Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Amazing Coat

In the movie, The Tuxedo, Jackie Chan’s character put on a well, uh, you know, a tuxedo. This tuxedo gave anyone who wore it extraordinary powers. Other movies feature similar themes. For example, Frodo Baggins had a ring that turned him invisible, and Harry Potter had a cloak of invisibility.

When I was in 7th grade, I was given a coat that gave me certain powers. When I wore it, I became VERY visible to everyone around. This 'coat of visibility' was made out of vinyl, and was shiny, bright blue, and had bright red stripes (lovely). Oh, and did I mention it was very very very very puffy. It resembled the puffy snowsuit worn by Ralphie's brother in A Christmas Story.

This amazing coat also allowed the wearer to have 'character building' moments (interpretation: completely and utterly embarrassing moments). Yep, wearing the 'coat of visibility' to my first year of junior high was definitely 'character building'.

This coat had two normal-sized pockets and two small, heat-saver pockets. These heat-saver pockets were just barely big enough to FORCE your hands in; hence the heat was kept in (what a bonus!). So one particularly cold day, I put both hands in the heat-saver pockets. When I got to my locker, I tried to pull my hands out, but the sides of the coat moved with my hands because the zipper on the front of the coat was not zipped. I kept trying to yank my hands out of the coat faster and faster, but all that happened is the side of the coat would fly back and upwards with my hands and arms. I must have looked like a bright blue, featherless, very puffy, bird trying to take off and fly. I was probably even making noises like a bird out of exasperation. I quickly got an audience due to the 'visibility' power of the coat, not to mention my frantic attempts to extract my hands and the strange noises emanating from my throat. I beseeched some 'friends' to hold the front of my coat so I could pull my hands out, but too much fun was being had by the bystanders for anyone to assist me. Eventually, I leaned against the wall to smash the side of the coat with my hip while I pulled, and WAHLAH, my hand came out. Yes! Freedom! "Move along people, no more entertainment here".

But, the character building aspect of the coat did not stop with that incident. When I would walk home from 7th grade, I figured out that I could save myself two blocks of walking by cutting through a fenced in yard behind my house. This backyard had a big dog, but my sharp mind quickly resolved that little issue. Each day, I would sneak up to the six-foot tall, wood plank fence, and throw a rock at the far end of the yard. When the dog went running and barking toward the other side of the yard, I would quickly scramble over the fence, run across the yard, and scramble over the fence into my backyard; generally the dog would be snapping at my feet just as I crawled over. This worked for weeks until I tried this trick with my coat on.

As usual, I threw the rock, scrambled over the fence, ran across the yard, and climbed the back fence to jump into my yard. BUT, the big wood plank on the fence (about 12 inches wide) went right up my coat (between my coat and shirt), stopping when it hit the collar of the coat. So, there I was dangling in my backyard about two feet off the ground with the dog yapping behind me. Thankfully this occurred when I was climbing into my yard instead of when I was climbing into the dog’s backyard (Whew!). I tried wiggling out of the coat, but THIS time my zipper was zipped all the way to my chin (bummer!). My next thought was to try and reach my zipper to release me from this predicament, but because the coat was pulled so tight AND it was so puffy, my arms and hands could not reach the zipper (double bummer!).

So, there I am trying to swing my way off this wood plank and/or reach my zipper, but no avail! I was stuck! Finally, I resigned myself to complete embarrassment, er uh, more 'character building', and started yelling for anyone to come help me. I guess the neighbor heard me yelling, and instead of coming to see what was wrong, she called my mom’s second husband at work (who of course she was married to at the time). He drove to the house like a madman, not knowing what was going on. When he ran into the backyard and saw me, he just stopped and stared as I attempted to wave at him – not that he could miss me hanging there in my 'coat of visibility' with a dog barking like crazy behind me. Instead of coming to help me, he turned around and walked back inside (What the heck?). But I quickly realized the amazing power of my coat to create character-building moments was in full effect as he came out with a Polaroid camera and snapped a picture. THEN, he helped me down.

Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat after having a nightmare about that particular coat trying to kill me, I wonder if my life would have been better in 7th grade without that coat.

The true answer, though, is that I really am glad I was given that coat. That coat has given me and my acquaintances years of laughter as I recount those two incidents. May the coat rest in peace.


Roxie said...

I think I'd pay good money to see that picture!

Amy said...

I don't remember ever seeing that photo. I guess next time I am home I will dig out the old photo box and look thru it. What do you think that photo is worth to you? lol

Just Another Day In Paradise said...

If the man I came to know had to endure such character building experiences, beleive me it was worth it! Your character is as close to perfect as it can get. Hope all with you is well.

Roxie said...

Amy, Hi! Do you remember me? How are you?

How much would that picture be worth? Hmm....Let's see....

Old Kodak Print: $ .39
Scanning it: $.00
Embarrassing dirt on your big brother: Priceless.

claunchorlando said...

Scott, this story solidifies your status as a true Glenwood goober(Hayes' kids rule!!) and just bcause you are a character doesn't mean you have character! :)