My dad cared less about what people thought than anyone I’ve ever met. He was a very handsome man, but he couldn’t have cared less. I’m told he was rather meticulous about combing his hair, but I think that was the extent of it. When it came to clothes, if he didn’t have to dress up for work, he was wearing ripped old Levis, a worn polo shirt, and dirty old Converse high tops…but before Converse became cool.
He actually used to joke that he liked to go shopping at nicer stores dressed like that, because then the salespeople would leave him alone, thinking he had no money. But truthfully, I think he just didn’t particularly care what they thought about him. As a pre-teen girl, of course, I was somewhat embarrassed by this—because as a pre-teen girl, you’re embarrassed by a lot of things. As an adult, though, I look back and admire his lack of caring about something as superficial as appearance. He was who he was, take it or leave it. If you ask me, that’s a pretty healthy attitude to have.
One thing in particular I remember is how when we’d return home from being out somewhere—dinner or whatever—he would go out in the driveway, squat down, and pick weeds from the lawn and landscaping. He’d squat out there for the better part of 20 minutes, silently picking weeds. And while he did it, his jeans would slide down his slender butt, leaving his crack exposed. And my mom would say something to the effect of, “Oh my god, Steve, pull up your pants! Your crack is showing!” Before I slunk inside in mortification—my god, the neighbors might see!—I would notice how my dad ignored us and went on picking the weeds, his crack out in the breeze. And my mom would let it go, because it really wasn’t that important to her in the grand scheme of things anyway.
So it became sort of a joke: “How does he not know his crack is showing? Doesn’t he feel the breeze in it?” Well, yes, I’m sure he did. I’m pretty he just didn’t care. As my dad would’ve said, in his plain way, “I don’t give a shit.”
The other night I was out in our yard, squatting and picking weeds. I do this several times a week, because we get a lot of weeds. I think they spring up the minute I pick them, in fact. It’s like the ones that are picked send out an SOS: “Hey, send in reinforcements! She’s picking us again!” And suddenly, more spring up. I look up, and there’s an entire patch I hadn’t seen before.
So there I was, squatting and picking, and I felt the breeze in my crack. And I halfheartedly hitched my pants up, only to have them slide right back down. At which point I gave up because, really, who cares? I can pull my pants up a hundred times, and they’re going to slide back down a hundred times, so what’s the point? Isn’t that the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome?
And besides, it interrupts my weed-picking rhythm to hike up my pants. Our yard is on the golf course, and we get a lovely breeze (that I can feel in my buttcrack, I’m finding) when I’m out there gardening, and I get in a nice rhythm of squatting and picking. Stopping to hike up my pants ruins the quiet meditative, rhythmic aspect of the task. It reminds me that there are other people around—those golfers teeing up for the 15th hole—and takes me away from the lovely sense that my backyard is a quiet little sanctuary with no one else around to care about my expansive buttcrack.
So I’m embracing the crack. And more than that, I’m saluting my dad for showing me that it’s okay not to give a shit. In fact, it’s more than okay. There’s a certain freedom in embracing the cool breeze of a summer night and just letting it be. It really is all it’s cracked up to be. Pun intended, of course.