Sympathetic, Empathetic, and Just Plain Pathetic: Looking Like a Fool with a Rip in my Pants

I was a cleaning machine.

For 2 hours on Friday afternoon I cleaned out and re-organized one of our OYYAM (Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry) storage rooms in our building at 150 Robson. As I moved the last few boxes, with the finish line in sight, it happened.


Fearing the worst, I looked down towards my nether regions. Sure enough, my suspicion was indeed a reality: I had split my pants below the zipper. Embarassed, I sheepishly walked back to my office holding a binder in front.

“Guess what?” I asked Gerard and Faye, who were doing some cleaning as well.


“I split my pants!” I proclaimed in a weird blend of embarrassment and pride. “Right down there!”

Gerard broke out into his trademark Gerard-Giggle and exclaimed: “I hope we don’t see your tighty whiteys!”

My reply was less-than-comforting: “Nah, I’m not wearing any underwear.”

Their laughter turned into horror.


Faye politely suggested that I had given them too much information.

“Well,” I answered, “I’d rather tell you that I have a hole in my pants than you finding out for yourself…not that you’d be looking down there.”

The conversation was quickly disintegrating.

“Besides, would either of you had told me that I had a hole?”

They unanimously answered: “NO!”

“Thanks a lot guys” I smirked, slightly hurt by their unsympathetic response.

“Yes, I’d tell you,” Gerard replied.

My chagrin turned into comfort upon hearing these words. Comfort turned back into chagrin as Gerard started singing (in an homage to American Idol) “Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, looking like a fool with your pants on the ground. Rip in your pants, rip in your pants, looking like a fool with a rip in your pants.”

Analyn arrived at the OYYAM during this debacle and asked what the commotion was about. I told her and then asked her if she would have told me about the hole if I didn’t tell her first.

“Of course I’d tell you…why wouldn’t I?” she answered. I smiled…until I heard Faye.

“Even if he’s not your go-to guy anymore?” Faye asked, referencing Analyn’s recent on-ice experience at Rogers Arena.

“Good point.”

I then solicited their collective advice: “Oh, by the way, I have meeting with Archbishop Michael in an hour. Do you think I should say anything about my pants?”

And so it went: we continued to clean, they continued to make fun of me, and I continued to walk around with a binder in my hand. Then came 4pm.

As I entered Archbishop Michael’s office we exchanged greetings and he asked me how my day was going.

“It was going great…until I ripped my pants while cleaning up.”

Trying to stifle his grin, Archbishop Michael said: “Oh that’s too bad. I hate it when that happens!”

Finally, an empathetic response!

“Thanks Archbishop Michael. Has it happened to you before?”


Scratch that…not so much empathetic…but certainly sympathetic.

I sat down, thankful that his desk was relatively high. We ended up having a great half-an-hour meeting, talking about the OYYAM’s plans for the upcoming year. It went so well that I completely forgot about my little dilemma. That is, until I was leaving the office after the meeting.

“Having a good weekend…and take care of that hole!” Archbishop Michael exclaimed.

I chuckled as I left his office as I reflected as to why I admire him so much. He’s certainly a suitable shepherd for our archdiocese and for me, whether it has to do with ministry or my wardrobe malfunctions. He was both sympathetic and empathetic.

As for me…I’ll just go with pathetic.

  • oh man, I’ve did that while waitressing– my pants caught on a nail on the wall, ripped right down the back.

    Great story from team ohCanada.