Friday, May 15, 2009

So, what IS with the bow-tie anyway ...

… I ask as if anyone really cared to know. I think I have a (mostly) sober estimate of myself – and at a time when even “the imaginary-audience for my life is growing small and silent,” I don’t cling to any delusions about most folks giving more than half a hoot about what I do, think or say. Still, there’s that nagging little trait, that strident interior voice that looks for, longs for, insists upon and sometimes even creates a sense of personal significance in the face of the overwhelming anonymity of modern existence. That’s the voice that blogs and posts on FaceBook and shamelessly looks for attention from some kind of real (though maybe only virtual) audience. It’s the voice that believes it has something significant to say and declares that you would do well to listen.

Then again … it could be that, even as old as I am I have just not been able to shed that little part of my psyche that is still painfully self-conscious … wonder why that is and where that feeling comes from …

{Cue the harp music … picture gets all squiggly … fading out of the
present and into the past … first day of kindergarten 1969}

~ The day started really bad (all tears and snot when the parents left) but got better as it went on. It was time to “go to the basement” which was the euphemism the teachers taught to keep us from saying “I gotta go pee.” Well, when we got there, we were amazed at how big the room was … and all along one wall, a row of gleaming white porcelain urinals. They were as tall as the tallest kid in the class and stretched all the way to the floor. I for one had never seen anything like it. While I stood there in awe, a kid named James pushed his way past me and very confidently and deliberately (here, please forgive my indelicate usage) dropped trou, copped a squat and did #2 in the urinal. At first I was merely disgusted … it was liking watching someone defecate on Stone Henge or something … but then I was terrified. Right as James was finishing his …er … movement, the upper classmen (i.e. first and second graders) came in. They roared with laughter at James’ error and dubbed him the name he would carry for the remainder of his elementary school career – “Doo-Doo Boy.”
Well, seemed like James was okay with the new moniker. He turned out to be a paste-eating, hair-pulling, cookie-stealing wild boy, quite worthy (and I think even proud) of his nickname and notoriety. I, on the other hand was horrified … how one false move, one mistaken violation of some societal norm, could mark you for life. Why, given a different set of gastro-intestinal circumstances, I might well have become “Doo-Doo Boy!” ~

But, I digress … play the harp, squiggle the picture and let’s get back to twenty-first century, middle-aged me – to-wit, the bow-ties. Whether it’s from my juvenile need for attention or my even more juvenile insecurity about what people think of me, when I turn up the house-lights in the theater of my mind, one of the three people in my imaginary audience stands and says, “Yeah, so, what’s up with that anyway?”

Well, madam, I’m glad you ask. I have been accused of making a political statement (either I’m a Louis Farrakahn-like radical or a Tucker Carlson-ish neocon). At one point I even considered making up a Nathaniel Hawthorne-style story, attaching some grave and deep spiritual significance to the donning of new neckwear and the doffing of the former and more traditional. But the real reason is not as controversial and compelling as all that.

I just like bow-ties, y’all. I always have. They are a little uncanny … somehow a bow-tie manages to be both cool and geeky, sharp and frumpy, traditional and edgy. And, it makes you a little less invisible … might be frivolous and vain on my part but people seem to see and acknowledge me more when I’m sportin’ a bow. I wouldn’t say it’s gratifying – sometimes it’s not even desirable … but it is kinda nice. And in these dismal days, kinda nice is actually – well – pretty darn nice … and a positive like that deserves a little accentuating.

So, I’m a convert, friends! Bow-ties forever! How ‘bout you pick-up a few and join me – we could start a club!


VallyP said...

As ever, a great story well told, Van. I love your posts, and bow ties? Well, aren't they the last word in genteel cool? Love 'em too xx

VanO said...

Thanks Val -- you are one of the most dedicated members of my imaginary audience ;)

VanO said...

Don't know how that University of Phoenix link to "school career" got in there ... I didn't do it. Something sinister afoot methinks.