Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Tails of Two White Shirts

Today I wore two white shirts to church. Usually on Sundays I’m a by-the-book LDS attire kind of guy, but today I had a problem. My shirt inventory isn’t what it used to be. I had a choice: a bright, white, long-sleeved shirt with good cloth – and no collar – or a short-sleeved shirt which was very thin to the point of being a little . . . what’s the right word . . . immodest? . . . risqué? . . . Nauseating?

This problem wasn’t that hard to solve: I wore both!

The collared shirt over the non-collared shirt. With the jacket on, no one would see the obviously mismatched sleeves. I thought it was perfect. No one noticed it in church and it wasn’t discovered until halfway through dinner at home, at which point I was ridiculed. Alas, people mock what they do not understand. My kids have got to stop underestimating my problem-solving skills.

Today, two shirts: yesterday, zero. So it averages out.

Yesterday was a glorious day with the baptism of Lillian, our youngest. She had both sets of grandparents here, and we had an all around good day. Baptisms are priesthood ordinances and spiritual events, but there are some practical aspects you have to plan for in order to avoid distractions – specifically, dry clothing to change into.

About an hour before the meeting I suddenly remembered that Lillian would need dry clothing. I commanded Wendy to see to it, and Lillian was soon dressed in a beautiful dress and carrying an extra pair of undies and a towel in her bag (the church would supply the baptism suit itself, so that’s about all she needed).

A while later, it occurred to me, as they guy performing the baptism, I am going to get wet too! I decided to solve that problem immediately before I forgot. I already had a bag with my white pants in it – I added clean undies and a towel, and I was set.

But not fully.

After the baptism I left the font and headed into the men’s dressing room. I had staged all my things and was ready to get into dry clothing and back to the meeting. One little problem: I only had one white shirt – no, one shirt of any color – and I had just worn it into and out of the baptism font. Yes, it was my good one, but it was wet up to my chest.

Would anyone notice? Would it create additional problems, like a wet streak down my pants? I pondered. Meanwhile Lillian is probably just about done over in the ladies room because she has about half the number of articles of clothing to put on, plus at least two women helping her. Hey! What about me? I’m helpless! Standing here dripping, trying to decide whether to drip my way to the Relief Society room for the reminder of the meeting, or what!

Since we live only a couple of doors from the church, I could have someone bring me a shirt without delaying the meeting much – but how could I get anyone’s attention? They’re all down the hall singing hymns, anxiously awaiting my return.

Duh, John – this is the 21st century, and I have TWO cell phones right here in the locker room with me. OK, OK! Who do I want to help me, and who should I text?

My daughter McKay always has her phone – she’s a safe bet. Now, who can come into the men’s room, and would be the fastest getting to my house and back? That’s probably my brother-in-law Paul. He’s fit and can jog to and from the vehicle or skip driving and just run all the way to my house. Got a plan! I texted McKay: “help send paul to bathroom”

In the meeting room, McKay reads her text, raises one eyebrow, stands and crosses the room to where Paul is, and tells him, “My dad needs you in the bathroom.” Now they each have one eyebrow raised. Paul goes out of the room and passes Wendy in hallway, who had just sent Lillian into the room and was chatting with her friend Shar. “Where are you going?” says Wendy.

“Your husband needs help in the potty.”

Two more eyebrows.

Paul enters the men’s room. “Johnnie, what do you need?”

I tell Paul my problem and my plan. Paul makes a counter proposal: “why don’t you just wear my shirt?”

“But then what are you going to wear?”

I’ll just zip up my sweater to the top and no one will know!

So right then and there Paul gives me the shirt off his back. I get dressed in my suit and head out and down the hall. Now the thing is, Paul is six inches taller than me, so the shirt sleeves are hanging well below the jacket. Wendy and Shar are waiting outside the room, laughing with/at me, and we all go in and sit down.

After the meeting, Paul waits patiently as we take pictures and we get home and I help my parents into the house, before I return his shirt to him.

Now if I had just kept it one more day I wouldn’t have had to wear two shirts today!

I just don’t think ahead enough, do I? I suppose if I did, I would have washed, or at least dried, my own good shirt!

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