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6:33 a.m. - 2005-07-15

IS THAT A KIELBASA IN YOUR POCKET OR ARE YOU JUST ... AWWWW ... FORGET IT

Soooo ... I measured my first inseam at work yesterday.

I had somehow managed to successfully avoid doing so in my first three weeks of work by running to the back and hiding under my desk every time a guy walked in to the store.

But Rosie, the woman who usually does the measuring with a sure hand and an open mind, was out sick leaving us short-staffed.

And Alberta was already working with another customer.

And Murray, the psychotic lunatic who may or may not be gay (my vote is "bisexual"), was in the back setting fire to mice or whatever the hell it is he does back there for hours on end.

Leaving me to wait on the customer.

"I need a tux for a wedding," he said.

"Ummmmm ... okay," I said cautiously. "Do you know what style you'd like?"

"Whatever style the bride's already picked out," he responded.

Ah.

Yes.

Of course.

I checked the computer for the bride's name, found out what style and color the guy's tux was supposed to be and then swallowed big.

It was time for the fitting.

I had watched the women and Murray do about a hundred fittings and pretty much knew what to do. I did the chest, arms and then ... the waist.

Look ... it's just not natural for me to put my arms around a guy's waist. Especially a large, 230-lb. African-American linebacker-type of guy.

Because you pretty much have to put your focus on this guy's beltline which means you're pretty much staring at his groin for a few seconds.

And I know it's part of the job and I shouldn't be such a wuss about it but ... jeez louise ... it's just not f'n natural.

Then, it was time.

I let out a nervous chuckle and fell to one knee.

I stretched out the tape measure between my hands.

I took my left hand and slowly guided it to the guy's crotch.

Keep in mind, I'm right-handed. Which means my left hand is about as coordinated as a three week-old baby.

And ... honestly ... as many times as I've watched the others measure guys for tuxedos, I've always turned away during the inseam measurements because I feel that should be a private moment between the customer and the measurer. I didn't want to look all pervy, salivating when the inseam measurements took place, unable to avert my eyes from some guy's crotch.

So what it came down to was ... I didn't really have a clue how to do this.

I jammed my left hand deep into his crotch which made him kinda "yelp" a bit like a bad puppy.

"Sorry," I chuckled again. "I'm not very good at this."

"That's cool," he said, stepping back slightly.

Which meant I had to do it again since he had moved.

I did it again.

And this time ... I felt it.

And I can attest to the rumor now ... it's true what they say about black guys. This guy felt like he was packing a small log in his undies.

My hand jumped like I had just touched a hot burner on the stove.

"Sorry," I apologized again.

"Can we just get someone else to do this?" he asked.

My sentiments exactly.

I went and got Murray who came out, unrolled the tape and had the guy's inseam measured in about three seconds with no problem.

In fact he just took over the job with no hesitation.

While I went to the back and cowered under my desk, waiting for 5:00 to come.

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