Autumn has arrived.
I open the closet door and face a choice. What jacket shall I wear when I leave the house?
It's not easy to decide. You see, I have a large group of zippered, sleeved, and pocketed garments who are interested in performing the public service of draping and protecting my upper body. Which leads to a sudden inspiration. What if I held my own version of a political contest? A full-blown election. It's my jackets...and they're running for office. To see who I will elect to wear this season.
Let's start with the primary...Presto! The votes are in!
I now have only three candidates hanging before me. I remove the garments from the closet rod and lay them out and prepare for the general election. What's the prize? Simple. The winner gets to go out into the fresh, bracing autumn air with me.
Campaign Stump Speeches
One by one, I ask the candidates to make their cases. In a civil manner, of course. No 30-second attack ads.
Candidate No. 1 - Varsity
J. Peterman catalog. I'm very clear about my origins and the timing because not long after you bought me we began to notice that Jerry Seinfeld was wearing my identical twin on his show. A plot was introduced to Seinfeld as well, featuring Elaine working for Mr. Peterman (remember the "Urban Sombrero")? So I guess you could say that I have Hollywood connections! My other virtue (in the eyes of some) is that I'm all about image. I'm the jacket for the guy who never got a letter jacket of his own in his high school. Namely you. (Perhaps you could have had some snappy, multicolored, leather-sleeved attire if only your high school had allowed a guy to letter in your specialities: good behavior in the lunch room, sentence diagramming without complaint, and getting turned down for dates.) So, I candidly admit that I'm all about the jock thing, I realize,this can be a liability. Your wife has never really liked me. I imagine she thinks I make you look a bit juvenile. But who are you going to listen to? Vote for me! I've got experience and connections!
Candidate No. 2 - Fleece
The North Face and I'd like you to know that I'm the most outdoorsy of all the candidates. I'm fiscally responsible, too. In fact, I was purchased at Overstock.com at a 50% discount just a couple of years ago. I wad up well in a back pack and once I'm brought to light I snug up against your body and, despite my light weight, I keep you surprisingly warm. You've taken me to Ruidoso, New Mexico and to a blues festival in Colorado and you've also worn me when you performed slam poetry. I'm just getting started in my useful life. In fact, I'm begging to be exposed to the smoke of a campfire. Versatility and thrift, that's me. I'm the perfect jacket to get you through a recession, no?
Candidate No. 3 - Sundance
Robert Redford. What's wrong with a "coolness" factor? But I'm not so hard up that I'll brag about it like Mr. Varsity. You've either got it or you don't, ,know what I mean? To get down to particulars I'm made by Kuhl which, like The North Face, means I have major outdoor pedigree, but way more pockets. Let me remind you that also included with me was a "Kuhl Values: Human Rights and Responsibility" statement on a 1 x 3 inch piece of cardboard, making me the most unapologetically global in my outlook of all the candidates. Included in the statement is the observation that "with rights come responsibilities," presumably toward your fellow human beings. If this makes you a bit embarrassed, so be it. Here you are having fun with your surplus of jackets and someone elsewhere in the world has hardly any clothing. They can't even keep warm. I'm sorry, but I won't gloss that over just to get your vote!
The Ballots Are Counted