Rendered Fat Content


Joseph Wright: The Alchemist in Search of the Philosopher's Stone (1771)
" … not even a cigar is any longer ever simply a smoke."

I admit to no longer being anyone's exemplar of fashion. Few of my garments feature a manufacturer's label, and I did not purchase those to publicly promote my good taste, for I consider any visible manufacturer's label in extremely poor taste, the most primitive form of self promotion by back-handed association, as if Ralph Lauren were somehow personally vouching for me because I'm impractical enough to pay an inflated price for a shirt with a prominent logo in lieu of a front pocket. I'm unable to successfully translate the seemingly subtle cues which, I'm certain, were supposed to clue me in as to with whom I'm having the pleasure of meeting, a form of qualification. My eye can discern a well-cut worsted from a polyester wannabe, and I admit to projecting significant meaning upon each, but most of the rest of the code seems as alien as any avian mating ritual, mere flash and feather. I do understand that it's become somewhat of an imperative now for one to suit up for public display. The message on a hat might make a real difference to some, but I never swallowed the notion that wearing a hat might make anything great the first time, let alone over again.

My usual wardrobe amounts to the same damned thing worn over and over and over again, with no underlying meaning ever intended, other than that it's clean and somewhat well-fitted.
I'm a blue, if you were to classify me by my dominant color. Blue jeans with a blue tee, with an identically-hued blue sweatshirt over. I find it most convenient to wear almost the same pair of socks each day, of which I maintain nearly a dozen pair, interchanged indiscriminately. What does that say about me? As if I care. I wear the same shoes, too, regardless, unless it raining or snowing; for then, I keep a second pair. I might wear a hat some days to ward off rainy or sunny, but rarely anything with a bill, and never under any circumstances, one with a message emblazoned on its front. I dress for camouflage, specifically intending to not stick out in any crowd, unlike the camo-wearing Proud Kids, who wear jungle or desert camo in urban settings, thereby making any sore thumb seem innocuous in comparison. Add an AR-15 as a fashion accessory and anybody can clearly see what you're trying so hard to seem: Fashion statement as desperate scream: "See Me," it says, anything but subtly. Paper tiger garb.

Watch a '70s TV rerun and marvel at the fashion, all floppy turtle necks and bell bottoms, with BIG hair and ridiculous sideburns alongside. Those people are in their seventies now, most of them, and no longer sporting platform anything, wearing sturdy walking shoes and driving Subarus, fleeced. The Ooompa Loompa Look has proven more persistent than I could have ever imagined, baggy cargo pants popular regardless of the weather, topped with some goofy tee proclaiming some cultural fealty, often, it seems, a defaced flag intended to identify its wearer's patriotic identity because nothing else really screams "Patriot!!" like an inappropriate public flag display. I'm slowly learning that the underlying intention tends to be the opposite of any literal interpretation: Black's the new white. Greatness implies belittlement. The greater the airs, the lesser the actual empowerment.

Clothes no longer make any man, but seem more often to discredit him. Some try so damned hard to make a statement that they manage to produce mere mumbling instead. More than half of fashion seems just ironic now, with hats purposefully worn sideways, backwards, or even upside down. Gaggles of giggling teens wear shorts when its snowing, snickering to each other over their sublime contradiction. Some men wear necklaces weighing as much as a duelly's transmission, with prominent tats accompanying, and maybe a life-threatening piercing or two apparently just to sardonically terrify you. The GrandOtter wears this thing in her nose most reminiscent of one of those oxen nose rings, which were originally installed to encourage weaning. In a human, the Shimbolism's lost on me. Look, I understand that everything naturally carries some deeper meaning, but I'm lately feeling like some psycho Freudian, knowing for certain that not even a cigar is any longer ever simply a smoke. If it's not a Macanudo®, it's apparently a joke.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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