacket.
Determined to get to the bottom of it, I managed with some difficulty to take the cursed Carharts back off. I then worked the front zipper up and down, and was not overly pleased to watch it slide effortlessly all the way.
That sealed the deal. It wasn’t mysteriously shrinking coveralls or a faulty zipper that was the problem.
It was flab, pure and simple. My traitorous belly had won a war that I didn’t even realize was being fought. I stood sideways in front of the mirror and decided that if I were a female I’d be seven months along.
“Curse you Moriarty!” I shouted, while shaking my fist at the invisible protagonist who was I alone.
I then took off my sweatshirt and my flannel shirt, leaving only a faded Homer-choking-Bart, Simpson’s T-shirt to sheath my smirking potbelly. After grunting for a few minutes I got my equally smirking Carharts back on, and managed with a powerful exhale to get the zipper up over the swollen hump.
It took me a few minutes to feel like celebrating my victory, for I was gasping for air and sympathizing with every woman who ever chose to wear a girdle. My stomach strained and flexed like a thing alive, and I was surprised that the seams held.
They were tough though, and after about five minutes my breathing evened out and I figured I could survive the wiener-wrap I had sealed myself into. Waddling like a sausage mascot I grabbed my tool bag and headed into the cold.
While I don’t usually believe in New Year’s resolutions, I did mumble one to myself as I wobbled through the snow.
“Please, Mr. New Year, turn me into a breakfast sausage instead of a bratwurst before next year. I might have to wear these things again.”

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