A couple weeks back the family and I were hanging out at Fred and Mariah's when I was surprised to see my pants hanging on the back of the Lab's bathroom door. I say surprised - not so much because they were hanging in their bathroom, but because I had been looking for them for some time and couldn't recall where they were. When I saw them on the back of Fred's door, though, I remembered: Fred borrowed my sweat pants when he was at our house once and got his pants wet, though I can't recall exactly how.
I walked back out into Fred's living room and told him, "Hey my pants! I'm glad I found them; I'll take 'em home tonight." "Nope," replied Fred.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean you can't have them."
"But they're my pants. And they match my Chicago Cub pullover. That my wife bought for me for by 40th birthday."
Fred explained, "I'm not saying you can't have them ever. Just not now."
"Not until the NHL playoffs are over."
Ahhh. It was all becoming clear to me. Fred went on to explain that he was wearing my pants when the Red Wings won their first playoff game, and that they were now designated "lucky."
Now before I explain further, you need to understand that Fred is serious about hockey. Fanatical even. He has watched every Red Wing game this season. All of them. Including the pre-season. (115 total) What is more, he is deliberate - obsessive compulsive even - about his hockey watching habit. He records every game on DVR and watches them after his wife and children are in bed. So he won't be interrupted. In fact, if you try and call Fred on the phone on a "Red Wing night," he generally answers the phone, not with "Hello," but with, "I'm taping the game, don't tell me anything."
With playoff hockey, magnify that by a factor of, say, ten. You're lucky if he answers the phone at all, lest his DVR date be ruined by learning the game's outcome ahead of time. So serious is he about this that, when we were at the racetrack last Saturday and the track announcer said, "Red Wings fans, your score at . . . " Fred covered his ears with his hands and began shouting, "la la la la la la la la la," and literally ran out of the stands and headed for his truck. I'm not making that up.
Back to my pants. Apparently they have become part of a mojo ensemble. After the three Lab-lings are tucked into bed, Fred dons my pants, his white t-shirt (the one with the blue paint spots) and his Steve Yzerman jersey. He camps out in his leather lazy-boy and, with hockey stick in hand, watches the game. Don't even bother trying to call. He's in the zone.
Here's the thing I don't understand. Fred tapes the game, and the game is generally over when he watches it, so how helpful are my pants? I mean the game is over. So aren't my sweatpants' sorcery pretty much impotent at that point? I asked Freddo about this and his reply was simply, "Just let me live with my illusions." Okay. I can do that.
The Wings just lost. I guess I'll have to wait until Friday night to get them back. Then again, with tonight's loss, maybe he'll decide the juju is all played out and finally wash them. And start answering his phone again.
Until Michigan football in September.
Thank God my sweatpants are blue and red and not blue and maize.