Stranger than fiction 6/27

Friday, June 27, 2003

To me, the most fascinating thing about the Hulk isn't his green skin, his glowing eyes or his superhuman strength. It's his amazing pants. From the comic book to the television series to the feature film, the Hulk has never split the rear of his pants despite growing three to 15 times his human size. However, many actual people I know have stories about splitting their pants. I certainly have one. Or two. The Hulk's toes burst out of his shoes. His bulging biceps tear through his shirts. The calves of his jeans are ripped to shreds. Yet the most important part of the jeans stays in place. The top button might be undone, but that's it. So here's the question: Instead of researching how a man triples his size by getting angry -- which is what happens in the movie -- why wouldn't the government and major corporations research these amazing pants that stay put no matter how huge the wearer becomes? One possible reason: When Marvel Comics introduced the Hulk in the 1960s, obesity wasn't a problem in America. Nobody even considered the need to develop superpants to keep up with our superbutts. But with two-thirds of all adults in this nation overweight, that's a legitimate concern. Which brings us to the Dockers that The Other Half brought home this week. "I am going to slowly trade out all my pants for these," he announced. "Look!" And there it was, a hidden elastic panel that means my husband will never again have to unfasten his belt and undo the top button after Thanksgiving dinner, announcing that he got his belly full. Indeed, at dockers.com, the slogan for Individual Fit Dockers is: "Life's a cinch, with an extra inch." There are no such pants in the women's section of the site, although they do have "stretch" fabrics, but that's only to smooth the pants over a woman's contours. Trust me, you aren't going to get an extra inch out of those babies after a little water-weight gain. It seems time to turn our attention to expandable pants for women -- ones that are suitable for the workplace. We don't want to have to use them, but they should be there if we need them. Speaking of the Hulk, I'll always relate to him most through the television series in the 70s. I was parked in front of the television every time that show came on. But as an adult looking back, there were a lot of inconsistencies. And I'm not just talking about the amazingly sturdy pants. 1. How could a mostly unemployed drifter afford as many pairs of jeans, shirts, socks and shoes as he went through in the course of turning into the Hulk several times an episode? 2. Was Jack McGee the world's dumbest reporter? The man devotes his entire career to one story: tracking down the Hulk. He never writes anything, yet he remains employed. 3. Only two or three people ever figured David Banner's secret, even though hundreds saw him get shoved under tables, piles of debris, etc., and then emerge as the Hulk. 4. Banner was the world's calmest guy but was hassled more than anybody. Consider the list of things that made him transform, according to incrediblehulktvseries.com: getting beaten up, electrocution, intense frustration, having a car collapse on him, being hit by a car, being attacked by animals, nightmares, being shot, sinking in quicksand, drowning, being poisoned, involvement in a car accident, struggling to break free of restraints, being buried alive, traffic jams, extreme heat, hypnosis, fires, being trampled, personal injuries and being caught in a printing press. Man, I loved that show.