Fanfare for the Common Man: A summer of Monopoly?

  • Monday, June 25, 2012

I am a plus-sized rack at Wal-Mart kind of guy. I have no sense of fashion. I cultivate the wrinkled look of either something slept in, or pulled out of the dirty laundry pile after a month and squirted with Febreeze. Growing up I was a slave to the latest fashion trends. When bell bottoms became the latest fad in the 60s I looked like a giant church steeple. When four-inch platform shoes were the bomb in the mid-70s I bought some despite my fear of heights. I was the King of the Leisure Suit and wore a powder blue ensemble with a felt blue bowtie. Thankfully all photographic evidence has been destroyed. When the disco craze hit I was right there with them wearing shirts that looked better framed and mounted on a wall than they did on me. Then I got married and found out I had no sense of fashion. Then I had a daughter and found out my wife’s best efforts were for naught. “Daddy, you cannot wear socks with sandals.” Why not? They’re comfortable. “You look like an old man.” My daughter was 9, and what’s wrong with looking like an old man? Okay, I was 35 but those socks were comfortable. I also found out stripes and plaids were a no-no, and nothing goes with purple. If it were up to me I would wear the same glasses John Lennon wore, but since my head is the size of a basketball, the little round spectacles don’t work. I also thought going a year without a haircut would be cool, but I looked like a mop-draped basketball so that was out too. It’s a good thing nobody found out my real intention and that was to grow my hair long enough to wear a ponytail. I’d seen the original Mutiny on the Bounty with Clark Gable and suddenly I wanted to be a pirate. When my niece said I looked like Colonel Sanders with my long white hair and goatee, I figured it was time for a haircut and a bucket of Original Recipe. I suffered through a Hawaiian shirt phase as well. Everybody tries to be Jimmy Buffett when they turn 50.  Over the last year I cultivated the khaki and white look, which involved seven pairs of khaki pants and 40 white golf shirts. While not wearing the same clothes every day, I looked like I did. Most people, though, knew I couldn’t survive a meal without dropping a major glob of ketchup, mustard or Thousand Island salad dressing down my shirt so I had to at least change shirts or become a fan of paisley. Over the winter I went for the college professor look wearing camel hair blazers and dark turtlenecks to offset my white hair and beard. The only thing missing was the pipe and the ability to say something intelligent.  This summer people are going to see a little more color out of me. Think Monopoly. There’s Mediterranean grape, St. Charles magenta, Oriental powder blue, St. James peach, Illinois cherry, Marvin Gardens lemon, Pennsylvania lime and Boardwalk blue. That’s a different color golf shirt for every day of the week. I will look like a walking Monopoly board. A cool idea, but I haven’t run this one by my daughter yet. I got it: a walking Monopoly board and socks with sandals. I can hear my daughter now, “Go to jail, directly to jail, do not pass GO and do not collect $200.”

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