Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Definitions: Clothing

Clothing is that which separates backpackers from animals, and serves as a shrubbery deflector in scratchy places.

Whereas, on the one hand, animals have natural-born fur, which is self-replenishing, self-cleaning, durable, form fitting, warm, blends into the landscape, costs nothing, repels insects, and prevents sunburn, humans have clothing, "a covering designed to be worn on the body".

As if that sounds like an improvement.

Trees have leaves, and bark of various colors and thicknesses, and some even have Spanish moss, which can be eaten as a salad if times get tough. But humans, no. Nothing like that. (Edible panties hardly count — they lack calories.)

Humans have only "a covering", which sounds a lot like shelf paper. Though if this covering stuff is intended for backpackers, and sold in stores, it's likely to be made of Gore-Tex, cost a thousand dollars, come only in yellow, blue, or orange, and not fit well. And leak when it shouldn't.

A backpacker can use dung, and it's been tried, but never has been popular. Early market testing found it more commonly used as an insulating layer in deep burrows during the winter months. For warmth you see, and not as recreational wear. And not that much fun.

If you must have clothing, then pajamas work, or overalls, kimonos, or sarongs, supplemented by shawls, nightcaps, spats, veils, or wimples. A lot of things work, if you come right down to it, each in its own way, but the backpacker has no universal, all-purpose, factory-supplied, shrink-wrap-tight hair suit like the other critters out there. And you just can't get around that fact.

So backpackers have to work at it, improvise, and a kilt isn't right for everyone. For most, a kilt is never even an approximate solution, with or without the user even has enough leg hair to pull it off.

Backpackers need clothing.

Backpackers need clothing because they are not meant to live in or under shrubbery, or cozily nestle in between mucky rustling lakeshore reeds. No.

Backpackers do not belong under the wide sweeping sky of the steppes, ripping tufts of grass with their sturdy teeth and masticating it into submission, depending on their fuzz to deflect the pummeling gusts of gusty winds.

And so a backpacker needs clothes the way an astronaut needs a space suit, the way a candy bar needs a wrapper, the way fruit needs a can — for preservation.

Clothing is also that thing which, if you grow forgetful and leave it at home, you will regret not having it, immediately, incessantly, completely, and for the full duration of your trip, especially if someone has brought a camera.

So there.

Note: According to the ancient Egyptians, clothing may be protected from mice and rats by liberally applying fat of the cat, which is a decent reason to have a well-fed and docile pussy around the house. Something to keep in mind.