Aug 17, 2020

Learning to Love Our New Pajama Culture

Are stretch-proof waistbands our destiny?

By Ed Goldman

A funny but informative article by Patricia Marx in a recent issue of The New Yorker discussed (for real) shelter-in-place fashions, with an emphasis on day and night pajama ensembles. One of her many lines that made me burst out laughing was when she wrote, “With the right waffle-weave bathrobe, you can convince yourself that quarantine is actually a stay at an appallingly understaffed spa.”

This got me to thinking about how we might convert various parts of our home during the crisis and­—if we remain home thereafter to telecommute or be unemployed—into fantasy interiors. I’m not talking about interiors that would compete with San Luis Obispo’s comically opulent Madonna Inn, of course, which features a diversity of guest rooms whose themes range from Caveman to Love Nest to Just Heaven (people are dying to get into the latter. Rim shot!).

In thinking about Marx’s allusion to “an appallingly understaffed spa,” I’ve thought of some settings you can create in your own home quickly and on a budget, and be able to disassemble at the end of the day to replace with still another motif to await you in the morning. 

Remember, I’m just spit-balling or blue-skying here, whichever inane term makes me sound more sensitive to the zeitgeist. And for those of you unfamiliar with the “zeitgeist,” the word just refers to the basic culture or spirit of the times in which we live—not, as I originally thought, to those wonderfully crunchy mini-toasts that it’s fun to watch teething babies try to chew. Those are Zwiebacks. Equally delicious with pate or pablum.  

Here are some of my hare-brained notions on how to take advantage of the new PJ mandate —and I apologize to the world’s hares, some of which probably have much funnier ideas but not, alas, their own columns:

YOUR OWN PLAYBOY MANSION. Pretend you’re the late Hugh Hefner, but before he was late. He famously worked day and night in silk pajamas, often his own. All it takes to replicate some of this aura is a round bed (optional), a Viagra vending machine (recommended) and 100 cases of Pepsi, which “Hef” allegedly lived on for years. Google estimates he glugged away 36 bottles a day; someone could have made a small fortune returning the empties. 

Exactly how “Hef” made it to 91 without succumbing to Fructose poisoning still baffles medical researchers—who, in noble pursuit of answers, applied for genius grants to move into the mansion or at least its fabled grotto. But alas, with “Hef”’s passing three years ago, the exact use of the mansion, which needs work, is still under review. In related news, the Chuck E. Cheese company is said to be in expansion mode, having recently “retired” it’s animatronic house band, The Pizza Time Players, and enjoyed a sudden spike in renewed popularity.

YOUR OWN BED, BATH, BEYOND AND BIZARRE FRANCHISE. By adding a few zombies as greeters, the durable retailer hopes to attract a new consumer demographic—young adults who’ve decided that since they make more money from unemployment insurance than they did at their minimum-wage jobs, there’s no place like home. Well, living at home mainly in bed requires a rotating stock of linens. What better than to be the neighborhood source for all of your kids’ friends? Write to me for my franchise starter kit. Zombies not included.

Osborn (as Mr. Scott): “Cap’n! Wake up! We’rrrre bein’ invaded by giant rrrruning shoes!”

STAR TREK: THE JAMMIE GENERATION. If you were a fan of the original “Star Trek,” which starred William Shatner as Captain James Kirk, perhaps you had the same thought I did then or I do now, whenever one of the reruns air: the U.S.S. Enterprise uniforms for the guys looked like the jammies worn by little boys in cool months, and the hot pants ensemble worn by the women crew members looked like the shorty PJs reserved for going nite-nite in the summer while it was still light—except, in both cases, for the boots. 

So why not re-purpose your live/work space as the flight deck of the space ship? You already have the big-screen TV and easy chairs the crew watched and rocked around on during gamma-ray intergalactic space storms, respectively: 

Scotty: “Captain, aye cannuh hondle the ship. We’rrrre gonna break up into wee little pieces!”

Kirk: “Steady as she goes, Mister Scott. Assessment, Mister Spock?”

Mister Spock: “Logically speaking, we are in deep doo-doo, Captain.”

Kirk: “Bones?”

Bones (Dr. McCoy): “Damn it to hell, Jim! We’re humans, not androids!”

Kirk: “Meaning what?”

Bones: “It’s my only line in this episode. Also in the last 45 episodes.”

You may even have an electronic console if your kids or grandkids are into video games like Call of Duty, Modern Warfare, Mortal Kombat 11, Super Smash Brothers and the all-new Covid-19: Total World Annihilation While ‘U’ Wait (masks prohibited).

So download some space-travel footage, run it on continuous loop on your big screen TV and turn your stay-at-home experience into something truly out of this world. And if that doesn’t work, try booking the Sky Room (185) at the Madonna Inn, whose “private balcony provides a perfect outdoor space to relax.” Okay, beam me outta here, Mister Scott.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).