Sometimes the projects come so fast and furious that the good stories get untold. Or maybe if they ferment for a while, they come out better (or not.)

One belief I’ve long held is that suspenders are for old guys. I am 59, which doesn’t seem old to me, but I have to admit that when I was 16, I would have thought that 59 was really old.

Since I joined the fire department, I’ve been wearing a pager on my belt all the hours I’m awake. Combine that with my Leatherman, cell phone, and small camera, and I look like a grunt in the infantry. My pants suffer. As all mass does, my pants want to visit the center of the earth. This never used to be a problem when I was younger and had fewer do-dads on my belt. But it became a problem, so I bought some suspenders at Wal-mart some months back. I put them on over my t-shirt, and under my hooded sweatshirt. That way no one can peg me as an old guy. Each morning I’d adjust the plastic sliders to the optimum length for my frame. By evening when I took them off, the sliders had slid to their maximum length, allowing my pants to linger in the irritation zone.

While this was annoying, it wasn’t bad enough for me to do otherwise than to wonder if there wasn’t some cheap easy way I could pinch the two layers of suspender strap material together and thereby stay at the proper length all day. My first thought was one of those paper clips with the fold back handles. They would surely do the job, but they’s bulge out and probably cause real pain when I carried something against my body. Alice and I discussed putting a row of stitches across the material, which would solve the problem, but render the suspenders incapable of further adjustment.

I wasn’t looking in the mirror when I had my aha moment, so I can’t be sure if a lightbulb lit above my head. Barrettes. I’d buy a pair of cheap hair barrettes and clip them on the suspenders. Wal-mart came to my rescue again, and I can now safely say I visited an isle of that store that I’ve never visited before. I do get a kick out of the sideways glances I get from the nicely dressed females that I shared that space with. After some looking around, I bought a package of 8 barrettes that not only looked like they’d do the job, but set off my skin tone nicely.

The results? After a couple of weeks of use, my pants are no closer to the center of the earth than they were at the beginning. Success.

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