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Comic jeanius

Friends, I give you...pants!

It was very hard to choose only five winners, and not only because the entries took up 128 pages when I pasted them into Microsoft Word, and not only because I printed them out in teeny-tiny type, four pages to a sheet, and not only because I dropped the stack halfway through and had to reassemble them in order.  No, it was hard because y'all are not only funny, but shameless, and absolutely deserving of every pair of magic ass pants I have to offer.

I want to showcase several honorable mentions as well, with my thanks for some great stories brilliantly told.  First come the sorry-but-you-didn't-winners. 

From Bec, with my condolences on her young son's orchidectomy:

So, about a month ago I met my sister at a restaurant for dinner. As we wait for our table my 3.5 year old son spies the vending machines, the nemesis of all parents who hate parting with their coins in return for cheap plastic crap that litters the floor of the car and toys boxes everywhere. So, my sister, who wants to be known as the favorite aunt, gives my son two quarters. He puts them in a 'pinball' machine where the rubber ball comes out at the end and you keep it. I had visions of us chasing those balls all over the restaurant, under tables and between legs. So, I made him put them in his pocket. During the meal, he kept taking them out to peek at them, making sure they were still there. As we were leaving, walking toward the exit past a group of idle waiters and hostesses, my son sees the vending machine and suddenly remembers the treasure in his pocket. He grabs the front of his pants. Apparently he can't feel anything in there because he says in a near panic "My balls! Where are my balls?!"

We slunk out of there with a trail of giggles following us.

From qwanty, who takes me back and shouts out to Elvis.  Hooray, pants!

When I was in the seventh grade I had a pair of pants I loved. There were two girls in the eighth grade – one,small, freckled, and seemingly harmless, the other large, Aqua-Netted, and absolutely horrible. They did not love my pants, and they conveyed this opinion to me in the cafeteria by way of stares and shared whispers and zingers like "Nice pants". Even as a socially anxious twelve-year-old I understood on some level that their aversion to my pants was utter bullshit. First of all, the pants totally looked like something Elvis Costello would wear, and if you can’t appreciate that then you don’t deserve to even wear pants. Second, the pants were made by Esprit. I knew that you could not simultaneously parade around school in Esprit sweatshirts, carry Esprit bags, and mock Esprit pants, particularly especially awesome Elvis-Costello-y Esprit pants. Clearly these girls had no sense of style and possibly no souls.

One day in the gym after lunch I was approached by a boy named Greg who wanted to know if I liked Freckles and Horrible. Of course I didn't like them. Actually, I sort of hated them. Fueled by an irrational devotion to protect my pants' honor, I said this to Greg. In fact, I went further than that. I told Greg I thought they were bitches. Moments later I saw Greg across the gym talking to Freckles and Horrible. They were all looking at me, and I realized that I'd made a huge mistake.

By the end of the day I’d heard from many a source that Freckles and Horrible were going to KICK. MY. ASS.  I wish I had a larger, shriekier font to communicate the magnitude of ass kicking it was rumored I was to receive. [You're welcome. — Ed.]  We considered running away, my pants and I, and starting a new life together somewhere else. Like any girl faced with this sort of problem, I turned to the person who clearly had the greatest deal of experience negotiating the rocky terrain of adolescent female social situations: my father.

His advice was this: Walk up to these girls, look them straight in the eye and say "If you have something to say about me, then say it to me. If you don't have the guts to do that, then shut up." Yes! This was obviously the solution! Who would possibly want to kick my ass after that sort of display? Have you the guts, ladies? HAVE YOU? He then bolstered my resolve to follow through with this stellar plan by playing Linda Ronstadt very loudly and encouraging me to sing along with lyrics modified to suit my situation: "You're no good, you're no good, you're no good, Freckles, you're no good!" A bully confrontation scene straight out of an after school special? An indignant Linda Ronstadt-fueled rage? There was no way this could fail!

The next morning I returned to school feeling somewhat less feisty than I had the prior evening, but still determined to follow through with The Plan. I told my best friend about The Plan, and she looked absolutely horrified. She suggested that maybe this was not such a good idea, that perhaps I should consider A Different Plan. I didn’t actually have one of those, so had to wing it. As it turned out, A Different Plan consisted of rushing from class to class, trying to blend in to walls, and by fifth period, crying in the bathroom. I was terrified. Horrible really was horrible, what with her black eyeliner and big, big bangs, and I was so small, with my moderately sized bangs and huge pants-loving mouth. And where were my pants now, in my moment of need? At home, curled up in a hamper, where I wanted to be.

Then it happened. The door opened, an in walked two girls – Cheerleader 1 and Cheerleader 2, the two most popular girls in school! Who were friends with Freckles! And Horrible! Who were also cheerleaders! How did I forget to mention this?! And these two most popular girls at school – who had the very most perfect bangs you could ever imagine – found me there, crying into a paper towel while I tried to figure out how to get hit or possibly hit someone else. They asked me what was wrong and I told them "Blah blah bitches and blah blah kick my ass." Then they took me into their arms and patted my hair, and told me that Horrible and Freckles were both bitches. Yes! Bitches! I was not to worry, they said. They would put a stop to this. And then they told me I was cute and suggested I try out for cheerleading. And after that, absolutely nothing happened, and I think I learned a lesson, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. Hooray pants!

From Becky, whose sparkle stuns me:

I was at home on bedrest for a bulging disc in my back when I got a call from my husband's work telling me that he was headed towards the hospital in an ambulance with chest pains ans shortness of breathe. In a panic I grabbed a pair of jean capris and threw them on and headed out the door. I managed to beat the ambulance to the hospital. As soon as they let me back to see the husband I was relieved to see he was OK. The doctor then came in to speak with my husband and gasped in horror and yelled,"Did he throw up on you?" Confused I looked down at my shirt and saw nothing. he Yelled again, "On your pants! Did he throw up on your pants?!" I then realized that the blue jean capris that I had on has this gold little pattern on the thighs with rhinestones on it. Apparently, it looked like vomit. DH and I still laugh about those pants and now call them my "vomit capris."

From lorrie, whom I hope Frizzle has forgiven:

When I was 16, I worked as a waitress at Kanuga, an Episcopalian church retreat. Most of the kids working there were from wealthy families and far more advanced in any way you can name than I was. I made friends with a curly haired girl named Frizzle Willis and kept borrowing her jeans. At the end of the summer I departed with them, promising to mail her a check for them. Naturally I didn't, being a total ah. Honestly, I'm a nice person. I don't know what got into me!

The next spring was Dad's doctoral defense. I didn't know it was pretty pro forma, and Mom made it sound as if there was an excellent chance he'd be selling pencils in the snow come winter time. So I decided to make amends to people in my life that I had hurt, sort of the AA philosophy. I quickly wrote a check for $10.00 and put it in the mail to Frizzle, and Dr. Callison received his degree.

"I had hoped that this memory might stay successfully buried in the past," Carole writes, "but if it's for the sake of free jeans (or at least a hearty laugh at my expense), I guess I will unearth it."  Just the laugh, I'm afraid, but, damn, was it a hearty one:

Like many other commenters I too was captivated by the late eighties/early nineties appeal of Guess jeans. The hopelessly tapered leg, the audacious butt triangle, and those sweet, sweet ankle zippers. Zippers. ON THE ANKLES.

Anyway, being a big fan of pink at the time (though I was also a big fan of New Kids On The Block, so think what you will), I got a pink pair for Christmas that I would typically pair with a HyperColor sweatshirt (remember those?) and a pair of white Keds with several bulgy folds of Jane Fonda slouch socks peeking out the top. Mall bangs secured for eternity by Aqua Net completed the look.

I was in middle school at this time and on one evening our school had a presentation to cap off my grade's completion of the D.A.R.E. program (which stood for Drug/Alcohol Abuse Resistance Education, and pretty much served to open my eyes to just how many different kinds of street drugs could possibly be available in my area if I chose to partake. Do 12-year olds really need to be learning about "angel dust" and goofballs?").

But I digress. On this particular evening some of the other cool pre-teen Guess jeans wearers and I were to put on some sort of lame skit that ended in dance to a Salt-n-Pepa song. A few bars into the dance I felt some seams in the crotch of my beloved Guess jeans give way, so I tried to bust my dance moves in a more controlled fashion.

But the shit really hit the fan when we reached the dramatic conclusion of the dance, a grand toe touch the ended in a split. And on that spectacular jump not only did my pants split from the back waistband to the front fly, revealing a mile of heart-festooned granny panties, but when I landed in my split what popped out but the mattress-like maxi pad that had somehow become dislodged during all my sweet booty-shaking.

Not only did the entire gymnasium full of people get a an eyeful of my womanity in all its splendor, but the boy I had a crush on for eight years, Daniel Primus, was right in the front row and witnessed the horror.

My mom was able to repair the jeans, but in my mind the damage was already done and I never wore a pair of Guess jeans again, ankle zippers or no ankle zippers.

(Is it wrong for me to say that I hope Daniel Primus Googles his name one day?)

Dawn!  Poor ruffle-butted Dawn writes:

Imagine you are a puny high school freshmen. Imagine a grandmother who searched high and low to find a pair of size 14 (girls) ruffled butt underwear, you know the kind that a 3 month old baby girl wears under her frilly pink dress. Now, imagine that its several days past laundry day and that is the lone pair of underwear left in your drawer. On that fateful day, I was also wearing a pair of draw string sweats. Let's just say that the knot failed at an inopportune time and I ended up mooning my dad's friend with my ruffled-butt underwear. 20 years later and I still cringe.

From Jenna:

Bits of info:

I do not wear bum covers. I have been going commando since pregnant with my daughter 12 years ago.

I am a comprehensive sex educator, who stands before classes of middle school students talking about everyone's bits and the verbs often associated.

I was wearing my one and only, long loved pair of Joe's jeans to class. I am sighing just thinking about those jeans, they were made out of stardust and unicorn hair, I swear. They had developed this habit of unzipping themselves, and I meant to have the zipper replaced — but, of course, never did. So, I am standing before a 7th grade class, with a condom on my hand, noticing that the kids are much more giggly that usual, even allowing for normal squirminess.

Yep — zipper down, bush out. Good times.

Oh, Denise, as if Hee Haw weren't bad enough...:

I was in second grade rockin' a pair of HeeHaw orange denim pants{ the characters from the show were peaking out the burnt orange barn doors printed in various spots. I have never liked country music, so I have no idea why I would have wanted them}. It is recess and some of us are playing hide and seek. I, being a hider, choose a spot in one of the steel oil drum turned garbage cans that are chained to the blacktop structure. I am standing in it, as it is nearly empty, and when the seeker is coming my way I ducked down really quickly and forcefully and become very, very stuck. The recess bell rings and I am there, stuck. The older kids come out for recess and I am there, stuck. I could not get out and after much trying and attempts from teachers they decide to call emergency. A fire truck came and two firemen used the 'jaws of life' thingy to stretch the can wider. My pants were ruined.

...they used the jaws of life.

Jenn wrote:

Do underpants count? I can sort of link it to my pants. I just went out East to visit my mom and because of a certain championship football game I couldn't get home. And they sent my luggage back across the country without me. After one solid day of trying to get a flight I came back to the parents' house for the night and decided to wash my pants (which had muffin, tea and gum on them somehow) and my, well, my delicates for the next day. A couple of school-day friends came over for the evening to get in an impromptu visit, and I looked oh so elegant in a big t-shirt of my dad's and a pair of pants from my mother, who is 6 inches shorter than me. My dad went to move my clothes into the dryer and came out with my lovely filmy, lacy thong in his hands (and my dad is not the kind of dad who would "get" a thong, or would ever TALK about my underwear, or so I would have thought) — and in front of everyone said, "is this seriously your underwear?? I thought this was just lint." Then he casually went back to the laundry room. Yeah — I felt cool.

Could have been worse.  He could have said, "I thought it was a circus tent."

Sara wrote:

Someone in high school lit a match on the fly of his jeans and I thought that was so cool. I tried it at a party and lit my crotch on fire. I was *cool*.

No, no, my dear, you were smokin'.

From the very friendly stellasmom:

Maybe my very first date, I was cluelessly naive but already very in love with chocolate. My date, with dreamy Andy Gibb feathered hair, took me to a movie and bought us two candy bars on the way in — I remember one was a Baby Ruth. We're watching the movie and he hasn't handed out the candy. I thought I'd give a hint — so I searched a bit and found what I thought was the candy bar in his right front pocket. I kept trying to get it out — my hints getting less and less subtle. My date thinking I was WONDERFUL! Finally, I stuck my hand in that right front pocket and realized it was no candy bar. In terror I snatched my hand away and of course the date had no clue why I was so hot and cold. Sigh. I wouldn't return to 7th grade for anything.

From Rayne of Terror:

During my first pregnancy I was so excited to get into maternity pants that I high tailed it to Old Navy where I found a pair of camel colored, flare legged cords. They were tight in the thigh and had the low waist with a wide stretchy band of material. I wore them to Kroger's on a Sunday to get breakfast. I squatted down in front of the donut case to better see my options when my pants and new maternity underpants slipped from my rear exposing my butt to an elderly couple at the deli. GAH! When I told the story, I changed the detail to milk. I bent down to get a gallon of milk.

Organic milk.  Organic soy milk.

bc wrote:

so i work at a hospital, one night i was bending by the side of the bed to empty a foley bag. my pants ripped and at the same time i farted. loudly. so i don't know what to say and decide to try and let it ride while thinking about the huge hole in the back of my pants, when the little old lady who's bag i was emptying says "oh excuse me honey. i've been very gassy lately." since there was a patient on the other side of the curtain i didn't fess up.  instead i said, "don't worry. everybody passes gass." I'm totally going to hell. so i put a jacket over my pants and went around the rest of the night breezy and gassy.

The only reason she didn't win is that they don't allow fancy jeans in Hell.  (In Hell it's Hee Haw pants for all.)

The meaty — but funny — but elderly underpanted Liz wrote:

My freshman year in college I went to a local boutique--the only clothing store within walking distance from school in my small college town. I picked out a pair of jeans and retired into the fitting room to admire myself in them. As it turned out, they were tapered. Too bad! I am 5'10", and at the time, a size 8--slender everywhere except my calves. For some reason, my calves have always been muscular--or "meaty" as one boyfriend's soccer-playing roommate once described them, in what I believe was meant to be a compliment. I blame this genetic quirk on my father, whose relatives were once described in a book as "built like rhinoceri". Anyway, I always have to get the "full calf" boots, wide-leg pants are my sartorial BFF, and tapered legs are, as will be demonstrated in this story, my nemesis.

But at this point I was merely wearing a poorly fitting garment in the privacy of a dressing room. No harm, no foul, I would simply remove them and move on to more flattering. I started to take them off. I got them down to my knees but there they stuck. I wiggled. No luck. I shook my leg. Nothing. I began peeling them off inside out, but somehow tried to do both legs at once and stumbled backward into the louvered door of the stall, which promptly burst open. I fell on my back into the center aisle of the small changing area, clad only in somewhat elderly white cotton underpants--and, of course, the jeans, now wrapped like seaweed around my lower legs. I looked up and met the startled gaze of several other girls from my small college. Horrified, I tried to scramble back into the dressing room, but my legs were pinned together by the infernal denim grip of the jeans, which made me flop around like a landed salmon for some time* until I somehow got to my feet and lurched back into the dressing room, where I continued to try to detach myself from the pants without success. Eventually the thumping sounds emanating from my stall prompted a sympathetic saleswoman to come and help extricate me from their clutches.

I was never able to show my face there again. Did I mention it was the only clothing store within walking distance of my college? I started taking the bus to the next town over to do my shopping. Fortunately, boot-cut jeans came in shortly after that. You may imagine with what fear and loathing I have regarded the current vogue for skinny jeans.

*Approximately equaling the Cretaceous era

Hahahahahahahahahaha, ohhhh, Em:

My year was probably about 1989-90. I wanted a pair of ZCavariccis in the worst way. I begged my parents for these pants. They would make me cool (since the pink high tops and double layered scrunch socks hadn't done the trick). The problem was ZCavaricci's cost $80. I believe my whole back-to-school clothing budget was $100 but this was CHRISTMAS! I was 14 and only recently had given up the Santa ghost. They bought them for me. They bought them to make their little girl happy at Christmas.

But their little girl wore them to a keg party. At 14. They should have bought me an ankle bracelet/tracking device. Long story a little shorter: the fuzz showed up and I went over a fence and tore the crotch out of my beautiful (in 1989) ZCavariccis.

"Fear not!" was the cry of my already-in-over-their-heads friends who got me into this mess to begin with (as you see, I was a perfect angel and still am). They were going to bring my pants to home ec and fix them. And because the stupid just never lets up when you are 14, I expected to recover my pants in perfect condition. You would have to really inspect these pants to see where I had torn them running from the police at an underage drinking party. What could possibly go wrong?

Perhaps that would have been the case had my friends not used fat white stitches in my very cool, very black ZCavaricci pants. I never was able to wear those pants again and spent the rest of the winter pretending they were dirty, wearing them while reading in bed with my legs crossed and pretending to lend them to the very friends who hoisted me up on that damn fence to begin with.

And finally, with all appropriate reverence, comes Billie:

I ONCE bought a pair of $150 jeans. They were on clearance for $40, and I had a $25 gift card. So they only cost me $15.00. What a deal!

They were the best pair of jeans I ever owned. It wasn't until I got them home that I noticed they were GSUS jeans. Get it? G-SUS? The button has a crown of thorns on it. Seriously.

Probably only ironic to me, because I was raised Pentecostal and wasn't allowed to wear pants until I was 17 and ran away from home.

I call them my Jesus jeans. You'd think your Jesus jeans would never wear out...but they have.

Now on to the winners!  Our first winner is Heather, whose political ambitions have been scotched by the very fact that she reads this site:

I worked all through high school in order to pay for a trip to Washington during my senior year. It was something no one in my family had ever done. It was something that we thought was reserved for the "rich" kids or the "smart" kids, of which I was convinced I was neither. I scrimped and saved and worked my teenaged butt to the bone to pay for that trip.

I paid for it, but I still had my shabby, hand-me-down wardrobe to wear on it. It mostly consisted of shoulder-padded sweaters and blazers, church clothes and some nice pants that my mom loaned me because she said they looked serious and professional, like I belonged in an office.

Heading to the Capitol one morning, my girly-girl classmates were appalled that I was wearing pants. "We're going to meet the senator! You can't wear PANTS!" "She's wearing PANTS!" I was horrified. Ashamed. I was certain that I'd committed a major breach of protocol, etiquette and good taste all in one fell swoop.

Standing on the Capitol steps with the senator, our class asked him to pose for a picture. Wanting to give the group something different, he climbed on top of a 7' high wall and looked down. Scanning the crowd, he said, "Well, who's gonna climb up here with me?" He pointed to me and said, "You're wearing pants. Get on up here!" Every camera in the class snapped. One picture ended up on the front page of the school paper. A picture of the senator and me. In pants!

Faye is our second winner, for having the cast-iron nerve to admit to wearing such an outfit:

Growing up, from the time I was six years old, I had a best friend. We were inseparable. Where she went, I went. Who she liked, I liked. What she did, I did. This went along fairly well, until she told me that she'd signed up for a "pre-modeling" class at the local department store. I wasn't so sure that I wanted to be a pre-model, but I did want to be with her. So, if pre-modeling it would be, then pre-modeling it would be.

Except for one thing.

S. actually was was a pre-model. She was 15, about 5' 7", and maybe (maybe!) 100 lbs soaking wet. I, on the other hand, was also 15, but was 5' tall and fat. At least I was optimistic!

I don't remember much about the class itself, except for a strange mascara-application technique that involved holding the wand steady and batting my eyes like I was having a seizure. What I do remember are the plans for the grand finale...the pre-models would walk around the store together, choose an outfit, and then do a runway show for family, friends, and assorted shoppers.

I was sick on the day that we would pre-select our clothes, but my mom took me to the store during the week, and oh, did I shop. I tried on outfit after outfit after outfit, but the universe was conspiring against me. It was 1980 and fashion was in a coma. Plus, things did not fit so well off the rack. But, I was a pre-model, damn it! And I was going to pre-model, come hell or high water.

Finally, the choice was made. Here is what I wore:

* Black satin tunic with magenta stripes, kaftan-style with ties at the ends of the sleeves
* Black satin pants, also with ties. They tied at the ankle, although I think that they were meant to be crops. They had large carpenter-style pockets, although they were baggy and poofy, Arabian-style
* White platform sandals, higher than any I had previously worn in public. (Why did they let me pick white, I can't help but wonder?)
* Floppy straw hat -- I forget the color, but I think it may have been white to match the shoes. The hat itself was reminiscent of nothing so much as the one that Linda Lovelace is wearing in the Deep Throat publicity stills.

That weekend, to the strains of music long-forgotten, probably "You Sexy Thing," or something equally inappropriate, I walked a runway for the first and only time in my life. Although, really, "runway" is kind of an exaggeration. "Walked" is, too.

The store set up a platform for us and some folding chairs for the gawkers. We came out a door, down an aisle, and up some stairs, stood on the platform, struck a pose or two, basked in the limelight of tepid applause, and, mercifully, went backstage again. When the show was over, there was bug juice and cookies. Although it seems to me that, if they were really intent on raising some pre-models, they would have served champagne and tic tacs. And heroin.

And that, my friends, is my story about pants...the story of the shortest, fattest pre-model ever and her short, fat career.

Bobbi is next:

When I was 19, I taught English in Brazil. I was living in a smallish city and I had a boyfriend whose family let me live with them. They were having a Sunday barbecue and the entire extended family and all of their friends were there. I was appropriately dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, enjoying a nice cold beer with everyone in the back yard when all of a sudden I felt some pins and needles on my ankle. It was a strange place to feel them and I sort of shook my leg. It seemed to intensify and it dawned on me that I had a prickly stinging catapillar up my pants. I jumped up and yelled "Shit"! and promply ripped my pants off flinging them to the other side of the patio without thinking! I had a slight fear of Brazilian creepy crawlies. Everyone turned and looked at me and stared, jaws dropped as I stood there in my Canadian granny panties, which had at least five hundred times more material than anything they have ever seen in underpants, looking compelety frightened. I quickly tried to explain in broken Portuguese what had happened. Someone ran over and picked up my pants, looked inside and declared nothing was in there. I looked at me leg and there was no sting marks. I then realized that I had indeed torn my pants off, threw them accross the patio, in the middle of a party, cursed and exposed myself to my boyfriend's family and friends for NO REASON at all! I was mortified and went to my room for the remainder of the party and cried. I called home to cry. I couldn't look anyone in the eyes for ages and they must have thought I was completely insane!

...with my sincere thanks for coining the phrase, "Canadian granny panties," which I hope to work into conversation frequently.

Our fourth winner is kari, who can aubergine my gearbox anytime:

I'd just gotten the assignment I'd been working for: I was going to work for my company's London branch! Woo hoo!

Unfortunately, I arrived a few days earlier than my bags. And I'm American-sized--I'm over six feet tall. But I was desperate--my first day of work was the next day. So I went into Marks and Spencer's and found the first saleswoman I could find.

"Do you have any long khaki pants?" I asked.

The fine fine cultured British woman looked down her nose at me (impressive as she was six inches shorter) and with stiff jaw and nasal sigh, intoned, "I believe you mean khahh-ki trouserrrrs."

Sure whatever, I just need clothes. I found a skirt that would do, but I was confused by her attitude. I asked my new coworkers the next day, and as I got to the part of the story where I asked for the khaki pants, the British coworkers started tittering.

Turns out, the American pronunciation of khaki — sort of like "cack-y" — sounds remarkably like slang for "shit-filled".

And "pants"? In England, those are underwear.

So I had asked for long, shit-filled underwear.

Apparently, Marks and Sparks do NOT carry those.

And finally, there is this cautionary tale from one Buttercup Q. Skullpants:

A couple of Thanksgivings ago, I was flying to visit my parents, who had recently moved to another state. Mom was feeling a little homesick and asked if I would bring her a jar of Teddy peanut butter (her favorite local brand).

When I got to the security gate, I made the charming discovery that the airline wouldn't let passengers bring unopened peanut butter on board. "But it's for my sweet, elderly, homesick mother," I pleaded.

"You'll have to throw it away, Ma'am. FAA regulations."

I wasn't about to let some tinpot Homeland Security bureaucrat deny my mother her precious peanut butter. So I hoofed it back to the car, opened the trunk, found a plastic bag and a Swiss Army knife, and began scooping the peanut butter into the bag. Since it was my lucky day, I promptly cut myself with the blade, but that didn't deter me. I continued to scoop, curse, fling blood, mutter, and rummage until the bag was full. Security cameras began to swivel in my direction with great interest.

Luckily, I happened to be wearing a pair of copiously flared Seven jeans that were wide enough to smuggle a parade float. I stuffed the bag up underneath one leg, and stretched my sock around it to hold it in place. Then I waddled ever so naturally through the metal detectors and across to the gate. Nobody batted an eye. I settled gingerly into my seat, reeking of Teddy, and didn't move for the rest of the flight.

"What's this?" my mom asked three hours later, when I reached under my pant leg and handed her a gooey, wadded up roll of blood-flecked, peanut buttery plastic.

"Lunch," I said. "And you'd better enjoy it."

If you are one of the winners, please send me your full (real) name, mailing address, size, and preferred style name so that I can report you to the TSA.  Um, I mean, see that you get your jeans.