Friday, May 11, 2012

The Value Of Professional Appearance

I've worked with some strange people (to be kind).  If you've read any of my past entries you've probably already figured that out.  Lynda was was near the top of the list.

Lynda was teaching assistant who had been passed around to every building in the district like a hot potato.  She was in her late 40's I'd guess, and was a total ditz.  She (among other things) openly told people that she wore tin foil hats and decorated her house with "X's" to starve off possible alien attack.  Seriously.

I enjoy making a visit to a thrift store now and then.  I've found them to be good places to find used music and books cheap.  On one particularly visit I found myself looking through the used neckties.  Obviously most of these ties were never in style, and the few that were contained large stains.  But then I tripped across a Jerry Garcia tie in pretty good shape.

At the time Jerry Garcia ties were pretty popular and not exactly cheap (at least on a young teacher salary).  Here was a lightly worn one for 2.99.  There was just one problem.  I was pretty sure I hated it.  It was black with this obnoxious purple flower like pattern of sorts slapped across the front.

It was 2.99.  What the hell?  I grabbed the tie, reminded myself that I had no sense of style, and went and checked out (and then used some Purell...).  

I didn't wear the tie for a while.  It just hung there and looked at me.  "This tie is hideous." I thought to myself.  "Besides, you can't be wearing some shit you got at a glorified garage sale to work.  This is isn't college."

But there would be other days I would remind myself that I didn't know anything about abstract art, and of all the other fashion trends that I hated, but later conformed to.  So the day came where I said 'fuck it' and put it on.

This quickly became one of those instances where it was apparent that I should have trusted my judgement.  People were passing me in the hall and shielding their eyes.  Even staff members who were too kind or didn't know me well enough to bust my chops spoke up on this day:

"My GOD! That's the ugliest thing I've ever seen!"

"Did you lose a bet?"

"Did you get dressed in the dark today dude?"

I tried to explain to people that it was a Jerry Garcia tie and therefore automatically cool.  I wasn't selling it.  At all.

It was difficult to teach.  The kids wanted to talk about the damn tie.  As the morning went on, my colleagues were telling the kids to ask me about the tie before they arrived which just further wound them up.

Around lunch I was heading to make some copies when I passed crazy Lynda in the hall.

"Oh my!  That is the best looking tie I have EVER seen." she beamed never making eye contact with me as she starred adoringly at the tie.

Without speaking, I removed the tie in the middle of the hallway, handed it to Lynda, and walked away.

Stick to music Jerry.

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