I am at war with my pants. This may not sound surprising to people who are required to wear factory made uniforms, but I suspect those who have never had to wear tight-fitting polyesters will not understand. I cannot really blame my pants that they are old, and I even enjoy their deep pine color. The problems I have with my pants are more properly blamed on the moronic, insensitive brute who designed them. That b—— is on my list.
Yes, I admit I have a list. Doesn’t everyone? There are people who are destined to receive justice, and I hope to be God’s instrument for a few. I suppose my love for my list springs from my love for revenge tales and plot twists, little story lines that have attracted me from the start.
One of my first delightful explorations of big twists came in my fourteenth summer when I first stumbled on Jane Eyre. That book is built on twists. It begins with a little girl being bullied by a big boy, but suddenly she charges him, and by instinct she hits him where it hurts. This amazed me. Instead of sniveling, she punishes her tormentor. Thus began my love of revenge tales.
Punishing the tormentor is the motivation for all revenge tales, and I always loved the idea of wrong-doers justly suffering at the hands of some avenging bad angel. In Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes, she imagines Towanda, who makes young people PAY for disrespecting their elders. “Let’s face it, honey. I’m older and I have more insurance.” Her husband is less amused than I was when I read it.
The problem is revenge tales are loaded with mixed messages. Revenge, the pursuit of it, eventually poisons the soul of the one seeking it. The blood lust rots the decency of the once innocent hero. That element of revenge tales used to frustrate me, but eventually I began to accept the truth of this. How can we avenge cruelty without ourselves becoming cruel? If we were made of sterner, more disciplined, cooler stuff perhaps we could avenge, but our passions are bound to force us to exponential reaction. “You took my dollar. I’ll take TEN of yours!” “You made me cry. I’m make you BLEED!”
What would I do if I found the designer of the pants? I would strap him into a girdle two sizes too small then shoot arrows at him while teenagers pointed and laughed. Yeah, I’m not ready to dole justice, so let him go (notice how I assume it’s a him). Let him live in peace, and let me get some more comfortable pants.