Monday, August 20, 2001

Eulogy for a Shirt

I remember when I first saw you, all fresh and bright, smiling up at me from the box on that sunny June day. A short-sleeved front-button shirt, made of cotton in a nice summer weave. Your button-down collar was the finishing touch - for some reason I've always been partial to your type. Your colors were pleasant, too; white with thin vertical navy and harvest gold stripes. The fact that you were a gift from my mother-in-law also spoke volumes ... you were most likely from one of the better stores where Ralph and Calvin are common names.

I took you out of the box and held you up for a full look. I rushed to try you on, delighted with the way that you hung fom my shoulders (which seemed slightly accentuated due to your starching). I immediately knew that you would be special.

I gave you top status in my closet, using one of the thick plastic hangers I had purchased rather than the wire ones that I get for free from the dry cleaners and my parents' house. We would see many days together, all of them warm and breezy (as dictated my your cut and weight). You travelled with me, compressed in the suitcase until it was your turn to come out and breathe the warm, moist atmosphere of Mexico, Brazil, Hawaii. You endured food and beverage spills, dirt and sweat, you even protected my gentle epidermis from harsh bite of the sun.

Then, things began to change between us. I began to notice (through no fault of yours) that your colors weren't as bright as they used to be. The many trips through the wash had begun to take their toll on you. The think, strong weave of your fabric had also changed, due to the many fibers that you had given up over time. I now had to take care to wear an undershirt lest I get cold and something unsightly show through. You no longer held your once-fine cut on my frame - you tended to hang limply rather than steadfastly keeping your shape. I have to admit that I have changed, too. As you had begun to stretch, so had I (although not in the same ways).

This morning as I took you from the clean laundry hamper, I somehow seemed to view you through fresh eyes. I realized your zest for life was clearly gone and your time had come. There seemed only one thing to do - gracefully, gently put you to rest. No, you won't go to the Goodwill or Value Village - my heart would break to see you on the back of some derelect or other person of questionable character. I don't want to subject your remains to cremation - I'm sure that you would want to return to your original, plant-based origins. I think burial is the best, and I wish I could do better than the landfill for a final resting place. I'm sure that you'll meet other clothes there and find final peace.

So, this is a final thank you for your warmth, your protection and your comfort. You've worn well, my old friend.

No comments: