A Leg Up

Every time I put my pants on (and this is a near-daily occurrence), I think, “I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everybody else!” I do not think of myself saying it, but of other people saying it. And I think how much I hate when other people say it. And then I am forced (yes, FORCED) to imagine a variety of people putting their pants on in this fashion, set, of course, to jaunty music (often the theme to the TV show “One Day at a Time”, which then forces me to think of Bonnie Franklin, and her pants) and in a kooky montage.
I imagine them bent over, stepping into wide-wale corduroys. Seated on the edge of the bed, sliding into houndstooth wool. Perched on a trapeze, slipping into slinky jazz pants. Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly nostalgic, I picture a girl, circa 1978, setting one foot, then another, into a pair of Sassoon jeans (cigarette leg, dark wash) scrunched down on the floor, then sort of jumping/hopping to get them to budge past her thighs, and finally falling back onto her bed, where she will lie, supine, panting and groaning as she struggles to force the sides of the ever-straining zipper together. Once she succeeds (and usually she does, except on rare occasion when I’m feeling spiteful), she raises herself to her elbows, then straight-legs herself into a standing position, trip-toes to a full-length mirror, and convinces herself that being encased to the point of asphyxiation and gangrene is an attractive look.
I want this phrase to go away. I want to stop thinking it. I even heard some kid on “Oprah” use it when talking about his Tourette’s Syndrome. “I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everybody else,” this plucky pre-teen said, “except when I do it, I say ‘metal’ or ‘coffee’.” I was compelled to yell, “Fuck! Shut fuck the fuck up fuck!” when he said it. “Don’t say that! Don’t say that!” I could deal with him shouting inappropriate words at inappropriate times, and even found some of his other tics charming, but when he said the pants/leg thing, I just about had an episode of my own.
If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to be the one person in the universe who does not put her pants on one leg at a time. I’m going to invent some sort of Rube Goldberg machine that will facilitate the process. I picture — among other things, including, but not limited to, two springboards, a miniature guilloutine, garlic mashed potatoes, a Zippo® lighter, and a well-oiled hamster wheel — a sling-swing with snaps between the legs (like a child’s leotard) that lowers me, both legs at the exact same rate of speed, via an elaborate pulley system, into a pair of pants held open by a pair of gigantic mechanical hands (complete with white gloves, like Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse). It may take me four hours to get dressed (as opposed to the three it now takes), but it will be worth it, just to be able to yell, “NO, NOT EVERYBODY!!! NO!!! NOT!!! EVERYBODY!!!!!”
Everyone should have a cause, and this is mine.