The Wrong Trousers

April 10, 2024

By Jeff Becraft


I have this one pair of pants that at some point, a blue ink pen blew out in my back pocket. So now there’s this big blue spot right in the middle of my bahonkus. The only time I wear these pants is usually working around the house or they are my favorite pair of pants to wear on a retreat or at a camp if we’re doing a work project.

For one, they are dirty (from other efforts); and as mentioned, they’ve got this big blue spot on the back side. But also, they generate questions and responses from young people. Often times I hear, “Becraft… you’ve got this big blue spot on the back of your pants.” To which I will respond, “Yeah… I ate too many blueberries.” And I will just keep moving.

One day recently, I came home from work and Brenda had already gotten home. As I go through the living room, she says to me, “Jeff, you didn’t wear those pants to work, did you?”

I stopped and I looked down at them and wondered what the problem was. I responded, “Yeah, why?”

She then tells me, “You’ve got this big blue spot on the back of your pants.”

Now, there used to be this series called Wallace and Gromit, and one of the episodes is The Wrong Trousers. In that story, one of Wallace’s inventions drops him into these electronically controlled pants that were being driven by a conniving penguin. Wallace (in his Wallace sort of way) exclaims, “Gromit! It’s the wrong trousers!”

Well, this was just such a situation. I guess the last time I washed them, the washing machine had done a pretty good job getting out the stains on the front part of the pants and so they looked like my regular khakis. I didn’t look at the back… but the blue stain was still there – as proud as ever. But I didn’t realize it. It was the wrong trousers.

I even had a meeting that day with the treasurer of our organization at his office building. There I am, sitting in the lobby with his other clients…. I get called back to meet with him and there I go walking through the lobby in front of his other clients with this big blue ink stain on the back of my pants… and I didn’t even know it.

Well, there’s going to be all kinds of situations in life where the circumstances aren’t exactly going the way we thought they would. But we can’t let the circumstances dictate what our lives will be for that day.

As one of my friends/peers/mentors says: “Every day is a good day. Just some are better than others.”


Jeff Becraft is the Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Our Place of Hope is a paradigm shift for people living with mental illness that encourages them to regain meaning, purpose, and hope for their lives. You can connect with Jeff at  [email protected].