Lee Pitts: Sticker Shock

If I appear to be walking a little funny lately it’s because it’s sticker season. It’s that time of year when all the foxtails dry out and attempt to attach themselves permanently to my clothing.

This time of year I find those seedy little thorns everywhere; in my boots, my socks, in between the sheets of my bed and all over the floor of my house. But they seem to have a particular affinity for my undergarments, like my socks and my underwear. Most people think I have a pained expression on my face this time of year because of the dry weather or the seasonal dip in the cattle market, but actually it’s because I am constantly being stuck in a sensitive place by a stiletto-like-sticker. And these burrs are starting to really get under my skin.

How, you may wonder, do I get a foxtail sticker stuck in my shorts? Normally that would be a good question, but then you haven’t met my wife. She is a great housekeeper and washes at least three loads of clothes a day, and mind you, there’s just the two of us. It’s this constant washing and drying that allows her to redistribute the stickers from the cuffs of her pants to my shorts, my socks, my sweatshirts and the bed sheets. The stickers are now very clean but this constant washing has done nothing to reduce their power to stick to everything.

Thus I have become a real fanatic about removing all the stickers prior to the spin cycle. You might say I have become a real “sticker” for not allowing the darn things in the house. I view fox tails just as I do cats and dogs, they should never be allowed inside.

Prior to entering our home we remove all shoes and socks in the garage and then we turn the cuffs of our pants inside-out because that’s the favorite hiding place of the stickers. Because I am a real sticker stickler and also because I wear the pants in our family (I hope my wife doesn’t read this) I am careful not to get out of the truck to open any gates during sticker season. I leave that up to the wife.

Besides standing funny at dinner parties, the odd sticker has caused me many embarrassing moments. None was more humiliating than what occurred last week when we went shopping at a big department store.

My wife selected a good looking pair of pants to try on and retired to the dressing room in the back of the store. The dressing room was more like a little cubicle with a door attached. Actually it was more like a half door where you could see the person’s feet but nothing else unless you got down on your hands and knees, which I swear I did not do. I suppose the doors were thus constructed so as to prevent thievery but that wouldn’t stop someone from wearing stolen clothes under the ones they came in with. This is just an observance, not that I’ve actually tried to do it.

Once my wife was undressed behind the door she yelled at me to bring a smaller size of the pants she had selected. The huge store was imposing enough but now I had to walk into the women’s section where there were no other men. Would a family friend see me and think I was a cross-dresser, transvestite, or something even worse?

Not only could I not find a smaller size, I couldn’t even find the same pants my wife wanted. I returned about twenty minutes later empty handed.

It was then that I saw it!

The pants on the floor of my wife’s dressing room had a large, ugly looking foxtail sticker protruding from the cuff. I reached down and grabbed the pants and was extricating the sticker when a yell erupted from behind the half door. At the same time I turned and saw my wife walking towards me from inside the store and unfortunately she had her pants on. Evidently she had grown tired of waiting and had gone looking for me. I don’t know who the lady was in the dressing room but it appeared as if I was trying to steal her pants.

Needless to say, I will be glad when sticker season is over.