Dacron

Dacron: (n) a brand of polyester textile fiber that is wrinkle-resistant and strong.

Many years ago, deeply embedded in the cultural tributaries of the American social superhighway, I traveled the land as a young man with long hair, great passion and questionable decision-making capabilities.

My entire wardrobe was Dacron polyester.

The fabric was magical.

Although a case can be made that it looks rather cheap, it refuses to wrinkle. Matter of fact, one of the tests I had for choosing a stage garment was wadding it up in my hands and throwing it on the floor. Then I picked it up to see if I could find any flaws.

Dacron was divine for traveling.

You could take it off after a show, let it fall to the ground, step on it four or five times during the night, kick it to the corner in disgust—but still, in the morning, it would come back to you, submissively unmarred.

There is one thing you had to be careful with, and that was temperature. Keeping my clothes in the back of a hot van in August, at times an odor wafted to the front, which fell somewhere between platypus poop and mustard gas. (I’m guessing.)

It was just the natural “sweating” of the Dacron fabric (which, of course, really isn’t cloth at all, but a series of chemicals mingled together to somehow or another explode into a fabric shape).

Without Dacron, we would never have had the leisure suit.

Without Dacron, we would never have had poofy bell bottoms.

And without Dacron, we would never have had the disco era, complete with its wild coloration and flashy, over-sized clothing. (A argument could be made that our country might have survived the absence of that particular era. I will remain neutral.)

Yet if there is a lawsuit pending to isolate those souls who wore their fair share of Dacron polyester, I am guilty.

But wrinkle-free.

 

Blazer

Blazer: (n) a lightweight jacket, typically solid-colored

Dictionary B

In my high school days I was in a music group, a quartet of fellows who were very intrigued with the idea of being famous and not quite so intent on musicality.

We spent most of our rehearsals discussing the clothes we would wear on stage, and also whether we could get a good deal on Beatle Boots. It was very important.

Of these four young men, I was the chubbiest.

So whenever we went clothes shopping and they found something they really liked–something they thought was hot and cute, which would get the girls’ attention–they would discover that it didn’t come in “Porky.”

They pretended not to be disappointed–but I knew I was holding them back from being debonaire.

One day we came across some golden blazers.

They were so cool. Everyone tried one on, and each person looked stunning in his own adolescent, awkward way.

There was one extra-large in the blazer. I tried it on, and it covered most of the terrain of my belly but pinched me at the shoulders and looked a bit ridiculous when I stood in front of the mirror.

But the guys were so intent on purchasing the garment that they convinced me I was passable.

Back home, I tried it on again and again and again. Each time it looked worse and worse and worse–especially when I wore it with the accompanying black turtleneck.

I looked like a bumblebee with a glandular problem.

So I set out to address the situation by soaking my blazer in water and then going out to my mother’s clothesline in the back yard, hanging it up with pairs of boots dangling from the inseams, so as to stretch it.

Do you get the picture?

After it dried out, I discovered that it still failed to cover my midriff–but nearly reached to my knees.

For the next year and a half, whenever it was “golden blazer time,” the other guys looked nifty and keen–and I resembled a monk who had recently acquired a beer gut.

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Aquamarine

dictionary with letter A

Aquamarine (n): a light bluish-green color.

This may sound very selfish, but one of the fringe benefits of the recent civil rights afforded to the gay community (aside from the fact that we live in a free country and it was basically inevitable once the belly-aching ceased) is that we no longer have to be threatened by other men saying “that’s gay.”

It has become a taboo.

It used to be a perpetual, common horror.

I remember many years ago when leisure suits were both leisurely and in fashion, I found one at a discount store, marked down, which happened to be my size. It was aquamarine.

You see, the problem was that even though it was a much more colorful era, certain hues were still looked upon as being suspect of your sexual orientation. Add to the fact that I was a piano player, and you had the makings of a San Francisco gay parade.

Not only did I get an occasional sneer and sidewise comment, like, “Nice color, big boy,” but I also began to envision that I was being stared at by the entire world, viewed as a “man lover.”

So paranoid was I that I started prancing around like John Wayne and using the deepest timbre my voice could muster. When wearing the aquamarine garment, I was always quick to point out that I was married and had fathered children from my own manly source.

It was crazy.

Finally, even though I loved the outfit, I purposefully “accidentally” forgot it at a motel. (What I mean is, I actually did forget it, but remembered it by the time I got to the elevator and decided not to go back for it.)

So somewhere in Yuma, Arizona, there is a big fat man wearing an aquamarine leisure suit … who obviously has much more confidence than I do.

 

 

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Amice

dictionary with letter A

Amice: (n) a cap, hood or white linen cloth worn on the neck and shoulders by a priest or member of other religious orders.

Always willing to admit my ignorance, I had absolutely no idea what this word was, nor do I still have much of a vision for the garment described

But I am certainly aware of the inclination of those who wish to express their position, authority, superiority or uniqueness by the type of cloth they use to adorn their bodies.

I guess it’s just a part of being human.

But I must be honest–at times it seems inhuman or unkind, to separate oneself off from others by blaring a fashion statement.

Case in point: I don’t have anything personally against the Amish nor their ilk, but I find it a bit aggravating that secretly, somewhere deep in their souls, they sense a moral and spiritual upliftedness by dressing “plain,” and proving that in so doing, God is smiling more on them than on my sweatpants.

It does not take very long to travel through the Good Book to see that Jesus was quite aggravated himself by the religions leaders, who adorned themselves in elaborate robing to demonstrate their position and heavenly placement.

On the other hand, I suppose it’s essential that military service personnel wear uniforms, to create–well, uniformity. (Yet, when we really are being intelligent in wartime situations, we have our soldiers infiltrate the local populace by dressing normally. It increases the possibility for victory via subterfuge.)

I’ve had ministers tell me that wearing a collar when walking down the halls of a hospital makes it easier for the patients to identify someone who could bring spiritual solace.

As always, for every objection you can make in life, there is someone who can hatch a story to egg you on, to defend why things are the way they are.

But for the record, you will probably never see me wear an amice.

First of all, I don’t look good in hoods. I was raised to believe this is a slang term for “criminal”

Also, if the best shot I have at impressing the world around me of my prowess is to wear a particular doo-dad or a dud, in order to be the cool dude …then I think I would rather blend into the simply-clad masses.

 

Afraid

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Afraid: (adj.) feeling fear or anxiety; frightened.

 It was my favorite shirt.

I was nineteen years old and it was during the era of the counter-culture—hippies, rock and roll … well, you know the groove.

It was gray and had embroidered white velvet flowers on it.

I loved it.

It was almost too small for me, so depending on whether I was in one of my puffy weeks or thinning days, I could sit down wearing it with spreading buttons or with more comfort.

I didn’t care. I worshipped it.

I wore it at least five times a week. My criterion for deciding whether to don it in the morning was sniffing under the armpits to ascertain the intensity of its lethal nature.

One day I noticed that some of the threads on the bottom of the shirt had come loose. I didn’t think much about it. I just pulled on them and tore them off. After about two weeks of doing this, I realized that my shirt was no longer shedding threads, but had actually torn and was practically ruined.

At that juncture, somebody pointed out that if I had sewn up the bottom of the shirt instead of pulling on the threads, the problem would have been solved and I would still have my garment. (I continued to wear it in its dilapidated condition until one day I was walking down the street and a guy handed me two dollars, thinking I was homeless…)

The reason I share this story is that being afraid is a lot like being a-frayed.

Our threads come loose and we yank on them, pull at them, deny our feelings and pretend everything is all right until we have no opportunities left and we stand, clothed in unrighteousness.

Yes, afraid is when we refuse to sow up our fears and tie up our worries and instead, allow them to destroy everything we like. And even when we use noble words like “responsibility,” “concern,” “involvement,” “anxious,” or in some cases, even “wondering”—we’re just masking the monster.

I lost the shirt off my back because it was “a-frayed.”

If I become too afraid—well … I can lose my own soul.

 

Abaya

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAbaya: (n.) a full-length, sleeveless outer garment worn by Arabs.

One of the true signs of prejudice is our incessant belief that our particular selection of wardrobe is fashionable, while all other garments range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

If I was born in an Arab land, I might wear one of those sleeveless tunics. I think what would bother me most about the abaya is that I would have to go through a season of lifting weights to make sure that my biceps looked muscular instead of flabby. Of course, in the process of lifting weights, I might get other parts of my body to become equally as fit and trim. At that point, I would certainly not want to hide these muscular abs under a loose-fitting tunic. So I probably would come up with some silly rendition of the abaya–where there would be a hole cut in the center to exposed my flourishing six-pack. This would, of course, evoke scrutiny and possible criticism from other abaya wearers, who would find it completely inappropriate to ruin the fashion statement by showing off skin.

I would recoil from their criticism and stop wearing my abaya, which would make me feel alienated from society and soon I would stop my exercise regimen, begin to overeat, develop heart disease, and one day be waddling through the market to purchase chocolate-covered dates and fall over dead from a heart attack.

As you can see, an abaya is not for me.

I just want to make sure that I don’t criticize a Middle-Eastern “look” just because I find it questionable.

This may be the best road to peace–if for one week each culture that was ready to go to war just simply had to wear the clothing of the opposing culture, perhaps enough sympathy could be mustered that we would be forced to the peace table.

The nice thing about an abaya is that you could put on ten pounds and no one would ever know–as long as those “chubbies” didn’t show up around your jowls. Then you would have to wear an abaya with a turtleneck, which would probably also be considered inappropriate–even though I’m not sure the goats in the herd care one way or another.