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  Texas : Features : Humor : Column - "A Balloon In Cactus"

The Pinking of America

by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand
ďColor is probably the most important aspect of your wardrobe," notes Thelma Thompson of the U.S. Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. If that's true, then how come everything that comes out of my washing machine is pink? I hate pink.

Itís not only that I look like a rotund salmon in pink, but who wants that to be the only hue in the closet? What if someone dies and I go to the funeral in pink? What am I, a lawn flamingo?

Sure, sure, I know how important pink is. Itís the color of the elephants we see when tipsy. We can be tickled pink and feel in the pink. That isnít what Iím talking about. Iím talking about being pinkified against my will. If it isnít the fault of the United States Government's Department of the Exterior that all my stuff turned pink, then whose fault is it? Iím contemplating a lawsuit against the Fed, the World Trade Organization, and the Peopleís Republic of China on charges of Subliminal Invasion of My Utility Room.

Let me publicly state that I have nothing against any country that has the Great Wall and the Yangtze River. Chinaís been around for over 2,000 years, not an innocent 200 like the U.S.A. Why, the Chinese invented wheelbarrows, whiskey, matches, kites, iron and steel, parachutes, playing cards, the suspension bridge, the fishing reel and the favorite game of all the smarties I know, chess. With an impressive record like that, wouldnít you think they could make clothing thatís colorfast?

But noooooo, thatís not the case, which is why practically everything I own is now pink. I don't tell people the new red shirt I bought turned the laundry pink, I tell them itís the latest trend called Shanghai Chic.

Unlike clothing made in the U.S.A., which has rules requiring colorfast and pre-shrunk fabrics, we appear to overlook those regulations when it comes to imported fabrics, though the Fed heatedly denied that to me on the phone just last week. You know how they are. They don't allow child labor here either, but there are probably Chinese children slaving away on clothing we have a yen for.

Thatís probably why the fable's Emperor had no clothes; not only was he unable to find anything that fit, he probably didnít look good in pink either.

ďClothing colors affect apparent body size. Generally, warm, light ... colors make the figure appear larger...Ē says Thelma Thompson. Gee thanks Thelma. Like I didnít have enough weight problems before? As to ďmonochromatic harmony,Ē itís not easy being pink. And that's not the only problem.

Weíre advised to wash everything before wearing it. These clothes bleed into all the laundry even in cold water, and shrink to a size more easily worn by, say, Barbie or Ken. I bought a 6í tall friend a pair of menís pajamas, size large, made in China. He told me that when they were washed, the elastic waistband shrank to about the diameter of his wedding ring and the new pajamas fit no one in his house except his 6-year-old son, who still has skin wrinkles from the waistband.

Itís no laughing matter after your new duds have shrunk in the wash and you try to get into them, especially the ones you pull on over your head. Itís like wearing pantyhose on your face. Like a Chinese finger puzzle, the more you struggle, the tighter you're trapped.

The solution must be to check out the malls in Shanghai. With any luck, everything there is made in the U.S.A.
Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
September 28, 2004
 
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