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The Newcomer

Imitation: the sincerest form of flattery?

The police beat is mine to cover, so I'm in the Law and Justice Center four days a week.

On one of those days I saw a young man being released from his tour of duty in the jailhouse. Before he was even out the door, he was wrapping a belt around his waist, anxious it seemed to keep his baggy pants from sliding down around his ankles.

Of course, if he had jeans that fit his frame-actually fit-there would have been no sliding problem. But, as we are all so well aware, the in-style is the baggier the better. Which is why we see all these young men wearing jeans that have roughed up cuffs from dragging on the ground and being stepped on.

I am not some old fuddy duddy that is going to moan about the young people of today and their awful sense of style. Hey, I was one of those teens who wore jeans rolled up to just below the knee and a crisp, white, man's shirt that hung out and dangled its tails well over mine. But I wonder if the guys wearing this current style realize where it originated.

When you go to jail, they take away your belt. Result: pants bag.

When you go to jail, they take away your hat. Result: Convicts wanting hats, cut the sleeve off a shirt, tied it in a knot at one end and wore it for a cap.

Lo and behold, the creation of today's gangsta wear!

Do these kids wearing these convict-created styles really want to emulate someone locked up behind bars and deprived of their freedom?

If so, it's a strange world. Or we need a new set of heroes.

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