The fashion plate on my front yard

Everyone talks about the hidden costs of owning a house or a car, but no one mentions the hidden costs of owning a pink plastic flamingo. You plunk down $15 for the "tacky chic" yard bird, stake him in the hostas, and figure that you're home free.

Don't say I didn't warn you. A seamstress in San Antonio is making a mint stitching up flamingo clothes. You know how these trends creep to the rest of the country. At first we chuckle. Then one day we look at our flamingo standing in his birthday plumes out in the front yard and we think, "Man, he'd look good in a pair of capri pants and a little sun visor."

Before long, we're buying activewear for our flamingo, maybe a crop top and shorts for hot summer days and a cardigan for breezy nights. Perhaps something glittery and edgy for evening wear, or a bolero jacket to show off those pecs?

Unless you live out in the sticks, your flamingo is obligated to keep up with the Joneses' flamingo who, by the way, is right now standing in the kids' wading pool, looking like a bloated watermelon in that ridiculous Speedo.

I told Mom about this wacky seamstress sewing flamingo fashions, and she got really excited, although there isn't a single flamingo among her yard froufrou.

"I wonder if we could get that woman's phone number," she said. "You know, I've been trying for years to find someone who can sew for me. I'd love to get a pair of pants that fit right in the straddle."

Gee, I hadn't even considered that angle. Anyone who can custom fit a flamingo must be the next Gucci. We're talking measurements of 16-16-16 with an inseam of 56. A cucumber on stilts. Talk about a body-design challenge.

"I don't know, Ma. I bet those pants hang like curtains on that bird," I told her, "which is the same complaint you have with your white polyesters."

See, it's already happening. I'm talking about a flamingo wearing pants as if it's a sensible thing. And it's a complete fashion blunder. With a gut like that and pipe-cleaner legs, a flamingo has no business wearing pants. A simple loose dress, maybe.

And, who has time to dress a flamingo? I already know what will happen if you give a flamingo his own closet. Next, he'll want foot cream, sunblock, and a subscription to Vogue.

There's no end to the hidden costs of owning such a tacky bird. Take it from the daughter of a concrete goose owner.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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