The Case Against Pants

This is a true story. Trigger warning: long wait at the checkout line.

For the sake of protecting the guilty, I shall change some names.

Yesterday, I went to a store to get pants. Let’s call this store JC Lenny’s. I had been to JC Lenny’s previously on Sunday. On Sunday, I had seen a colossal amount of pants on sale, 70% OFF! On Sunday, there were five double-sided twenty foot long racks of pants, over by the escalator. On Sunday, however, I was with my daughter. I made a mental note to come back the next day and shop for pants, alone, so that I could spend some time trying things on. So, yesterday (Monday), I went back to JC Lenny’s and somehow, all of those racks of pants were gone. Just gone.

There seemed to be about as many employees at JC Lenny’s as customers. I found one, moving  a rack of clothing (no pants) and asked her,

“Could you tell me where are the pants?”

But she ran away, hiding behind her rack of clothing! She scurried like a mouse. I chased after her,

“Excuse me! Excuse me! Where are the pants?” The sales girl stopped, trapped. Her eyes darted from side to side.

“They aren’t anywhere. They’re all over. Scattered. I have to tell him. I’m sorry, I have to tell him.”

I didn’t understand.

“So where are the pants?” I asked.

“They aren’t.”


“I’ll tell him. I have to tell him. You’re the fifth person today,” she added.

“The pants aren’t..?”

“No, they aren’t,” she said and she scurried away again.

I decided she was just crazy. I went looking for pants on my own.

I found the women’s pants, lots and lots of pants, but they were all size 1X, 2X, and 3X. I wear a ten. I found another store worker, this one seemingly normal. I decided specificity was the soul of getting what I wanted. I spoke very clearly, as though talking to someone hard of hearing,

“WHERE ARE THE PANTS SIZE TEN?” The woman smiled and said,

“Oh, do you mean dress pants?”

“No! Pants like these,” I said, pointing to my legs, which had pants on them.

“Oh, those are in juniors, other side of the store!” she said.

I walked all the way to the other end of JC Lenny’s, and indeed, I found a rack of pants. Finally! But they were in Juniors sizes, and I don’t know what size I wear in juniors. (At forty-two, I’m hardly a Junior. At this point, however, I had completely given up on finding any medium-sized grown women’s pants. Clearly, at JC Lenny’s, they assumed that as soon as you turned twenty-three, you were a 1X.) So, I tried on twelve pairs of “Juniors” pants. Two of them fit. The two that fit were almost exactly the same style as some pants my nine-year-old daughter wears, but whatever. Pants! I just needed some freakin’ pants!

I went to the check-out with my two pairs of pants. Huzzah! No line! I was triumphant.

“Would you like to get a JC Lenny’s charge card?” the well-dressed clerk asked.


“It will save you thirty-two percent today,” she added.

“Oh, well, okay… if it doesn’t take too long.”

“Really?” she said. “Woo hoo! It won’t take long at all.”

“Um,” I was suddenly uncertain, but she was already typing in my license number.


I stared at her. Her name tag said, “Mary.” (Not her real name.)

“Shama wa shosh ka…? How do you pronounce your name?”

“Shoshanah Marohn.”

“Ah, shashamah… what a beautiful name!”

I attempted to smile. The time was 1:03 PM. I could see it on her register, which even counted the seconds: 1:03:24… 1:03:25… She had me enter my social security number into a keypad. My birthday. She had me sign. She double checked my address. I don’t know what she was doing and then…

1:07:13 PM “The paper didn’t come out,” she said, “The paper is supposed to come out and then the diddly thing and then I scan it and then… but the paper didn’t come out.”

“That’s okay,” I said. “I’ll just put it on another card.”

“No, no,” she said. “No. We will figure this out.”

“I would like to leave, though,” I said. She looked concerned, only for a moment,

“Are you on your lunch break?”

“Well, I mean, no, but I do want to leave.” She was suddenly not concerned.

“Oh, okay. I will re-enter your name. That might work.”

“Really, I can just pay on another card…”

1:14:27 PM She was saying it again, now, more agitatedly,

“The paper didn’t come out,” she said, “The paper is supposed to come out and then the diddly thing and then I scan it and then… but the paper didn’t come out. I re-entered it and the paper didn’t come out. You see, the paper is supposed to come out.”

“That’s okay,” I said. “I’ll just put it on another card.”

“No, no,” she said. “No. We will figure this out. I will call the LDS.” (What does LDS stand for? She was calling the Latter-Day Saints?) “I will call the LDS.”

“Really, I can just pay on another card…”

“NO! I am calling the LDS.”

At this point, I considered running. Unfortunately, she had my driver’s license. But I could re-apply for one. I mean, I have a passport. But then there was an issue with the soda. I had gotten thirsty and taken a soda from the cooler. I had taken a sip. I only had a ten dollar bill. I had already taken a sip of the soda, so I should really pay for it, and if I ran away they would have all of my information from the credit card application and come after me for that soda I drank and didn’t pay for… I could leave the ten dollars on the table, but that’s really too much for a soda. What could I do? I was trapped.

1:23:01 PM She was typing again.

“The paper didn’t come out,” she said, “The paper is supposed to come out and then the diddly thing and then I scan it and then… but the paper didn’t come out.”

“That’s okay,” I said. “I’ll just put it on another card.”

“No, no,” she said. “No. We will figure this out.”

“Really, I don’t care at all about the credit card. I just want to leave. I need to leave here sometime soon.”

“The LDS is coming,” she said.

Then the LDS came! Hallelujah! But, she just … oh, for the love of God! She did exactly what Mary did, and the LDS said,

“The paper didn’t come out. The paper is supposed to come out and then the diddly thing and then I scan it and then… but the paper didn’t come out.”

“That’s okay,” I said. “I’ll just put it on another card.”

“Just let her put it on another card,” said the LDS. (I love you, LDS., I thought.) “Just give her the discount manually, and let her put it on another card.”

Now, we were getting somewhere! I took out my credit card. The end was in sight! I would escape soon! I took another sip of my soda. Mary was typing in the register again. We were getting places! It was going to all be okay! The LDS was half-way across the store when Mary yelled to her,

“But the paper didn’t come out, the paper is supposed to come out and then the diddly thing and then I scan it and then… but the paper didn’t come out. How do I charge her if the paper didn’t come out?”

The LDS turned around and looked at us, I with my half-drunk Coke trickling out of my mouth in rage, Mary with a pleasant, yet questioning look on her face. My pants, on the counter. Not my pants, yet. Just the pants. Pants living in Purgatory. A no-man’s-land of ownership, where the pants were. There, on the counter in JC Lenny’s.

We’re still there. If you’re going to the mall today, could you drop me off a granola bar and a cup of tea? I would be so grateful. I’m at JC Lenny’s, at the Juniors register.


Win A Portrait of Yourself!

I’ve started a Facebook group now, “Artsy Fartsy Coloring with Shoshanah Marohn.” In order to really start it off right, I’m doing a contest!

CONTEST: Let’s kick off this new group with a contest! Win a free colorable (pen and ink) PORTRAIT OF YOURSELF, done by me, Shoshanah Marohn!

To Enter:

  1. Join the Facebook group Artsy Fartsy Coloring with Shoshanah Marohn.
  2. Post a picture you colored from a book by Shoshanah Marohn onto the “Artsy Fartsy Coloring with Shoshanah Marohn” group page. (Or, if your book is still in the mail, you can’t find your book, you can’t afford a book: color this picture and post.)Chris Wagoner

When: Post the picture by noon on March 2nd, 2017.

Why: Because it’s fun, silly.

How to increase your odds: Post more than one picture! Every picture is an entry. Colored pictures on this page make me happy.

Share this wherever you like.

Winner will be drawn at random.

Let the games begin…


When Your Work Outlives You

The Viking Troll is one of three trolls made by the late Greg Hartman. The other two were: a troll smoking a pipe and a troll giving the peace sign (the trolls seem to give hints to his actual character in real life). The peace troll and the pipe smoking troll have moved to Maine, where their owner now lives. But we in the Village of Mount Horeb can still enjoy the Viking Troll, who stands in front of the Grandstay Hotel (“the New Hotel,” as we locals call it):

The Viking Troll by Greg Hartman

So, Greg Hartman did pass away, but I still felt like researching this troll a bit. My friend Lori, thankfully, knew all about it, and so this afternoon, I found myself at the Main Street Pub and Grill, talking with Hartman’s daughter, Hailey. Hailey is only nineteen, but she has the maturity of someone who has lost one parent and is looking after another. (She talked about convincing her mom to drink fruit smoothies for her health.) Hailey seemed really happy to know that her dad’s troll would be in a coloring book that children would be coloring. It seems to give her some satisfaction to see her father’s art live on.

It got me thinking, about art and mortality. This week, two fellow bloggers have died (Arbroath and Jacqueline). But their blogs are out there, indefinitely, voices in the night. Cracks of light in the darkness. I find that comforting.

I’m also glad that I’m publishing all of my silly works of art, so I, too, can leave things out there, indefinitely, living lives of their own. They’re like children, only more obedient. I’ll be long dead, and in a bargain book bin somewhere, a person will pick up a copy of “Birds in Beards Coloring Book” or “Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen” and say, “What the -?” Imagining that scene lightens my fear of death.

Greg Hartman, wherever you are, I hope I can do your troll justice.


Six Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About the Trolls of Mount Horeb

My next big project is a coloring book, “The Trolls of Mount Horeb.” The Mount Horeb Historical Society contacted me, saying that they would like an original coloring book to sell in their new Driftless Museum (or is it the Driftless Historium?) opening this June. (HOW COOL IS THAT?????) Since Mount Horeb is now billing itself as “The Troll Capital of the World,” it seemed fitting to make a coloring book of all of the trolls here.

In case you have never been to Mount Horeb, let me just explain for a moment: All over town, there are these statues, mostly of wood. They tend to be two to ten feet high, and they are all of these creatures, these trolls, doing different things. They’re really cute. You can take a selfie with them. It’s fun. (Read about the history of the trolls here.) They were created by a few different artists. I’ve been calling all of those artists and getting their permission to draw their work for the coloring book, and to learn a little bit about their work. Today, I called Bob Younger, creator of the troll at Culver’s, the troll at Village Smile Care, and the troll at Farmers Savings Bank, all in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

Bob Younger is such a wealth of information! Let me just list some of the things I learned about trolls from Bob Younger:

  1. The type of trolls we have sculptures of in Mount Horeb are called, “Land Trolls.”farmers bank troll
  2. Land Trolls are independently wealthy. They just work and interact with us to keep busy. This troll looks a little bit like he’s robbing the bank, but actually he just has all of that money, himself. He would have no reason at all to steal money.
  3. Land Trolls are the most social of all trolls. The Bridge Trolls are second most social, and the Underground Trolls are the least social of all.
  4. Land Trolls are also the largest of the three types of trolls, unless you count the Bridge Trolls living under large bridges- because a Bridge Trolls’ size depends on the size of the bridge he lives under, of course. Bridge Trolls can actually be quite massive.Toothbrush Troll
  5. This troll takes care of the teeth of all mystical beasts and creatures. The toothbrush he is holding is for a small dragon. Of all of the mystical creatures, he has the most trouble taking care of the fairies, because he has a hard time getting his big hands to fit in their tiny little mouths. Culver's Troll
  6. Trolls like butter burgers and frozen custard. This troll was stopping by for a snack, just like you or I would.

Well, I hope you’ve learned a lot! I know I have. All of these trolls pictured today are by Bob Younger. He is still a working artist, making wooden sculptures of all sorts of things. Click on his name to see more of his awesome creations!