Many years ago, probably around 1975, I’d been out looking for a job. I couldn’t find one on this particular day and returned home, angry and frustrated. I went to see Michael, my closest friend then and now. When I went into his house he was just beginning to lower a needle onto a record when I said, “You know what? You don’t get any fucking respect unless you have a suit and a good job.” The needle paused just above the record’s surface. Michael said, “Please – Nixon had a suit and a good job.”
Michael has a genius for right-sizing things like no one I have ever known.
I had a perplexing conversation with a woman I was in a relationship with some time back. It went something like this.
– Peter, your shirt doesn’t have a collar.
– I know.
– Why not?
– They didn’t make it with one, I don’t know. It has buttons.
– Not all the way down.
– Well, some are better than none, no?
– But there’s no collar, Peter.
– Is that important?
– If you have to ask that’s not good.
– How’m I to know if I don’t ask?
– Stop it. You should wear a shirt with a collar when we’re going out to eat.
– We’re going to breakfast at a diner.
– That’s going out to eat. I mean you’re wearing shorts, a shirt with no collar and not enough buttons.
– It’s over 90 degrees outside, lots of people are wearing shorts.
– That’s not the point.
– (I look down at my shirt) There’s enough buttons.
– That’s not the point, Peter.
– It is for the shirt.
– You’ve never made a commitment to a shirt in your life.
– I made a commitment to this one.
– Don’t you love me?
– Of course I love you.
– It would mean a great deal to me if you would wear a shirt with a collar when we went out to eat.
– Look, we’re only a few minutes from the house, let me go back and change shirts.
– There’s no time. We’re late.
– But we’re not meeting anyone.
– We’re late, I can feel it.
I have three dogs, they never ask me about what I’m wearing and I never ask them about what they wear. They have no choice. And while I do have a choice, it is mine and only mine to make.
Anyway, I have to go now. I’m late, I can feel it.