When I was a young Swain, there were never any courses in school pertaining to the word “CLASH.” Neither did I receive any instructions in the home about checks and stripes “clashing.”“Perhaps one reason was the fact that we were fortunate to possess clothing of any type. It was not until I was married that I was introduced to fashions. Heretofore, I simply saw a shirt that I liked, bought it, wore it with whatever pants that happened to be pressed at the time and thought nothing of it.
Suddenly things changed. I could not be seen in public with my, ‘checked slacks’ and the ‘beautiful striped shirt’. Why? “Because they clash.”
Up until this time, I had believed that clash meant to collide, conflict, to strike together with a loud, harsh metallic sound, or to fail to harmonize. My attire did none of the above. It was comfortable, somewhat spiffy and I enjoyed wearing it.
Once, while in the men’s department of a large store, I spied a beautiful chartreuse shirt which I was certain would ‘glow in the dark’. I immediately forked over most of my weeks pay and returned home with my treasure. Placing it on a hanger and hanging it beside my pink trousers, I envisioned the striking exhibition of color coordination that I would present on the occasion of our next outing.
As luck would have it, the office party was being held the following Saturday. The power bill was delayed until the ‘last day before cut-off time’; in order for my wife to purchase a new dress while: “Here I sit with a combination that would set the Fashion World back; at least, “A COUPLE OF YEARS”.
Happily, I donned my new look; while my wife “put on her face,” and I waited for her approval. I was not prepared for what transpired when she saw me in a stance that I had hoped resembled some of the models from the catalog. Her mouth flew open, her breathing became shallow, red splotches appeared on her face and the veins in her neck stood out as if ready to burst. When she regained her voice, she said with a croak, “YOU’RE NOT GOING TO WEAR THAT, ARE YOU??
Dejected, I replied, “Why not?” With a low moan, she informed me, “Because it clashes!” “You should know better! Take off those monstrosities and put on your blue sui; or I will refuse to go anywhere with you.”
As I changed, I reflected on a time when my chartreuse shirt, my pink trousers and even the green, silk scarf that I had knotted around my neck would have advanced ‘Men’s fashions, world-wide; by probably ten years. And besides, in my humble opinion, my attire had made absolutely none but the best of sounds. In fact, I was reasonably sure that it could have given The Gatlin Brothers a lesson or two in harmony. Several weeks passed and we finally were on speaking terms again when I decided to change the oil in the car.
I was underneath the engine compartment with oil dripping into my face when I called for my lovely roommate to hand me a rag. Being unable to open my eyes; I reached for the cloth; while wiping my face until I could see.
When I was able to open my eyes, I saw an oil-soaked chartreuse shirt with the buttons cut off. Until this day, there has never been an explanation of what happened to the pink trousers.
Why do I not ask, you say? It’s simply because I’ve got better sense than to stir up another hornets nest. . Jay Henry