Burrs on My Socks


We move through the world leaving impressions. Sometimes it is no more than the pattern of the soles of your shoes. Sometimes it is something you have said, or done.

I know people who have never considered this. Selfless, caring people that do not think much about themselves, but instead are focused on others.
I am not one of them!
I am too self conscious to actually ask what people think of me, haha, now that’s a conundrum! Anyway, I have noted and remembered the few times when someone has described their “short-hand” memory of me.
The earliest I remember was “the jacket guy”. Apparently I was known to sling my jacket over one shoulder. Rarely completely worn, mostly a decoration, like the early 18th century Hussars. Weirdly self conscious action! Hardly the stuff to carve on a tombstone.
Another that comes to mind is, “the zip off pants guy”. I had one of those usual internet reunions with an old friend. I hadn’t heard from this guy in a long time, we worked together, but we also hung out. It was very good to catch up and reflect what we had done, and how retirement was going. Then he said that he had often brought my name up to his friends.
Okay, I asked in what context? He said, “You were the guy that invented zip off pant legs!” Ha, its true, I am that guy. Ten years before Banana Republic, I was making “zip off” pants. I was into backpacking big time, and I thought, why bring long pants for the cold, and shorts for hot weather? Just install some zippers!
There were some bumps in the design process. I couldn’t use the regular zippers, I had to find the YKK big zippers. And the first models were irritating with the teeth of the zippers sawing into my thighs. Eventually I worked out a buffer band of material and found success.
Looking back, my design may have had another design flaw. The shorts were very short, and in 501 Levi’s the legs were pretty tight. Shorts today go to the knee and are cargo pants baggy. My shorts were, hmm, pretty form fitting. But they worked really well.
I had gotten used to them and even wore them to work at times. Sometimes people would notice and comment. I also found myself fooling around with the zippers while I talked. So, anyway, that’s what my friend remembered.
Ha, on the way to the zipper solution I briefly experimented with Velcro. Why not? It was very common at that point, dozens of jackets had Velcro enclosures. At the beginning of every class there was a cacophony of ripping sounds as people took jackets off to get settled. 
The pants leg Velcro solution did not test successfully. Every time I sat down the stress on the leg seam would burst open. And the Velcro scratched. Scratch that idea.
I also invented Velcro, I called it “Burrs on my Socks”. I didn’t take it too far.