Friday, July 07, 2006
I have an unnatural affection for a Levi’s denim jacket that I picked up in 1985. I wore it (too much) through the last part of high school and into college, and I realized I had something good going on when a girlfriend in college –- who had never asked to borrow any of my clothes before (or since) -- asked if she could borrow it for a date.
It was faded and worn by its second year out.
In the upper left hand pocket there’s a Michelob Light bottle cap from the night I shared a few 3.2 brews with C, the class Salutatorian who, it just so happened, I had nursed a crush on our senior year when our lockers were parked right next to each other.
He hadn’t even noticed I was alive, he told me, “until that day you read that thing you wrote in AP English. What was that?” (It was an exegesis of the dream passage in Richard Wright’s Native Son, but I don’t think that’s what he meant.)
We had a glorious(ly innocent) mash session a few nights after that but, alas, summer was at its end and he had MIT (and a girlfriend) to get back to, so that was the end of that.
After I got out of college I retired the jacket to my closet along with the other clothes I no longer wear but can’t bear to throw out. Then near the tail-end of the 90s jean jackets came back around, so I pulled out the coat and gave it a good washing.
Since then I’m back to wearing it too much.
Recently I went to pull it off the hook where it was hanging at work, and saw that a huge hole had worn away in the yoke -- I could actually hook the hook through the jacket.
Clearly it’s time to retire its raggedy old ass. The thought has only made me love it more, and wear it more, which the antique can hardly take.
This afternoon, wearing the jacket, I stopped by a colleague's office. As we talked her eyes kept straying to the coat, and I felt them boring through every worn and torn spot, looking it over the way the popular girls look you over right before they whisper to their friends about how ridiculous you look and how terribly un-cool you are.
Uh oh, I thought. I waited too long. Now it’s come to this: public embarrassment. I really need to take this old thing off and never wear it again.
Just as I was about to slink away in shame she said (loudly): “What’s with the bad ass vintage jean jacket?!” – and went on from there, praising its virtues at some length.
It seems the governor has just called in his pardon.