Barry Smith: Panting to have famous pants
September 26, 2002
I’m not obsessed about it or anything, but lately I’ve been wondering what I need to do to get my pants in a museum.
The seed was planted about two years ago, while my friend Kevin and I were visiting the Experience Music Project in Seattle. The EMP is the new state-of-the-art music museum, and one of the attractions was the Jimi Hendrix Room, wherein one could find, among other memorabilia, Jimi’s pants.
Jimi’s pants were a fluorescent, peachy hue, and kinda velvety. (Due to heavy museum security, I wasn’t able to touch them to confirm their velvetiness, but I leaned in real close.) And they weren’t just pinned to a wall behind some glass, they were displayed on a mock-up of a stage that Jimi might have once played. There was a drum kit, some amps, a few mic stands, and a pair of disembodied velvet pants standing center stage.
“I was in the same room with Jimi Hendrix’s pants,” Kevin said as we headed off to other exhibits. I felt the same way.
“You know you’ve really made it when your pants are in a museum,” he added later, obviously, like me, still thinking about those pants.
And then I felt a little depressed, realizing that unless something unforeseen happens, the chances of my pants ending up in a museum are pretty slim. Does this mean that I, therefore, have not made it?
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I mean, if I were to die tomorrow, there is almost no way my pants would be housed in a museum, not even in the back room.
It isn’t as if I’ve been slacking or anything. My career path is a steady (if slow) one, my horizons are expanding in a constant (if controlled) manner, I stretch my boundaries from time to time, take risks, step outside of the box, change my paradigm, etc. … But I’m thinking it may take more than safe career choices to get your pants in a museum.
I guess I could take a tip from Jimi, who took a lot of acid and played the guitar like an alien space god. I have some first-hand experience with hallucinations, and I can fake it pretty good on the harmonica, but I don’t see either of these qualities, or even the combination of the two, as something that would spark a post-mortem bidding war on my pants.
I know what you’re thinking: Maybe I should embrace a different quality of pant. My current favorite pair are of the second-hand variety, denim, only slightly worn. These work well for me, but probably not high on a museum director’s list.
“Are these pants flashy?” the director asks over the phone.
“Not by conventional standards,” my executor would reply.
“We’ll be in touch,” the director says.
“You have my number.”
Sure, I’ve considered switching to something a little more velvety, maybe with rhinestones. But I’m not sure I have the personality to pull off such a pant, and I don’t want to be too obvious. You see me in pants like that and you’re like: “Oh, look at him, trying to gets his pants in a museum.” I don’t want people thinking that about me.
I don’t mean to give the impression that this is all I do. I realize that there are better, more charitable uses of my time than sitting around all day racking my brain about how to get my pants in a museum. No, I understand the benefits of lending a helping hand, comforting the needy, being a friend to those who have none, and so forth, but all the while I find myself thinking ? you guessed it ? “Is this altruistic act going to land my pants in a museum?”
I suppose, for my own peace of mind, I should accept that there are other ways to “make it.” One could be considered a success based on many other criteria. Like, for instance, success could be measured by … uh … success is … hmmm …
Dammit! -Nothing- comes to mind except having my pants in a museum!
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