After several hours of trying – and failing - to get Branton’s sister to notice how rad my ass looked in my new pants (we’re talking Loverboy album cover rad), we decided to go outside and “play” basketball. To this day, that seems like such a curious decision, as I have no memory of us playing basketball before or after that night. I can only think that I wasn’t getting enough blood to the brain due to the blood clots forming in my legs.
I’m standing back on the perimeter, air-balling three pointers like it’s my job, when Branton encourages me to go for a lay-up. Because I’m stupid, I take his advice.
It’s important to note that Branton’s basketball goal was mounted on top of a concrete wall, so any layup attempted could potentially result in great physical tragedy.
Branton passes me the ball, which of course, slips through my fingers and ends up in the middle of the road. After retrieving the ball, I charge back toward the goal, prepared to deliver one of the most ill-fated layups in the history of bad decisions.
As I get closer to the hoop, I hear the voice of my mother echoing in my empty skull.
“Patrick – these pants were very expensive, please take good care of them and don’t do anything wild while you have them on.”
The ball leaves my right hand, clanging hard against the bottom of the rim. For the first time all night, I remembered there was a concrete wall directly behind the basketball goal. My hands went up and I deftly pushed myself back and to the left. My body took a wild spin and I crashed violently into a group of garbage cans before landing hard on the driveway.
The rip stretched across the entire right knee. If I lived in Middletown, I could have probably pulled this look off, creating an entirely new trend of torn and frayed parachute pants. But being just another Fern Creek dirtbag, I realized that in one less than glorious moment, I had completely ruined any chance of ingratiating myself into the Crosby Middle School Illuminati.
Courtesy of a pair of borrowed sweatpants, I got home undetected. I made a vain attempt at sewing up the rip myself, but that ended in failure. I briefly considered tying a bandana around that knee, but decided against it out of fear that wearing one around the right leg might be akin to wearing an earring in the right ear. So I stuffed them into the back of my closet and avoided ever discussing their whereabouts with my mom.
For less than six hours one night in 1984, I rose above my station only to have it all come crashing down due to my own stupidity and hubris. Seriously, parachute pants and basketball? Who did I think I was – Tony Kimbro?
The lessons here are simple. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Don’t let others judge you for what you wear. If you live in Jeffersontown or Fern Creek and you have a child that goes to Crosby Middle School, be prepared to spend a ridiculous amount of money on stupid clothes that your kid will only end up ruining doing something totally idiotic. And most importantly, never wear parachute pants while playing basketball.
photo courtesy of www.parachute-pants.com