My best friend told me a story once about her youngest son, Scott, who was seven years old and in the first grade. It seems that he was the reluctant owner of a pair of gaudy, green-plaid dress pants. Years ago, children wore their Sunday best to school. So, the day finally came when it was the plaid pants’ turn to hop on the school bus and show up in the schoolyard.
Well, this didn’t sit too well with Scott, and he proceeded to moan and groan and flop himself around the bedroom, whining in protest. But, it was no use; it was Monday morning, laundry day, and everything else was dirty. Plus, my friend reminded him, he was using up precious cartoon time arguing. So, he finally relented, and let himself be dressed in the dreaded plaid pants, under protest. He ate his breakfast quickly and silently, and went into the living room to watch his cartoons, awaiting the bus.
When the time came to go outside to wait for the bus, Scott kissed his mom, grabbed his lunch and backpack, and went out the door, as his mom began clearing the dishes. A few minutes later, she was surprised to see her son march in the kitchen door, followed by his dad, who’d gone to the store earlier.
“What are you doing here?” she asked her son. “I found him out front, hiding behind the hedges, up against the house,” announced her husband, somewhat confused, since their son had always liked school up to this point.
“Everybody will make fun of me in these pants!” moaned Scott. “No, they won’t,” offered his dad, trying to sound reassuring, while stifling a chuckle. “I’ll bet somebody will like them. I’ll tell you what, Scottie. I’ll give you a dollar, if no one likes your pants. How’s that?”
With that, Scott thought about the Matchbox car he could get with his dollar, and reluctantly agreed to give the plaid pants a try. So, his dad drove his little “plaid-clad lad” to school, gave him a hug, and dropped him off.
Fast-forward to the end of the day. Scott was seated at the kitchen table, eating his after-school snack, when his dad came through the door. “You owe me a dollar,” Scott said, triumphantly.
“What do you mean?” asked his dad, surprised at the outcome of the now-infamous plaid pants deal. “Eighteen out of twenty-one kids didn’t like ’em,” replied his son.
“Well, then, see? Three kids liked them,” reasoned his dad. To that, Scott announced, matter-of-factly, “Nope. They were absent!”
With that, Mom and Dad both burst out laughing, as his dad handed him his well-earned dollar.