I like meeting people that tell me who they are by what they choose to wear. Not just the style of shirt or jeans they put on each day, but also the extra things they carry because they mean something to them.
Flannel shirts and cargo pants were a daily choice for a former co-worker of mine. Each time I saw him, he seemed to have the same outfit on. As time passed, I appreciated the simplicity of his everyday decision-making. He knew what he was all about and he wasn’t afraid to show it — an outdoor kind of guy who liked extra pockets and sleeves he could roll up to be ready for wild and unknown adventures.
Another man I used to go to church with was a Mr. Fix It kind of guy. Whenever someone was in a jam, they knew he would be the person to turn to for a pocketknife or other small tool that could be used to save the day. He always wore those old blue jeans that you knew were probably his favorite because of the familiar faded imprint of a wallet on the back pocket.
I think guys that wear blue jeans with faded wallet imprints are always heroes.
Then there’s my old friend Kurt who was more of a hippy, rock n’ roll type. He was from New York and his big city background was something you could guess just by looking at him.
Kurt could be seen riding his bike up and down and all around town. He liked wearing those oversized shirts that made his skinny arms look even skinnier. A red or blue scarf was always loosely tied around his neck. I knew that he had it on because he could use it to wipe his warm face at the end of his bike rides, and because scarfs always add their own kind of flair to any person.
What made Kurt his very own special, stand out kind of guy, was that he wore most of his life stories on his face. On each ear, you could see rings and studs of different sizes and colors. On most days, he put on eyeliner because he wanted to remind me and others that the rock music of the 1970s was still worth listening to and appreciating.
I remember he once told me that he knew every song from 1975 because that was the year he was behind bars. I couldn’t tell that he was a former jailbird, but from what he chose to wear each day I figured his life had…