Around the Bluhmin’ Town: Keep your britches on people

Judy Bluhm

Judy Bluhm

Where were you the weekend of January 11th and 12th? Perhaps riding the Phoenix Light Rail pantsless to “celebrate silliness” (more like madness) with folks in about 30 cities all over the world? No, I didn’t think so.

None of our Dear Readers have lost their minds and feel the need to “drop trou” and get on a subway. But in cities around the globe, that is what tens of thousands of people did. Over 3500 in New York City rode the subway pantless in one day. Boredom? Mischief? Improv comedy or art?

On the topic of boredom, a group of John Hopkins researchers claim that boredom is a major problem for people of all ages. It is the guiding force behind any number of “problem” behaviors in children, the cause of midlife crises in adults and depression in the elderly. In fact, boredom on the job ranks number three of all employee complaints. People may be overworked, multi-tasked to the max, and stressed-out, but boredom still manages to cause “considerable trouble” for lots of folks. In other words, you can have plenty to do and still be bored.

Some psychologists claim that many people don’t realize that their routines lack challenge and they end up being “terminally” unfulfilled. Boredom sets in gradually, like a slow-moving storm.

Evidently, this leads to all manner of “unhealthy behaviors,” from overeating to doing “mean things” just for the heck of it. Hey, when a woman claimed that she set her backyard on fire, just because she was “bored and tired of nothing exciting happening” (plus she wanted to meet a fireman), it might mean that boredom is a public danger.

Sometimes boredom can lead to creativity. Many fantastic musicians were left alone as children, with nothing more than a guitar to keep them company.

Without childhood boredom, we might not be able to thrill to the greatness of a B.B. King. Left home alone during summer months, King picked up his uncle’s guitar at age seven and started “strumming to fight off loneliness and boredom.”

The rest is history. Artists, inventors, writers and musicians often mastered their talents when faced with the prospect of “having nothing to do.” Perhaps our kids need a few musical instruments lying around instead of video games.

Back to “pantless people” riding the Light Rail. One lady in Phoenix was quoted as saying, “it is a “fun way to break the hum-drum boredom in January.”

OK, but there are books to read, classes to attend, guitars to strum, volunteer jobs available, fences to paint, rooms to clean, pets to pamper, fish to catch and dinners to cook. Most of these things are free and fun. It just takes a little effort to fight the “blahs.” With your pants on.

Maybe because I am a certain age, I find the whole notion of Pants Free Subway Day odd and unsettling. Keep your britches on people. The world is crazy enough without forcing the innocent to see too much. End of civilization? Or just folks dealing with January doldrums. You decide.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at

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