By Mike Johnson
I don’t remember my first pair of jeans.
But I do remember my first suit.
I despised it.
The slick material was cold on my legs. The socks wouldn’t stay up. The shoes were too tight and too pointy.
The shirt strangled my neck when buttoned. The clip-on tie hid the cause of strangulation but randomly dangled in plates.
The suit coat might’ve been tolerable if the pockets weren’t fake.
When a suit was required, so was “goop.”
Goop was a green-in-the-bottle hair tonic that parents combed through our hair. It was cold on our head and smelled like chemicals. But it was the style. As a kid, you had to submit to your parent’s game of dress-up.
To them, we were life-size GI Joes. But we felt like Gumby.
Suits were only worn at church. Or weddings or funerals. None of which were enjoyed.
Then there was my 16-year management career. That required shirts and ties and pointy shoes. The occasional suit coat. At least those had real pockets.
So I’ve always hated suits.
Jeans represented freedom. Cut-offs in the summer. Layered pairs in the winter.
When I was in jeans, I was out from under the thumb of parents and employers.
This imprinted me deeply.
I may have overcompensated. I just counted 34 pairs of jeans in my closet.
One suit. With dust on the shoulders.
To me, the best benefit of financial freedom is escaping somebody else's required costume.
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