0719 PV Deborah Paul .jpeg

I finally did it.

I’ve had three sizes of blue jeans in my bedroom bureau for a half-dozen years. Two size-10s, six size-12s and four size-14s. And that doesn’t include dozens of other long pants and capris in tri-sizes taking up space in my closet.

After watching the Netflix movie, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” a true story about a boy genius in Africa who created something wonderful and lifesaving for his village out of junkyard debris, holding onto so many jeans or cast off clothes seemed over copious and despicable.

On top of all this opulence, a little more than a year ago, I joined Weight Watchers and went slightly crazy. I had 30 pounds to lose which would put me below my goal weight, but I wanted to look my version of “normal,” lighten the load on my knees, and not just play footsies with the numbers.

It just seemed so important at the time.

I stuck strictly to the WW program and point system, and I didn’t purchase any of their yummy, little cheater products.

No brownies or no-fat chips for me. No sir, I went cold turkey and stuck to, well, chicken. I was a “point” bore to my husband and politely tolerated by everyone else.

Still being so strict with myself seemed inhumane, but I was never hungry and went from a size 14 to a 10 in about six months.

When Americans go on diets it’s always by choice. To others around the world dieting or donating clothes is as foreign to them as African penguins or platypus eating habits.

Still, I finally did it. I finally pulled out all the size 12s and 14s from my closet and donated the pile to the Alpine Attic on Pacific Coast Highway and Narbonne.

Not only did I empty a whole closet row and drawer—yikes, a silverfish!—but saying goodbye to those baggy comfort clothes made me feel a bit smug. I also found a missing earring, a crumbled up tee shirt and some fading, wadded up, drawer paper, minus the scent.

The jeans themselves, though clean, had the lingering smell of long-ago mustiness, which means I had ignored the problem of inflating and deflating body sizes far too long.

No matter what, I knew I had to get rid of the jeans. Not just because the movie prickled my conscience, but I almost lost my size 12s in Costco parking lot. I just couldn’t hold them up, anymore.

If it wasn’t for the belt loops and human opposable thumbs, I probably would have created a very cosmic scene, except, most people in Costco parking lots are in some kind of moneyed, go-get-em trance, and no one would notice an inadvertent moon, anyway.

Still, there is something psychologically assertive about getting rid of larger sizes once and for all.

I figure with the afore-mentioned Gloria Vanderbilt jeans I spent an average of $20/pair, which adds up to about $400 or more that I’m walking away from.

That amount of money alone (sigh) would have carried the African boy’s project to fruition a lot sooner than the hard-scratch months and months the movie depicted.

But getting rid of all those dungarees told me something else about my own indifferent affluence.

Though the poor will always be with us, as Jesus said in Matthew 26:11, a little belated or inadvertent compassion never hurt anyone.

Maybe my slightly worn pants and jeans will go to someone who really needs them, or maybe some accidental genius will use them for something wonderful and lifesaving like the boy who harnessed the wind.

It could happen.

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