August 15th, 2018

The not so short shirt story. (Part III)

Posted on May 01, 2007.

I was reminded, at this point, of my recent findings pertaining to the uselessness of deep breaths when one requires shoring up of one’s aggressive spirit, and mustering of assertive courage. This reminder, in itself, of course was of little utility; but it did lead one into contemplating alternative techniques of shoring and mustering the requisite spirit and courage respectively. There are instances in one’s life when one must delve into one’s own pool of combative resources and surface with the essential tools that one needs to tackle salespeople who refuse to warm up to the idea of one needing to exchange a shirt for another article of clothing. There was little doubt about this being one of those instances, and the need to carry out the delving operation had, therefore, never been so obvious.

I made short work of such delving and diving, and did not fare badly at surfacing either; and were I to state that my exceptional skill at delving into pools and there-after surfacing gracefully had left me glowing with a pride that bordered on sinful, I would not be stretching the truth very much. The disappointment only set in when the realization dawned upon me that if there was one way to describe the pool wrongly it was to call it ‘a pool of combative resources’.

Talk of pools and the lack of combative resources therein aside, and the uselessness of the contents of such pools in tackling impertinent salesmen notwithstanding, the ensuing chain of events begs telling; not in the least because one thinks the ensuing chain of events to be of any importance at all, but because there is no telling what lessons a perceptive mind might glean from an incident that many would hasten to describe as a simple market transaction form everyday life. Who are we, the digressing mortals, to deprive such perceptive minds of lessons they might use to usher in new eras?

Where would modern Physics have been, had it not been for Isaac Newton and the laws of gravitation he had introduced the world to? Can we begin to imagine what the world might have been like, had Sir Isaac Newton’s attention been diverted away by a digression just when he had begun to contemplate the factors which had prevented that historic, and one hopes not so juicy, apple from landing anywhere but where it had landed – namely on top of the residential premises of one of the most perceptive minds ever? Am I, therefore, to refrain from playing my part in shaping the history of future by allowing petty digressions to prevent me from completing the narration of the ensuing chain of events?

Perhaps, it is misleading to label the remainder incident as a chain of events; for there is no dearth of puritans who might feel that ‘event’ is an eventful word, and that the incident being related here falls abysmally short of being qualified as a singular event, let alone a chain of events. On the other hand, there are those who believe in phenomenon like ‘the butterfly effect’, where every single incident irrespective of its stature is deemed to alter the course of all events to come, and hence every incident is, on its own, credited with setting off of a chain of events. Given the pressing need to complete the narration, and the new-found resolve to play one’s part in shaping the history of future, one must leave this excellent philosophical conundrum about what does or does not constitute a ‘chain of events’ unanswered.

One is given to philosophical broodings, and it is not too difficult to imagine how surfacing with no combative tools from that resourceless, and hitherto over-rated, pool might have induced one such philosophical travail; but one learns to keep one’s chin up, and so one did, and one learns to make do without combative tools in an exchange with a visibly impatient and chronically impertinent salesman in a garments store, and so one did.

Raising my chin to a most respectable, even defiant level, I cleared my throat and asked aloud if I may consider exchanging the shirt for, perhaps, a pair of trousers? I had intended for the question to be directed at the salesman, but it is entirely possible that my body language and tone of voice might have given the impression that I had had, what the salesman might have considered, a most silly idea, and had had the absence of mind to wonder to myself aloud. The salesman, being no novice, knew better than to offer his opinion on a question a customer might have muttered to himself.

Left with no other alternative, and emboldened by the thought that now at least the salesman had an idea of exactly what I wanted done with the shirt, I posed a direct question to the salesman, and inquired if he would not mind showing me a few pairs of trousers instead, since none of the shirts seemed to have been stitched with yours truly’s dimensions as the model dimensions. What ensued might have been called pin-drop silence were it not for the noise of blood rushing to the salesman’s head, and for the fearsome beating of my heart. When it was clear that niether of the noises would subside, and it began to sound as if it were my heart pumping blood to his head, the salesman rightfully decided to not wait for complete silence, and spoke.

To say that he was articulate would be simplifying matters much, and would not even begin to do justice to describing the oratory skills and the verbal prowess he so clearly possessed. Unfortunately, his articulate qualities chose to forsake him under such duress and despair, and his oratory skills were reduced to those of an average salesman in a PnC store.

“Why you want take trrousers?”, he despaired. A most germane inquiry, one must admit, since what is one to do with a trouser, if one refuses to purchase a shirt. Whoever heard of wearing just a trouser, when one could just as easily have worn a shirt and wrapped a bedsheet around the rest of the torso. I was most impressed by the dollops of logic his inquiry so visibly was topped with. As it were, I was impressed wrongly; his next inquiry made it clear that his first question had less to do with galvanizing the logic sectors of one’s mind into action, and more to with challenges of a more basic nature at a more personal level. “Then I haaf to make length, and alteration”, he explained.

Not that this was any less impressive; in eight words and a comma, he had reminded me how foolish I had been in assuming that companies which had not stitched any shirts with my dimensions in mind, would have flooded stores with trousers that would not only fit me very well, but probably would carry my name on them too. In a less ideal world, however, things worked differently. Trousers were bound to not fit me, and while some would require to be loosened an inch or two at the waist, and some would need to be shortened an inch or two to ensure I did not present the picture of a dwarf in a giant’s attire, it was to be assumed that most trousers stitched for normal people would need both these operations before I could hope to don them without sending people into fits of laugher.

Such a need would make it obligatory on the salesman to make arrangements for such alterations to be made, since my obvious indigence announced the tragic fact to the world that I was not one of those affluent kinds who have tailors and such skillful people at their beck and call at all hours, and who do not need to uncourteously burden poor PnC salespeople with the additional task of getting the requisite alterations made to the trousers. I understood his despair, and I readied an apology for the trouble I was sure to cause him in moments to come, but it was an exrcise in futility; being a gentleman who knew the perils of losing his temper in a most public place, the salesman chose to detach himself from the situation with immediate effect.

The name of the salesperson who strode in valiantly to occupy the difficult position very recently vacated by his more excitable colleague was Mohammad; and in the very first few minutes of our discourse with him on the subject of a shirt not wanted and a trouser most urgently wanted, we realized that Mohammad was ET – as in extra terresterial. Not just because he used his super-powers to find solutions to all of the ridiculous problems, which a salesman is guaranteed to encounter when dealing with yours truly, but because of a much more sinister and despairingly visible sign:

He smiled!

The End.

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