This I Believe

Robert - Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Entered on April 9, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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The Closet Conspiracy

Deep in the recesses of your closet, an amazing transformation is taking place. Clothes, which have been hanging in obscurity for years are slowly but surely shrinking. This may not be alarming in itself, but there’s a vast clothing conspiracy that threatens us all, if not physically, at least psychologically.

Have you ever noticed that the longer clothes hang in your closet, or remain stuffed in drawers, the smaller they get? It could be the darkness, or maybe some sort of atrophy is taking place, but there can be no denying it – those clothes used to fit! The conspiracy extends beyond size, though. It involves other articles of clothing, accessories, and that omnipotent cleaning agent, bleach.

Socks are the footsoldiers in this conspiracy. It’s just not possible that so many pairs have been reduced to individuals. They must either be deserting, or involved in some sort of foreign exchange. Or maybe there’s a parallel universe, where single socks are respected for their individuality.

Collar stays are another mysterious part of this conspiracy. First of all, why are they called stays, when clearly they don’t? Secondly, they must have socks genes in them, because those that do stay are almost always alone, and never with the shirt that bore them.

Belts, like clothes, shrink over time. Either that, or the holes keep moving. Neckties seem to get shorter, too. They no longer seem to reach the belt to hide the used holes that have moved into view. Then again, even new ties seem to be shorter. Maybe it’s a union thing.

Then there are buttons, particularly shirt buttons. For some reason, those that are near the top or on the sleeves seem to have a desire to unthread, while those below the beltline seemingly won’t come off with anything short of a chainsaw. And what happens to that last buttonhole at the bottom of the shirt? Almost invariably, it seems to close up – there’s a button there, but no hole!

Favorite clothes are most susceptible to bleach. In fact, there doesn’t even need to be contact. The mere presence of bleach in the area is enough to cause a reaction. Or is it jealousy of the other clothes, and our favorites fall victim to attack when we’re not looking?

This misfortune befalls us as we get older and our closets and drawers become more and more full. We add new clothes at a faster rate than we discard old ones, and in so doing, neglect the old ones. Those that are neglected hang together, hiding behind each other, conspiring to never be worn again, like that will teach us a lesson. But then they attack our favorites and chase our socks away.

Perhaps the solution lies in outing this conspiracy. Until then, at least for the items of clothing that have merely shrunken out of our reach, we can donate them to smaller, less well-rounded people, who might use them enough to keep them from shrinking any further.