WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

If clothes make the man, do mine make me old?

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Yesterday, I posted a picture of myself on Facebook while I was waiting at the doctor’s office.

Before your mind goes to a place that is quite unappealing, the picture was a simple selfie of me with a bored look on my face. I had gone from the waiting room to a seat with a nurse who took my blood pressure, checked my weight, kicked the tires and checked my oil pressure and all that. After that, I was ushered into a small exam room where I waited fully dressed for the doctor.

This was a six-month checkup and nothing extreme, so I didn’t have to wear one of those paper gowns that don’t ever close just right and do nothing but strip you of any dignity you may have had before going into the little room. What seemed to garner people’s attention was the shirt I was wearing.

It was nothing special. Green and blue plaid, with a slight yellow accent. Normal button-down oxford shirt. It wasn’t a T-shirt with a lewd comment or the name of an old rock band on it. It was a simple shirt with a collar, cuffs and buttons. It was clean and ironed. I was, as my mother used to say, presentable.

“My Dad had a shirt like that.” a dear friend told me, “He was in his 80s.”

I am not in my 80s. I am barely in my 50s. And by barely, I mean a month and a half.

I liked the shirt when I bought it. I bought it myself after picking it out myself. I did not lose a bet and have to dress like an old man.

I have other shirts just like this one. Some are solid and some are plaid, but the are all basically the same. Button-down, collar. Two-button cuff with that extra little button at the wrist. Some of them have that little loop on the back and some do not. If they don’t, it’s not a deal breaker. A long time ago, that little loop had a politically incorrect name and was pulled by many a prankster. It’s been a long time since I have had one pulled or pulled one myself.

“Next thing, it’s gonna be one of those tan windbreakers.”

I already have one. I’ve had it for a couple of years when I got it to replace the green windbreaker I had worn for more than a decade. The windbreaker is pretty much perfect. It’s simple and does the job it is supposed to do. It breaks wind.

No, not that way. It stops everything on the bad side of a strong breeze. It’s not meant to keep you warm on a cold day. It’s supposed to ward off a chill on a windy day. I’m a grandfather, and this is what grandfathers are supposed to wear.

I can still tie my own shoes. I can’t bend like I used to, but I can still tie a shoe most of the time without a lot of effort. My wife says otherwise, but this is a woman who has worn sandals for as long as I can remember.

I have bought more slip-on shoes. They are quick and easy. I bought a pair of Crocs, but mine aren’t the goofy looking ones with all the holes in the top. Mine are the goofy looking ones with the leather on the top. They might look like shower shoes, but they are incredibly comfortable.

I’ve bought a few pairs of goofy socks to go with them. I have socks with ducks and hounds and anchors and such on them. One pair has multicolored submarines on them. Former President George H.W. Bush liked his whimsical socks and so do I.

I haven’t reached the level of the sneakers with the Velcro closures yet. They are perfect for those with arthritis and such as they are very easy to fasten. I like to think I am still a few years away from those. I do have arthritis, but there are a lot of people older than me at the VFW breakfast who can still tie their shoes, so I don’t want to look like the odd man out.

It’s easy to tell the guy who is having a rough go of things by his shoes. There’s one guy who comes to breakfast in slippers. They are plain brown and have a leather sole. He served in WWII, so he can wear whatever shoes he wants to at breakfast. I doubt anyone would argue with him.

If you see me out and about, I’m probably going to be in my windbreaker and slip-on shoes. If I am just running errands, I don’t want to make a big deal about my attire. A plaid shirt and jeans. Leather belt and slip-on shoes.

There’s no need to get all dressed up. I’m probably going to Walmart, not someplace fancy like Target. For an occasion like that, I’ll rent a tuxedo.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

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