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Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Wear Ties, Part II

You might recall part one of I Wear Ties. Or not. I don't care.

It was a poem. This will not be a poem, because it's too hot to write one. Part One was written on November 25, 2009 when, apparently, it wasn't too hot to write one.

Whether you remember Part One or not, this is Part Two.



So, I wear ties.

Most people who wear ties, I wager, wear them to work. Forever an anomaly, I wear ties when I am not working.

"I must be crazy," a library patron said to my mother while returning some books, "but I thought I saw your son last weekend mowing his grass wearing a shirt, tie, and a hat."

"No," my mother smiled, "you're not crazy. That was him."

I wear ties when I'm not working because I love ties. Always have. Regrettably, I can't wear ties when I am working. As many of you know, I work at a psychiatric hospital and some patients would just relish the opportunity to choke the balls off me were I stupid enough to wear a tie at work. Some of them are quite grabby, and you don't want to give them anything to grab-- especially if it's something that's around your neck and has the potential to cut off oxygen supply to your brain.

When you wear ties out in the community in the year 2011, people think you know things. I wish I had kept empirical data, but I only have anecdotal evidence that drivers who are lost routinely pick me to ask for directions more frequently when I am neck-bedecked than when I am not. There's something about a tie that inspires confidence or gives off the air of authority. When Mrs. Apron and I were walking around downtown Lexington, Virginia on our vacation last month, two lunatics in a thirty-year-old Winnebago stopped and asked me for directions to the nearest hotel. And I, of course, was wearing a tie.

When I was seventeen, I was at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia waiting for a train. For some reason-- I can't really recall why-- I was dressed in a dark blue, three-piece suit. I was standing around with my hands behind my back, just gazing vacantly off into space, and some random person came up to me and started asking me questions about train schedules.

"Um, I'm sorry-- I don't work for AMTRAK," I said apologetically. But why was I apologizing? I wasn't the person who assumed that the kid in the suit was actually somebody who knew something. Maybe the guy just thought I must have had Aspergers and had memorized all the train schedules for fun.

Wearing a shirt and tie to CVS will result in people asking you if Ban deodorant is on sale or where the Depends are kept.

Just yesterday, my wife and I were at Target for grapes and paper towels and other unbelievably exciting things. As soon as we entered the store, Mrs. Apron said, "I'm going to go pee-- will you wait for me by the carts?"

Sure. Of course I will. And so I stood there, in my olive green trousers, light blue short-sleeve dress shirt and plaid tie, close to the exit door. Too close, apparently. A fifty-year-old guy in a wife-beater and his eighty-something-year-old mama, huffing and puffing the way that people with COPD do, were shuffling towards the exit. The son was excitedly holding his receipt, perseverating, "I gotta find out if I'm an instant winner! I hope I'm an instant winner!" As he propelled himself towards the exit doors, his mother yelled, "BILL! BILL! WAIT! YOU'VE GOT TO SHOW HIM YOUR RECEIPT BEFORE YOU LEAVE!"

I looked up, because I knew she was referring to me. The man marched up to me and shoved his receipt in my face.

"That's okay," I said, smiling wanly, "you don't have to show me anything."

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