Pure Slush

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Suit yourself, not me

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by Mark Hudson


You can’t judge a book by its cover. But don’t we? My mother told me in the forties when she grew up, men wore suits to almost everything they did, baseball games included. I asked my printmaking professor at the time if people used to print with ink in suits at the time. “Oh yes, they did, they were just careful,” he said.

I always hated “suiting up, and showing up.” Growing up in the conservative Reagan eighties, I thought the punk rock or metal scene a little cooler, but in high school, I was an alternative individual, meaning I was a social tennis ball. I didn’t fit in with anybody.

In jr. high there was a group where girls and boys got together in a chaperoned dancing group. It sounded like it was really rowdy, and you could goof off.

The first time I showed up, I showed up in a hand-me-down suit from the seventies, and you could tell. I was in grade eight, and I still had a bowl cut. I had the nickname “Lurch” like the character from the Addams Family.

The first day they had an exercise where the girls could pick the boy they danced with. I was the last to be picked, and the girl who got stuck with me had a noticeable look of horror on her face. I said, “That does it,” and I went and got a haircut, I got some contact lenses, and got a really good suit. The next week, it was the same. The girls picked the boys they wanted to dance with. This time, the best looking and most popular girl at my school picked me to dance, although I couldn’t dance, so she just laughed at me. I quit the group.

In the record store by my house yesterday, a grown man dressed with a punk rock style came in. He could’ve looked intimidating, if I don’t know better. The record store owner said, “Did you have a wild New Year’s?”

The punk rock man laughed and said, “I haven’t had a wild New year’s in ages!”

He then chit-chatted and told the record store owner how his father had passed away four weeks ago, and now his cat was dying of the same thing as his father had, four weeks later. He talked about how he just paid for dental, and now he was looking at spending his final time with his cat. I could relate, because when I found out my mother had ovarian cancer, I held my precious guinea pig in my arm and wept. When my mom was dying, I also had to take my guinea pig to the veterinarian, and watch them both pass away around the same time. Grief has no dress code.


published 26 March 2016