Dapper: (adj) neat, trim and smart

There’s a huge difference between dressing up a banana and a grapefruit.

Take a moment and think about it.

A banana has lean, straight lines and almost anything you put on it looks rather dapper.

A grapefruit, on the other hand, is round—sporting a circumference—which makes almost anything you place upon it appear to be an overlay.

This was my situation growing up—wanting to be a musical artist and stage personality but having the body type of a beachball.

I wanted to be dapper.

What was that definition, again? “Neat, trim and smart.”

So I immediately eliminated “trim.”

“Neat” only required that everything be well-pressed and fitting.

“Smart” normally is considered to be an intelligence issue, but we’re all mature enough to know that “dressing for success” is not just a slogan.

When I was nineteen years old, traveling around and appearing in coffee houses, I wanted something distinguished to wear. At the time we were emerging from the hippie era, so I yearned to pursue that look and apparel.

May I explain to you, however, that if you want to dress hippie, you can’t be.

Hippy, that is.

There were no clothes my size at all. I tried.

I literally began to hate Ashbury.

So I convinced my young wife—who had never sewn before in her life—to draw up a pattern for pants that I could wear onstage, which had a button-up fly and bell-bottoms.

I can still remember the horror on her face when I finished my request. I tried to make it sound adventuresome and assured her that whatever she came up with would be perfect.

I was wrong.

I don’t know how she came up with the design for the pants—but the waist was too big, the legs too small, and the buttonholes, tiny.

So when I pulled the pants up, the leg holes barely let my feet pass through, the waist hung down as if severely depressed and it took me fifteen minutes to get the buttons to go through the holes.

After I was done, I looked in the full-length mirror.

I resembled a sausage in the midst of being cased.

I still loved them. I decided to wear them to the next coffeehouse.

I managed to get them off and get them back on performance night. But when I walked over to sit down at the piano, my chubby thighs burst the seams of the legs, as I sat there in front of an audience with my white skin protruding through every seam.

I will never forget that I had to wear those pants the rest of the night, covering up my protruding fat thighs with my hands, which is almost impossible to do while still playing the piano.

Due to a shirt that was more or less a huge poncho, I succeeded in coming as close as I possibly could to dapper—mainly because God was merciful.

And the coffeehouse room was dimly lit.

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