short pants

by Joe Buonfiglio

My wife works very hard and very smart. She’s one of those people who doesn’t just give 110%, she gives 210%. And while generous in spirit most of the time, she has absolutely NO TOLERANCE for indolence-driven “poor me” syndrome, particularly in the workplace. If you’re lazy or content with the status quo as being “good enough,” it’s probably best not to work with my wife. And believe me, if you’re one of those apathetic people when it comes to the quality of your work, you sure as hell don’t want to work for her.

Now, if she sees you giving it your all, but still failing, she’ll go out of her way to not only get you up to speed, but to advance. However, if she sees you not trying, not giving it an honest effort or, God forbid, not giving a damn, but still looking for sympathy; watch out. That well is dry, my friend.

Now, to you, this probably appears as if I’m just trying to suck up to my significant other. I’m not. Even if I desired to pull off such a sycophantic coup, there’s no way it would work. Just the opposite, as a matter of fact.

First of all, my wife can smell bullshit before your steer even comes into view. If all this was just a thinly veiled attempt to use a public forum for some private benefit, I’d be fucked. She’d see through it in a nanosecond.

No, where I’m going with all this is that if she identifies you as a slacker looking for compassion, what you’re likely to hear from her is the infamous, “We’re all adults here, so put on your big-boy pants.”

Big. Boy. Pants.

I’m a writer; filled to the brim and beyond with insecurities, self-doubt and self-deprecation; probably a little self-loathing thrown in for good measure. To hear the tough-love mantra of “Put on your big-boy pants!” when I become the now-proverbial “whiny little bitch” resonates in my mind’s ear as having foolishly provided the perfect fodder for my better half’s ire.

When I start complaining how “that editor is being mean to me” or my now omnipresent Eeyore-mumble of “rejected again” even though I know damn well I spent the week binge-watching Doctor Who and missing deadlines, it’s bound to stoke those fires of disapproval in my beloved and deservedly so. I may want “tea & sympathy,” but I’m gonna get the “big-boy pants” reaction for sure. You can almost hear Tears of a Clown playing in the background as the dreaded phrase reveals itself once again.

I have to admit, though, the last manifestation of the accusatory axiom with me in the crosshairs got me to thinking. Have I been going around my whole life metaphorically dressed as if Angus Young from the band AC/DC, short pants and all? Am I a grown (some say overgrown) man stuck in the first grade of attire, figuratively speaking?

Is it worse than that? Do I act as if Peter Pan determined to never grow up and prancing about in hand-cut shorts and green tights?

I mean sure, Tinker Bell is hot and anyone could be conflicted, but is that an excuse not to “man up” in life?

Can publishers tell that my big-boy pants aren’t on? Literary agents? Producers? The cable guy?

What about the neighbors? That bartender? Can the crepe chef at the food-truck rodeo tell I don’t have my big-boy pants on?

Holy shit! This is more serious than I thought! Not only does my wife know my deep, dark secret of knee-exposure in the symbolic khakis department, EVERYBODY knows! I’m not fooling anyone!

There’s only one thing for it; time to grow up. Yes, by God, I shall wear my big-boy pants in the execution of my chosen vocation. Yes, I will wear my big-boy pants in the pursuit of my various avocations. Yes, I am going to wear my big-boy pants for the rest of my life! Yes, I’m going to finally get my shit together, not blaming others or circumstance for my own shortcomings! Yes, I shall put on those wonderful BIG-BOY PAN

Hold it. The Yankees are on. Doubleheader.

Yeah, I know I’m on deadline for that feature piece, but come on; it’s the ballgame. I’m sure it’s cool if it’s a day late.

Or two.



© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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