My husband and two sons (ages 35 and 31) wear the same size clothes and shoes. This solidarity sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? How nice. How heart-warming. They can share clothes and shoes like civilized human beings, thus bringing them closer together and creating a marvelous bonding experience between father and sons. Yeah, that only happens on TV. The three of them used to be engaged in an almost daily war about clothes and shoe possession and I was an unwilling witness and frequent referee.

Here are a few examples of what it was like when our sons lived at home:

Sitting out on our patio with a cup of coffee, enjoying the quiet and solitude of a summer evening, I was accosted by our eldest son Georgie holding a blue shirt.

“I want to wear this tonight. But look at it,” he said, shoving the shirt under my nose.

“What am I looking at?” I asked.

“This,” pointing to a yellow stain on the front of the shirt. “I can’t wear that now.”

I said, calmly, “Don’t you have like six blue shirts?”

He sputtered, “I want to wear this one! But guess who wore it and ruined it?”

He refers to his younger brother Donnie.

“Would you like me to see if I can get the stain out?” I offered.

“Forget it. It stinks like his cologne anyway. I’ll just wear something else,” Georgie said.

“That shirt smells like your cologne, actually. He must have used it while he was stealing the shirt,” I pointed out.

I was on the phone talking to my friend Kim when Donnie burst into the room, red-faced and sweating. He stared at me until I hang up.

“Can I help you?” I asked sarcastically.

“All my tee shirts are gone!” he spit out. “I had two black ones, three gray ones, a navy blue one, and about 10 white ones! Now I have one gray one and two white ones, and the white ones are stretched out.” This precise inventory amused me, coming from a man who barely knows where he parked his car on any given day.

I suggested helpfully, “Well, go buy more then.”

Enraged by my idea, he huffed, “Georgie owes me money! I know he took all my tee shirts. I’m tired of him taking my stuff all the time!”

“Go steal one from your father,” I recommended.

Here’s a typical dinner table conversation when we all lived together:

“Yo, can I wear your white sneakers tonight?”

“No, dude. They’re brand-new.”

“So? Come on. You’re not wearing them.”

“No. They cost $125. You’ll stretch them out. Buy your own.”

“I did, and you ruined them.”

Or:

“Did you wear my Nike warm-ups to the gym?”

“Maybe.”
“Dude, quit taking my stuff.”

“You took my Adidas warm-ups last week.”

“I did not.”

“You’re wearing them right now, you idiot.”

“Oh. My bad. I thought they were Dad’s.”

The boys don’t live with us anymore. But the Best-Dressed Battle still occurs. Georgie had bagged up a bunch of clothing for us to donate before he moved out. Instead of donating it, my husband went through that bag and discovered all sorts of wonderful clothing that he proceeded to wear. Now, when my husband is wearing his cast-offs and Georgie sees him, he swears that his father stole the clothes.

Example: George is wearing a sweater with a pair of jeans. Georgie tells his father that he looks good. His father informs him that both sweater and jeans are from the Magic Bag of Delights. Georgie then proclaims that he never bagged that outfit up and that his father must have “borrowed” them from him.

I recall that Donnie’s friends used to come by our house while Donnie was out and take stuff from his closet. Belts, shirts, jeans, sweaters. I think they took some of Georgie’s stuff too but I see nothing and know nothing and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Note that I do not seem upset by all of this thievery. This is because no one is interested in my stuff. The second my stuff goes missing, I’m calling the cops. Yes, on my own family.