Some days I wonder, what will I post about? The thought wakes me early and nags me on my way to work as I look for meaning and humor in the car sitting next to me at a red light.
Then like a rainbow, a gem appears out of nowhere.
Twice a year I work inventory for my job at a steel manufacturing company. Normally I sit in my comfortable accounting office, the hum of the machines the only reminder of the warehouse. However working inventory means venturing through no man’s land, the warehouse facility, to a tiny, filthy office with no amenities. Even the internet has been blocked. It’s going to be a long day.
The cast of characters working the warehouse are amongst the most polite, hardworking and spirited people I’ve ever met. They work in stifling hot and loud conditions where there is no break from the heat and noise even when they’re in the break room. They always have a smile and a wave for me. We share a common bond for wanting to get in and get the hell out as fast as possible on a Saturday.
Instead of the company t-shirts worn Monday through Friday, working Saturdays affords employees the opportunity to express their individuality through their attire. Many celebrate their heritage while others sport logos of their favorite teams or stores and there are those making statements I can’t quite figure out. I’m the only one in a plain white shirt without an intricate picture of a skull and cross bones interlaced with a snake wearing a crown wrapped around a heart dripping with blood and a saying about love. It’s an eclectic collection.
An employee entered the back office to deliver my first electronic scanner for downloading. My eyes fell on his double layered black tee shirt dotted with fake rips and holes. The gashes were clearly designed to make a fashion statement similar to the overpriced Abercrombie jeans my daughter coveted in high school and I have spotted on forty-year old women as well. I guess the distressed trend knows no sex or age barriers.
Emblazoned across the top of the shirt in white bubble letters were the words –
Wait a minute.
Is he advertising himself to forty year old women (my age!) to rip his clothes off?
In sixth grade, my FAVORITE shirt was a brown tee with the word FOXY dancing across it in sophisticated letters made up of foxes. I treasured that shirt and wore it as soon as it came out of the wash. Memo to 40 year olds: One thing that doesn’t work fashion wise, on men or women in their 40s, is shirts with elaborate writing (think Ed Hardy shirts over an enlarged gut) unless you’re at a sporting event supporting your team. As this guy was barely 20 years old, he certainly didn’t need to pay attention to that memo.
He was just expressing himself as I did back in the day. And we all know youth is wasted on the young.
As we wrapped up inventory and headed to the parking lot, I wondered if any cougars would be tempted to add another rip to his shirt.