Sunday, November 2, 2008

Keeping Up With The Joneses

JAMS were baggy shorts with loud pastel colors and patterns, which were knee length unless of course you were really rad and wore the 3/4 length JAMS that were called "clamdiggers." This fad was so revolutionary because we guys only previously wore shorts so short and tight that they could cut off circulation. (If you need proof, check out Jack Sickma and his blond fro or any other NBA player circa 1984.)

I want to say JAMS cost something like $30, which my parents sanely refused to pay for a piece of clothing they knew I would outgrow within months. Instead, I got JIMS (or were they WAMS?) from Montgomery Ward. Once everyone with true JAMS discovered my fraud, the playground fashion police ridiculed and scorned me. I felt like a pariah.

Other fads and frauds came and went. Swatch watches, Reeboks, and CB winter jackets for the elite haves. Casio digital, Pony, and whatever was on clearance at Rich's for the lowly havenots.

It burned me up inside sometimes. Most frustrating was simply not knowing what the new "in" thing was until it was already happening. Where did my peers learn this shit? Were they on some kind of distribution list that didn't come to 2 Bert Street's mailbox?

Eventually, I caught on, pegged my pants, wore a Coed Naked t-shirt under my J. Crew rollneck that didn't fit properly, and survived through high school. While attending college in Vermont during the peak of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I read a little Thoreau and Gandhi, grew my hair long, donned some flannel, and finally stopped caring.

Now standing on the precipice of parenthood, I learn to my shock and horror that our baby registry contains not one, but something like four different strollers all with prices in excess of $25. The "Just Like Us" page in "Us Weekly" showed Britney dragging on a Parliament Light as she pushed one of her boys in a stroller that might as well be some kind of off-road, miniature Cadillac. I think we're getting the same one.

At this point in my life, I'm content with my philosophy of product selection when it comes to materialistic stuff. Basically, I lean towards purchasing the functional, affordable, and generic but every once in a while a splurge is okay.

So here's the rub - my philosophy may work well for me but does that mean I can impose the same angle on my kid? In other words, if the wife and I don't get the Juicy Couture of onesies for our infant, does that make us bad parents? Will four month old Audrina/L.C./Heidi-types at day care gossip about Baby T's outfit behind his/her back when he/she goes down for a nap? Are we depriving him/her of toddler self-confidence if we opt for Mar-SHALLS instead of Baby Lulu?


Screw it. I'm off to T.J. Maxx for Baby T's first pair of JIMS. I'll deposit what I save on price for Baby T's college tuition, which should only be about $100,000 a year by 2028.


peculiar gentlemen said...

first off, great blog, second, it was great hanging out the past two weekends. we've all gained many fantastic memories to share with baby t (when it's appropriate) lastly remember, for thousands of years babies had to be transported from place to place solely by their parents arms. your kid will not resent you in 20 years because he/she didn't have the same stroller as britney's kid. however, they will resent you if you if you dress them in jams.
final note, i have a friend whose family couldn't afford jams back in the day, so his mother stuck a piece of electrical tape across the logo of his shorts and wrote in black magic marker "JAMS". true story.
i love you cuz, you and michele are going to be amazing parents!!!

Jake said...

Great blog. When do we get to read about the name selection process for Baby T?

Jennifer said...

Just soon as he/she arrives, you'll be the first in line to buy the best of just about anything. Or the second in line to buy something less than the best but only so you can buy one in every color. It just feels right :)

Matt said...


I am hoping this recession will put things back into perspective, and we won't be spending money on mommy…er…baby fashion.

I admit I did have a pair of JAMS, but I think my Knights of Round Table aka fake polo balanced things out. "It's the same thing. The horse is just turned 45 degrees to the left. It's the same as a Polo."