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Davis, California

Friday, February 23, 2024

Column: Never forget your pants

I was in my manor enjoying a cigar while browsing my stock market, uh, numbers, when my butler announced that I had received an e-mail. It was from someone in dire need of assistance. After a trip through my secret, underground tunnel, I read the following:

“Dear Will,

From what I can remember on my last trip to Chico, someone stole my American flag pants. How should I go about finding this good-for-nothing, unpatriotic, son-of-a-bitch without landing in the Butte County Jail?

Much appreciated,


Well, Max, that must have been either the best party in town, or the worst. Losing a pair of pants is tricky – though often rewarding – business. It’s nothing like losing car keys or a wallet.

Only rarely do you hear, “I think I left my pants in the restaurant. They must have fallen off of my legs when we left.”

Anyway, onto the matter.

A couple years ago, this would have been simple. The fact that the American flag had been embroidered on these pants would have been the solution in itself. A call to Washington on my private line and one PATRIOT Act later, those pant-stealing hoodlums would be knee-deep in good ol’ fashioned water boarding. You could have had any pair of pants in the world.

(Actually, I don’t know how the PATRIOT Act works/worked. Black Hawk Down came out the same year, and I was much more interested in what Ridley Scott had to say. George Dubya, win an Oscar and we’ll talk.)

Back to the task at hand. Again. If calling in the Feds seems a bit overboard, then you could always fall back on my patented “bait party” offense. (It has nothing to do with jailbait, I swear.)

Allow me to explain. To use this technique, simply go back to Chico and post flyers all over town in churches and bars that say something along the lines of: “American Flag Pants Party! Free Beer!” Then sit back and wait.

When the culprit sporting your pants shows up, clap him in irons and flog his skin into ribbons. Or just take your pants back. Whatever you feel like, I guess. I have no pants resembling any nation’s flag in my closet, and I’d wager not very many people do. Whoever has those pants would probably jump at the chance to show them off.

Then again, Chico is a weird town. Weird. That town could be a regular United Nations of leg wear. I get bad vibes from the place sometimes, and I think it has something to do with their streets.

Here in nice, sane Davis, we have First Street, Second Street, Third Street and what not. We also throw some A’s and some B’s in there, too, but it’s simple.

In Chico, those drunken city planners (they must have been) decided to not only have First, Second, Third Streets, but First, Second and Third Avenues as well. What’s worse is they’re on complete opposite ends of town.

What in hell?

I was with some friends in Chico a while back looking for this girl’s house on 11th Street. We spent a long time staring at an empty field on 11th Avenue wondering if we had been set up.

Me: “Do you guys see a number anywhere? I think this is the address.”

Friend: “There is no number, dude. This is a field.”

Me: “She said she lives on 11th. This is pretty close to the address she gave me. This is it, I think.”

Friend: “I don’t think this is it. She is not a prairie dog, there is no house here.”

Me: “Well, I’m positive there is only one 11th Street in Chico. Either this is the place, or I am a damned fool.”

Friend: “Oh shit, we’re on 11th Avenue. We want 11th Street. Turn around, dude. She lives on the other side of town.”

Me: “Forget that last thing I said.”

Moral of the story: Beware of Chico, it’s a crafty place. You could be looking for a place on 11th Street and follow 11th Avenue all the way to Idaho and wonder what the hell happened. (It probably doesn’t go that far, but it might as well.)

I hate to say it, Max, but I would consider that pair of American flag pants to be lost. They’re swallowed up somewhere in that labyrinth of a town. They must have been quite the pair of pants, though. You’re a true patriot.

My condolences.

WILL LONG wants to apologize to all the idealists with clipboards outside the MU. It’s not that he’s a bad person and doesn’t care; it’s just that he’s a writer, and he doesn’t care. Don’t send any information to wclong@ucdavis.edu.


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