DY: In Just a Few Words (#28)
What more could a guy ask for....
Last week, our ever-expanding community of readers enjoyed the true story of the disappearing stripes the first time I wore a wonderful new business suit. Clearly, my sartorial splendor struck a nerve with many of you. For example, one went out of his way to come by and tell me he knew someone who experienced the very same result with a suit he had purchased from the very same discount clothier. And to think I thought I was special...
Here is this week’s clothing saga. I was more than pleasantly surprised nearly 50 years ago when my older brother said that - in response to a favor I had done for him - he was going to treat me to a custom-tailored cashmere sport coat fitted to my exact specifications by his long-time tailor Mike from Hong Kong. It seems that Mr. Mike would be coming to the United States soon on one of his regular trips to see important customers. I should expect a call from him when he would be coming through Ohio and setting up shop in a local Holiday Inn.
I mean, how can you beat cashmere? And to have someone come 7,923 miles across the Pacific Ocean to make sure this coat would fit me like a glove was a really exciting prospect.
Sometime that spring the phone rang and it was the global aficionado himself. (Aficionado is a very important word I learned from a Spanish friend. I try to use it as often as possible especially when I am telling an international story.) Hello, this is Mike from Hong Kong. I’ll be in Cleveland next week to measure you for a cashmere sport coat.
I am short, so it is easier and faster to measure me than if I were a strapping young customer with a ripped physique. But, Mr. Mike took plenty of time. One of my arms is a fraction longer than the other, so that impacts sleeve length. How much of your shirt would you like showing when the coat sleeve stops? That’s a critically important question. He measured me across the shoulders. He checked the specs across my chest and so on. To say he was meticulous is an understatement. He put all of the details on a yellow legal pad. In a few weeks your fine new cashmere sport coat will arrive. I thanked Mr. Mike profusely as I knew I was on the verge of receiving the bestest gift ever.
One night six or eight weeks later I came home from downtown, and lo and behold there was a package addressed to me. A lot of great things have happened to me over my lifetime. But this would be number one. What a wonderful brother to do this for me.
I opened the package with great care and took the sport coat out. First, I just admired it. I didn’t want to put it on yet. I just looked at it. Eventually, I worked up my courage and touched the cashmere. It was the best feeling ever. I was so happy I was almost crying.
Urged on by my wife, the moment of truth was upon me. I put it on. I then turned to my much better half and said, There must be some sort of mix-up.
The body of the sport coat was a bit long. In fact, it came down to my knees and was clearly intended for someone else. And the sleeves. Oh my, the sleeves were for somebody much smaller than me (and there aren’t many people who are). Somewhere in the creation of this magnificent sport coat, my information had gotten tangled up with another customer or perhaps two. What I received was basically a short-sleeve, full-length cashmere overcoat. The sleeves were intended for a customer in Pittsburgh and the body of the coat was for a man in Montana.
Even cashmere wears out over time. But this story doesn’t. My brother never did buy me another cashmere sport coat. As a result of this experience, I received extensive grief counseling and, after nearly 50 years, I am at last able to come to grips with what happened.
It was just a clerical error that caused all this, sort of the same type of mistake if you received a mis-filled prescription at your local pharmacy. But, that would be even worse because it might kill you. Receiving a short-sleeve, full-length cashmere overcoat is just one of life’s passing disappointments, but it won’t kill you.
Be patient. Mr. Mike may be coming to a Holiday Inn near you very soon.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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