There is a lot of energy in today’s world dedicated to categorizing us as human beings. Men more than ever have to figure out whether they wish to be viewed as old fashion, stoic “he-men,” or would they prefer the label of being modern, sensitive “metro-sexuals” when it comes to their approach to man-hood?
One of the ways you can judge a man is by what they keep closest to their heart….or groin. Honestly, one has to admit that the first decision of any consequence that every man makes each morning can be traced directly to which pair of underwear they decide to put on.
While women can run the gamut from so-called “Granny-panties” to thongs, men are really limited to the concept of boxers or briefs. (I know there are men who have now adopted the “boxer/brief” look, but I reject that concept. You can’t have it both ways in this world. Pick a style, and live with your choices!) There are plusses and minuses with whatever direction you choose.
For me, there were two factors that forced my hand in giving up the “brief” look, and switching over permanently to the boxer coalition. First, it was the nickname “tighty-whities” that gave me pause when it came to my choice of undergarment. Being a grown man, and walking around wearing something that almost everybody was now referring to as “tighty-whities” just wasn’t working for me.
The nail in the coffin however for my career as a wearer of briefs came from an interview with Brian Cranston. He was discussing why his infamous character “Walter White” on the classic television program Breaking Bad was seen so often wearing his “tighty-whities” on-screen. Cranston said that he wanted his character to basically be as dorky as possible. A complete loser if you will. Consider me converted. Hello boxers!
It’s inevitable that every generation believes that the interests and experiences of their youth are superior to the youthful experiences of whatever generation that follows them. It’s only natural to assume that the way things were are always better than the way things are.
If you are a male, and a baby-boomer, then you know that there were few items from your childhood which resonated with more positive memories than your baseball card collection. Baseball cards were not only a source of entertainment, but they were also a way to measure one’s status. If you had a “Willie Mays,” or a Hank Aaron “Rookie Card,” or if you were from New York, and you had collected all of the Mets or Yankees’ cards that were available for that series, then you were the envy of all of your friends.
As purchases go, baseball cards were hit or miss. Sure, you might snag a Dave Parker or a Pete Rose, but you might also get a pack filled with a couple of Doug Flynns, or Paul Cassanovas. Baseball cards were also a source of entertainment and competition amongst you and your friends. Baseball card driven games included…
Scaling was the game that most boys played. If you could scale it and get it to stand up against the wall, you were going home with some cardboard. “Match-deMatch” involved little more skill than was needed to flip a coin. As for “colors,” I never understood how that game worked, and I’m sure I gave up a few valuable cards over the years to an assortment of schoolyard hucksters.
If you’re like me, your mother probably bided her time, and when she thought you had moved on from your card collection, she struck, and threw them all away. Fret not, thanks to the good people at Amazon, your lost youth can be reclaimed. The best part of the 1970s, (Aside from platform shoes) is just a click away.
Tomorrow is the universal day in which we are supposed to give thanks for all that we have. However, in our consumer based society, we sometimes forget all the things that we are supposed to be grateful for. Let’s face it, some of us aren’t very good at giving thanks, we tend to dwell on the negative. As my Aunt Sylvia used to say, “If it wasn’t for the pain, I wouldn’t know I was alive”. However, I feel compelled to point out that it would behoove us as Americans to do a better job of giving credit to those who deserve it. This seems more substantial than just a generic once-a-year “thanks” to an amorphous higher power who may or may not have interceded on our behalf while we gorge on canned gelatinous cranberry by-product. There are many unsung heroes among us, and their contributions need to be recognized.
For openers, how many people know who wrote the Constitution? It was of course James Madison. I wonder how many people know the name of the love-child produced by Kanye West and “something” Kardashian compared to those who know the name of the man who literally gave you the “Bill of Rights”. To be fair, Madison was always a “try-hard” who often lacked the respect you would think a man who wrote the Constitution would merit. One of Madison’s problems in my opinion was his stature, or lack thereof. Madison holds the distinction of being our shortest President, only 5 feet 4 inches tall. This was despite the fact that men wore those “buckle-shoes” with the little heel on them, in the late 18th century, sort of like Prince or “&” or whatever sign he goes by today, which allowed Madison to artificially elevate. The problem was that since all men “elevated”, Madison couldn’t grab the edge he so desperately needed.
“Little Jimmy” MadisonThe Purple One…ready to debate the Elastic Clause
It was not lost on the other Founding Fathers that Madison lacked vertical distinctiveness. George Washington, all 6 feet 2 inches of him would often egg on the other Constitutional Conventioneers in taunting the diminutive one. Washington recorded this entry in his diary in early 1787:
“February, 1787, me, Patrick Henry, and that old codger Ben Franklin snuck up behind “Tiny Jim” and swiped his “beloved” Constitution from him and proceeded to taunt him by holding it just above his reach over his head, only returning the scribe when he would admit, that we were indeed, “His Daddy’s”!”
It appears that Randy Newman may have been on to something when he stated through the gift of song, that, in fact, “Short People…got no reason, to live” Madison may have been better served by history if he were to have been perhaps our fattest President. That distinction went to the “Commander in Cheese-whiz” William Howard Taft. Taft, of the oversized bathtub, specifically designed for his corpulent stature, tipped the scales at over 350 lbs. It is said that behind Taft’s back, T.R. or Teddy Roosevelt, the avid hunter referred to his protege’ as “Big Game”.
Ah the Pocket Watch, a lost fashion statement!
Another contributor to the betterment of our society who have often toiled in obscurity is the talented Hibachi Chef. This creature is often found in your standard issue Japanese Steakhouse. I deem them praise-worthy since no matter which Japanese Steakhouse restaurant you go to, and I mean anywhere from California to South Carolina, to Buffalo to Intercourse, Pennsylvania, you get the same show, with the same shtick. We once went to a Japanese Steakhouse in that famous bastion of Japanese culture… Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where we had a Hibachi Chef who looked like he just resigned from his job as “Pit Crew” chief at Daytona preparing to give us the “stir-frying experience of our lives”. Sadly, there was a lack of legitimacy. Perhaps, it was when he asked us in a voice that sounded like Gomer Pyle whether we wanted more Saki? But, in fairness, the guy built a pretty fair fiery onion tower.
Um, well he is building the Onion Tower!
Whichever Japanese Steakhouse you go to, the food tastes the same, they flick the shrimp into your mouth, they shoot Saki at you, the chef plays with the big knife, catches an egg on his hat, and it costs a fortune. Remarkable consistency!
My favorite unsung hero shall remain unnamed and uncredited. It goes out to whomever invented the hat. The hat is in many ways mankind’s greatest accessory. I’m going to throw a morsel of credit to the “chosen people”, the Jews. They have always believed in keeping their heads covered, but the custom has continued to evolve and grow ever since biblical times.
I believe it was George Carlin, the great comedian and curmudgeon who pointed out that it is hats that separate man from animal, since animals never wear hats, unless a human puts one on them.
Dogs shouldn’t be Knick fans since they don’t live that long, and the Knicks haven’t won anything in 41 years.
I love baseball hats in particular, although if you ever take a good look at them, they’re really just Yarmulka’s with a brim. Yarmulka’s are good if you suffer from male pattern baldness, they fit right over the bald spot.
Even the Pope knows that.
Hats can define our moods as well as explain our careers. A top hat means you’re going out for a night on the town….or a chimney sweep. A bowler means you’re a card player, or the fat guy in a comedy team:
Santa needs a hat for his costume to be complete, as do Pirates, Police Officers, Firemen, and Choo-Choo Engineers. So do maids, Chauffeurs, farmers, (Vietnamese or American), and Communists:
Workers of the world can’t unite…unless they have a stylish chapeau
I’m still partial to the baseball hat. You can support any cause or team you want, and people don’t necessarily assume you’re bald. And, if it worked for the immortal Oscar Gamble, then it’s suitable for anybody.
Whew, talk about “Hat-Head”!
If you watch cable news, or read almost any website that’s not about quilting, (Although some of those “quilters” can be regular bullies) you’d think we are a deeply divided society. However, there are a few things that we still share as a nation. No, it’s not obesity, (I always secretly fear that when they show fat people in news features about fat people, that they were actually filming me, but just putting that little black stripe across my eyes to protect my anonymity)
I’m almost positive I don’t have a coat like that…almost.
it’s Thanksgiving…of course! It is probably the most shared and celebrated holiday in America. It really is the perfect holiday. It combines all of the things I hold dear.
Sometimes we would have to drive into the “city” to see my aunts and uncles, or head off to Queens to see my brother who had moved out and gotten married by what seemed like the age of 15. Traffic was to my father as “Tic-Tacs” are to ballet dancers. (A caloric splurge they simply can’t afford) He would do anything possible and perhaps a few things humanly impossible to avoid it. My father’s theory about defeating traffic was simple. “As long as you’re moving”. “But Dad, we are going to Queens, and we just past a sign for Niagara Falls”. Didn’t matter, we were moving. If you’ve ever taken Merrick Road to Queens….well then you’re out of your gourd, just like my father.
As an adult, I figured that my Thanksgiving Day Parade watching days were over. Little did I know I’d have children who’d want to go. We actually got to see some celebrities up close. We saw Hannah Montana, (I told that Judge that a 100 yard restraining order wouldn’t stop me) and “Steve” from “Blue’s Clues”. In fact, due to parade traffic, his float got stuck right in front of us. He waved for a while, and then he seemed to tire of the whole thing. Mostly it was cold and there was no where to pee. From now on, the only parades I’m going to watch are the North Korean ones where they parade their missiles down “Lil Kim” boulevard for all the see and fear.
Who’s the “Perv” who took this shot?
Perhaps the best thing about Thanksgiving is that it begins the entire holiday season. Once its Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s are just around the corner. Once it’s Thanksgiving you can listen to Christmas music, you can eat as much as you want since the calories don’t count, and you can watch all the good Christmas movies. But best of all, you can take time to reflect on all you have in your life that you can truly be thankful for. In another shared slice of Americana, many have found a way to demonstrate their thanks: