Fanfare for the Common Man

  • Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A man of the cloth?
I get into moods when it comes to my clothes. These moods last about a minute and a half because I don’t put a lot of thought into what I wear.
As long as I’m zipped-up, not button crooked, and with no shirttails sticking out of odd places, I’m good.
During the winter I often go for the black and gray lecturing professor look – whether I believe I can pass for a visiting lecturing professor or not.
I have this “Man in Black” look.  Black sport coat, black mock turtleneck, black trousers, black socks, right down to black boxers.
I wear black because black is supposed to be slimming, and combined with my silvery hair and closely trimmed beard, it makes for what I hope to be an alluring site for the ladies.
I’m not trolling when I get all trussed up in black because in all seriousness I don’t see myself as the trolling type. Oh, I belong on a lake bottom somewhere but I digress.
On Thursday I had the MIB look working nicely.
I’m standing in a Barnes and Noble perusing the contemporary fiction section looking for something to read when an attractive woman approaches. While she too is perusing the contemporary fiction section of books, I can tell her attention is more on me than what may be on the bookshelves.
I’m thinking “Yahtzee!” 
Somebody’s about to score.
She stands there regarding the bookshelves, cutting the furtive side glance my way until finally she says to me, and listen closely: “Father, that was something else today in the Vatican, wasn’t it?”
This was the day Pope Benedict XVI became the first pontiff in more than 600 years to retire his Vatican post as head of the Roman Catholic church.
That’s when I regard my MIB Look reflection in the store window. I don’t look anything like Johnny Cash, but more like Spencer Tracy’s Father Flannigan in “Boys Town.” The only thing missing was the clerical collar.
She thinks I’m a priest.
I give it a One-and-a-half Mississippi and note my all-black attire; and kudos to me for thinking quickly on my feet because quick thinking is not included in my skills sets.
I reply in an introspective and spiritual tone, “These are transitional times, my child.”
I figured – quickly thinking mind you – that it would be less embarrassing for her and less awkward for me to just play along than to say she was mistaken because of the way I was dressed.
I thought about doing the sign of the Cross but since I’m left handed I would have done so as a Southpaw and I’m not real up to date on any potential dark side ramifications for making ceremonial theological hand signals with the left hand.
I surely didn’t want my inadvertent faux pas to open some mysterious portal into a dark dimension and rain fire and brimstone down upon the Earth.
So, I buy my book and beat a trail for the parking lot wondering how much trouble a person can get into for impersonating a man of the cloth.
Now, before dodging the lightning I did take into account that I am an ordained minister duly sworn. I consider my five-minute ordination period as an introspective time of my life.
But Lord, have mercy.  You can’t make this stuff up. Or maybe you can.
There, that should hold up in court.

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