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The Red Zone

By Ed Stout

From time to time I think back on our days at dear old Fairview. In doing so, I sometimes think about our Principal/Assistant Principal (the man who ran things), Norman Feuer. When I think about him, though, there is something that really bothers me. To understand what troubles me, cast your (color, not black and white) memory back to FHS and envision Mr. Feuer coming down the gothic hallway there at “Third & Main.” I always picture him wearing red pants. Indeed, he had a pair of red gabardine pants that he wore at least twice a week.

Now if Mr. Feuer were here defending himself, he might claim that those were burgundy slacks. But no, while Bob Dylan may have “started out on burgundy and soon hit the harder stuff,” Norman Feuer’s pants were red. That being the case, there are three basic questions I simply can’t reconcile in my mind.

First is where did he go to buy those pants and why did he go there? Now, one couldn’t buy those red devils at the Met or Rikes, or Dunhills. You couldn’t even find those at Robert Hall’s. To get them, he would have had to travel west – ON THIRD STREET. I just can’t imagine Mrs. Feuer saying, “Norm, dear, you need some new slacks.” And he replies, “OK, Dumpling, let’s go over to West Third.” In spite of the fact that I can’t see that happening, the evidence clearly demonstrate that it (or something very much like it) did happen. It had to.

The second point that I’m unable to reconcile is: once they arrived at the haberdashery shop on West Third, why did he buy the red pair? Again, Mrs. Feuer would have said something like, “Oh, look, Norm, here’s a nice pair of red gabardine slacks, please try them on.” And he would have replied, “Oh, yes, Dumpling, they are nice.” Again, this makes no sense to me, but in the law there is a Latin phrase, res ipsa loquitor (the thing speaks for itself). In this case, that phrase applies.

Finally, the last point I can’t understand is: once he bought those god-awful pants, why did he wear them at least twice a week? We all make clothing faux pas. That is to say, we thought an item looked good in the store and bought it. Once we got it home, however, we had the good sense to know that it was a terrible choice and bury it deep in our closets, never to be taken out except when we’re off to the Good Will. Not so with Mr. Feuer. He wore them, and wore them.

So, submitted for your approval, one Norman Feuer and a pair of red slacks. How he got actually got them is know only to those who frequent the Twilight Zone of FHS memories. But my memories of FHS are troubled. I see those red pants and I want to paint them black, but I can’t. The red scare endures.