In preparation for a trip south of New England to a region of heightened fashion sophistication, I was recently tasked with getting new pants. In times gone by this would be a simple task; a one-stop-shop if you will. Nowadays the former one-stop-shop for shirt, pants, sweaters and underpants is a one-stop get-your-fitness-freak-on place.

I visited a few fine retail locations, but none were entirely equipped to serve my trouser requirements (which I believe are quite reasonable). I was after a pair of pants suitable for the office, sales calls or a trip to Hannaford.

Among the considerations were:

*No cuffs.

*No pleated fronts.

*No plaids.

*No pastel colors (apologies to Miami Vice fans).

I am not opposed to an expanded waist band, “Comfort Fit,” or relaxed fit.

My quest for pantaloons took me north to the town of Camden. What I found there was something I did not know existed.

Wait for it…

I discovered EXTREME COMFORT PANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What could happen in EXTREME Comfort Pants? Would I reach the outermost limits of comfort in them? Would I just black out? Would I be able to take them off or would I become addicted to the EXTREME COMFORT?

I went to the online dictionary and found these definitions for EXTREME:

Reaching the highest degree, very great.

Exceeding what is usual or reasonable.

Exceedingly great in degree.

My advertising mind reeled. I saw TV ads with men wearing these pants, passed out on suburban front lawns, overdosed on EXTREME COMFORT.

A police officer pulls over a motorist going 35 on the Maine Turnpike, too relaxed to push the accelerator. When asked to roll the window down, he can barely move his index finger.

Finally the U.S. Olympic team, in matching cowhide recliners, in unison pull the levers and kick back wearing their color-coordinated EXTREME COMFORT PANTS from Camden.

Gold!

The pants were so comfy I bought three pairs. At first I only wore them a half hour at a time. I was able to build up my endurance enough to wear them half a day at a time and still be able to walk around.

You see what has become of us. In our quest for the most excitement and the biggest thrill, our endeavors have led us to this search for the EXTREME. Food, mountain climbing, motor sports, adventure and yes now pants.

Stranger still, it has fallen to me to call it all out.

A new year is upon us. Let’s dial it all back a skosh.

EXTREME COMFORT pants Illustration by Glenn Billington

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.