A jumpsuit might temporarily change the way you perceive yourself, but it can’t navigate you through the rabbit hole of insurance company bureaucracy.


Little known fact, insurance companies comprise the 663rd level of Dante’s Inferno.

The other day I spent forty dollars at Gates Resale and thereby altered the course of my life forever. My purchase was a forest green, full length jumpsuit. I’ve worn it everyday since, and I plan on continuing to wear it, or one similar to it, for the rest of my days on this green Earth.

The jumpsuit is the epitome of practicality. There is no worrying about matching shirt to pants and no fussing about with fashion statements and frills. There is also no need any longer to wear a belt. The jumpsuit is its own outfit. I put on a pair of sox, boxers, and an undershirt, step into the jumpsuit, zip it up, and the day is on.

While the jumpsuit is practicality realized, in some parts of the North State it also carries weight as apparel combining style with purpose. I wear my jumpsuit with a pair of Red Wing boots. My hair right now is cut into a rough mohawk, but the sides are growing out. With a camouflage ballcap on my head—nobody notices the name of the Reno-based punk band “Vampirates” hand-stitched across the front—I foster a clean-cut and vaguely militaristic impression.

Now, I don’t pretend this look is going to knock ‘em dead in Chico, where the current concept of manly fashion is growing a beard and sagging ass in a pair of thigh-clutching Jordache jeans, but in areas of the state where people appreciate a man of action, the jumpsuit is a killer.

At the Taco Bell in Red Bluff the woman behind the counter can barely restrain herself from tittering long enough to take my order. The female clerks at the Home Depot are addressing me as if we’ve been long-time friends, and bending over backwards to help me with my shopping needs. On the sidewalks teenage girls make eyes with me; they blush, and giggle. I am an Adonis.

It isn’t only the womenfolk who are affected by the jumpsuit. Men address me with greater respect, for I am assuredly a man on the move, a man unencumbered by the everyday accoutrements of belt loops and unfettered by the mind-boggling process of deciding whether or not to tuck my shirt it, or leave it hanging loose.

My whole way of thinking has started to transform—as my wardrobe has been refined, so has my mind. I am no longer burdened by trivialities, problems become opportunities, walls become doors…

Welcome to the Machine

And then I get a phone call from a specialist saying they don’t accept our insurance—in spite of the fact that, after two months of back and forth, it was our insurance provider that referred us to them. Now I find myself mired in the bog, listening to plodding, semi-melodic hold music apparently designed to drive me insane. Nobody can defeat the bureaucracy.

Suddenly my jumpsuit doesn’t look so crisp. My shoulders slump, my belly extends. All the small annoyances and irritations of the world are back. My skin itches, my back hurts. I think I’ll go change into a pair of pants and an old t-shirt.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.