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

Red China Turns U.S.A. Pink

by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand
I disagree with color experts like Susan Wright, Clothing and Textile Specialist, who claims "To select becoming colors for your wardrobe, you must consider three very important factors-your skin, your eyes and your hair." 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 color 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?

The question is, should I institute 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 paltry 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'm embarrased to tell people the new red shirt I bought turned everything else in the laundry pink, so I tell them itís the latest trend called Shanghai Chic. In today's politically correct America, am I now supposed to identify myself to the census guy as a Pink-American?

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 denies that. 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 fairy tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes," tells us that the Emperor had no clothes on at all. 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 say the experts. Gee thanks. Like I didnít have enough weight problems before? Can't they figure out that itís not easy being pink day after day? And that's not the only problem. Weíre advised by our own government to wash everything before wearing it. Not only do these clothes bleed into all the laundry even in cold water turning everything pink, they shrink to a size more easily worn by, say, Barbie or Ken.

You want to talk size? For Christmas, I bought a 6í tall friend a pair of menís pajamas made in China, size XL. 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 a crenulated waistline.

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.

And good luck to you trying to find Made in the U.S.A. labels. Best you can hope for is the deceptive label, "Assembled in the U.S.A." What're we, stupid? Like we can't figure out stuff is made in China and shipped to the U.S. for "assembling."

The only thing I can come up with to keep my assembled-in-the-U.S.A. pick-up truck from turning pink and shrinking to a VW when it rains, is 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"
February 8, 2010 column


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