Monday, April 30, 2007

Blue Money

Today, I went to Rome to spend the day with Dad. I'm helping him maintain his checkbook, take care of his bills, etc.--but I've gotten that fairly automated, so we don't really have to spend all that much time working on financial matters. Instead, the visits give us a time to talk, to run errands, to go to the mall and walk around idly... whatever Dad feels like doing.

Today, when we were wandering through the mall commenting curmudgeonly on the prices of clothes that we weren't willing to buy at 40% off, Dad stopped to look at some summer-weight slacks while I perused a pair of jeans.

"I don't think I've ever seen you wear a pair of jeans," I said to Dad.

"No, I don't think I ever have," he replied.

"How come?"

"I wanted jeans when I was a kid, but we couldn't afford them," he said. Turns out that it was much cheaper to buy a regular pair of pants than to buy a pair of denim jeans, which tended to be made of a heavier-weight fabric for durability... and thus were more expensive.

Today, in a world where everyone presumably wears jeans and they are among the cheapest clothes to be found at most big-box retailers, it's hard to imagine a time when jeans were actually too pricy. But that's the world in which Dad grew up--a time and a place when money was scarce and jeans were too expensive for a young boy.

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