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Bad taste in shorts runs in the family

Have to say after a busy spring of corporate speaking  I’m glad summer is here.  Cold drinks, family reunions and caftans. No, I haven’t worn a pair of shorts in years. I’ve never felt the need to push my bottom into a pair because, from the rear, it looks like two puppies struggling to get out. From that angle, it looks like my cheeks are chewing bubble gum.  I’m not putting myself down. I’m very grateful for the legs I have. They go all the way up to my waist. They are decent, stocky, Irish peasant legs, meant to carry rocks up a famine hill. I’m fine with that. This year, I lost a lot of weight — 175 pounds. Actually, 172 were my ex-husband, but still, those three pounds were brutal. But as thin as I might get, I’ve finally accepted that my legs will never grow longer.

The reason I don’t care much for shorts is not because of the size of my legs, but the colour. There is none. I don’t tan up. Like paint chips, there is white and there is French white and linen white. But mine are white white. I have no pigment. I sit by one of those SAD lights and I may not be depressed anymore but I get sunstroke.

Refusing to wear shorts has held me back in life. I could never be a nudist. Other nudists would go snow blind. Nor, could I ever be a postal worker. I think dogs take one look at those Bermuda shorts and immediately want to bite them. Now cops are forced to wear shorts. I mean, was it not bad enough they put them on bikes? How humiliating it will be for them, wearing Bermuda shorts and cycling like little demons, chasing bad guys driving souped-up, vibrating cars. They’ll look like the Wicked Witch of the West, warning, “I’ll get you, my little drug dealer. You and your little pit bull, too.”

The shorts ban started way back in my childhood. As a teenager, I was the one at the beach always pretending I’d forgotten my bathing suit. “I’ll just wear my Levis.” And boy, those suckers get heavy when they’re wet. It’s a wonder I wasn’t found at the bottom of the quarry. One time, I wore pantyhose under my bathing suit, and when people came up to me and said, “Hey, you’re wearing panty hose,” I did what any self-respecting person would do. I denied it. “Uh, excuse me, I can’t help that my legs get darker at the top. And these webbed toes? Well, duck feet run in the family.”

And bad taste in shorts did run in the family. Thinking of some of the relatives who wore shorts gives me bad dreams.

I still have nightmares about Cousin Garney bending over trying to start an outboard motor, a cigarette hanging from his mouth, gas leaking everywhere . . . and not from the motor. He used to stand there wearing black socks and penny loafers. He would be decked out in his short shorts (the kind with no net pouch) or outright commando, if you get my drift.

I can be walking along a street in the dead of winter and suddenly get a flashback of Grandma Mary wearing her pink hot pants and blue pantyhose with white shoes. To church. She’d go up the aisle every Sunday flirting with the men who took up the collection. She always insisted on traveling to the beach in the same getup. For those road trips, she’d also sport her massive sunglasses and jam cotton balls in the side in case rays of sunshine tried to sneak in. In those days, there was no air conditioner in the car, and she would never let me roll down the window because she was afraid she might gulp wind. Apparently, if you gulp wind, you could blow up! That, and she didn’t want to get dirt in her hair. Not her hair, her wig. She had no real hair of her own. She had a closet full of wig heads. If she ever sent you in there to get something, it always seemed they were talking to you.

I don’t want to inflict that visual on the younger generation. So I sit here in my Mrs. Roper caftan that I got at S&R’s closing sale. I’m grooving to the sounds of Edgar Winter. For some reason, I feel a kinship to the man. And yes, I may be broke but it’s summertime and the long and short of it is this: If I’m not good to myself, who will be? As it says in the books, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first.

Unless you’re with my cousin Garney, who’s a smoker. Then that would be cruel.
* * *
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Deborah Kimmett is a humorist and motivational speaker who inspires groups with presentations through her company, Wit with Wisdom. She is also an author and a regular performer on CBC Radio.

Visit Kimmett at

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About the Author: Deborah Kimmett is not just a funny face. She knows a thing or two about life. Whether on the stage, or in the conference room, this witty and wise woman knows laughing matters. With her hilarious stories and interactive exercises she ignites, inspires and offers strategies for success. Side Effects: You might get your sense of humor back. Visit her at or on youtube at

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