A few months ago I purchased these shorts from the Lance Armstrong Foundation Store:

I show them to you now, because they expose far more of my “legs” than ANYONE will see in public. And probably not even in private; they are my SECRET shorts. One may ask why I purchased them. Well, they were on sale.

Before the peanut gallery starts yapping about how just because it’s on sale it is still not FREE. Yes, yes, I KNOW. Blah, blah, BLAH. I had my reasons.

First of all, I only like to wear all natural fibers (cotton, silk, viscose made of renewable bamboo…) OR magically technological, wicking, UV-blocking, bug-repellent fabric that gives one the ability to fly. True, I’ve not found any garb with that last quality, but I certainly have a great admiration for the others. The shorts pictured above are made of super-duper wicking fabric. Huzzah! I’ll omit any mention of the way I sweat when I’m sleeping that makes such qualities vastly desirable. Except that one.

However, there was something that did bother me just a little when I donned the things (and it was not an audience – I’d assiduously avoided that). Last night it came to me in a flash of not-so-pleasant nostalgia.

Take off the logos, turn the black into an obnoxious shade of blue (a wretched version somewhere between royal blue and ultramarine), turn the fabric into double-knit polyester and you have AN EXACT REPLICA OF MY JUNIOR HIGH PHYSICAL EDUCATION SHORTS. Okay, make them SMALLER, too.

Oh, the memories that brings back. The humiliation of group showers, the minuscule “towels,” the bright yellow double-knit polyester top that went with the shorts, the LONG yellow socks (we had to purchase the whole ensemble at a local sporting goods store according to “school colours” – at least I didn’t have to suffer the humiliation of going shopping with my Mother for my first “cup” – HAH, David and Charles), the “fun runs” (something they probably wouldn’t put hardened criminals through during prison yard time), and the fact that throughout the two years of my junior high career we did little “survey” classes of about three billion different sports – yes, I’ve played field hockey – and I was consistently mediocre at EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY. Oh wow – we even bowled, did gymnastics (on that one I dipped down from mediocre into harrowing), and a veritable smörgåsbord of physical “recreation” entailing the hitting or throwing of some variety of ball. WAIT – I was an at least slightly better than mediocre swimmer (I’d had lessons).

I’m lost in a fog of reminiscence at this point that I cannot honestly describe as anywhere near enjoyable. In fact, it’s vaguely evocative of sulfur. I suppose that means that junior high was created by SATAN. And I’m only being slightly facetious.

I realize that after junior high (free of the ghastly fetters of the devil?) I played a little volleyball, basketball and softball and maybe improved a TAD, but if I were now to attempt any of the aforementioned activities I would – how shall I say it? – stink up the house. Every time I go bowling, for instance, though please cut me some slack in that I go very rarely, I get worse and worse. I’m downright DANGEROUS now, come to think of it. You have NO IDEA how relieved I am that Emma did not suffer any permanent brain damage from a particularly memorable bowling outing during with I laid her out FLAT with my back-swing. I’m not going to explain the whole thing now or I’ll weep (again). Just know that now, eight or so years later, in spite of my little “faux pas,” she’s exceedingly brilliant. Maybe I knocked something into place.

Well, I’m going to set aside the lasting traumas of my pre-teen years. And my teen years. And some years after that. Let me just inform you that the proceeds from EVERYTHING you buy from the Lance Armstrong Foundation Store directly benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation (and they are having a BIG sale at the moment). That is one of the reasons I have such a wide array of LIVESTRONG® paraphernalia, including the item I’ve pictured here, to be known henceforth as “my junior high LIVESTRONG® shorts.”