There is an old story about an Emperor who, in all of his vanity, hires two tailors to make him the finest clothing in his entire kingdom. Seeing that the Emperor is stupid, these two tailors make him clothes that they say are invisible to stupid people, but really are nonexistent. Since the clothes are supposed to be invisible to dummies, everyone pretends that the Emperor is not walking around with his private bits in full view. Finally, a kid yells “Hey! I can see the Emperor’s butt!” and everyone realizes what has happened. Until then, though, this emperor was able to get away with it.
As I prepared for work this morning, this story flashed through my mind. Could this really work? Would people really pretend I was wearing clothes if I told them that only idiots thought I was naked? I was worried I might have to try this trick out.
It seems that today my clothing decided it didn’t feel like doing its job.
My morning routine started just like any other day. I showered, I brushed my teeth, I swiped a stick of deodorant over my armpit. Glancing at the clock, I saw I was right on time. All I needed to do was dress and I would be ready to go.
The first shirt I threw on today is one of my favorites. It is very comfortable, yet still looks somewhat classy. Since my job does not allow me to wear pajamas or a Snuggie, this shirt is as comfortable as I can hope to be.
I dressed and prepared to leave. I was headed out the door right on time, but I needed to grab my wallet first. That’s when, out of the corner of my eye, something in a mirror’s reflection grabbed my attention.
This wasn’t just any stain, mind you. No, this stain was roughly the size of my entire torso. Somehow, I received a stain that looked like I had taken a nap on top of a dozen orders of McDonald’s French fries. While I may not be the most fashionable person, I do know it is considered a major faux pas to look like you have not washed your clothes in a few weeks, particularly if you are not a rock star. If you’re a rock star, all bets are off. A normal person, though, is expected to look clean.
Quickly, I grabbed another shirt. As I began to put it on, I heard the sound of plastic hitting our hardwood floor. The piece of plastic bounced a few times, finally coming to a rest a few seconds later.
There, next to my foot, sat a button.
Since buttons are what keeps my shirt from showing off my belly button to the world, I was once again shirtless. I thought about leaving the shirt unbuttoned, allowing the wind to catch it and blow the fabric back majestically every time I entered a room. While this idea struck me as particularly brilliant, I realized that if there was no wind blowing my shirt, not only would my entrance be ruined, but I would most likely look ridiculous.
With time running out, I grabbed my last option. I really do mean last option.
This shirt was what a good salesman would call “well-loved.” Three or four of its buttons had been resewn at some point, making it an unusual fitting shirt. In its left sleeve, there was a hole that had been poorly patched with an iron on. I grabbed a cardigan, hoping to hide as much of the rattiest shirt of all time as I could, and headed towards the door.
Going to get my keys out of my pocket, I noticed something.
My fly was unzipped.
Fairly certain I had zipped it, I pulled it back up. Three steps later, it had slid back down. My fly was rebelling.
I looked at my watch. I was already late to leave. I certainly didn’t have time to change pants. Surely this was just an anomaly.
As I drove to work, though, I saw my fly repeatedly unzip itself. It was as if my zipper was trying to escape. Every time I pulled it up, it would slide halfway down.
“Hey, zipper. Stay up!” I said to my pants. I’m pretty sure that if zippers had hands, it would have been flipping me off right then.
So here I sit, hoping no one notices my zipper is currently trying it’s best to showcase my boxers and praying that my shirt does not disintegrate into dust. I’ve been waiting all day to hear someone say, “XYZ! Examine Your Zipper!” I’m not sure if this or a Janet Jackson style wardrobe malfunction is more likely at this point.
I’m not sure what I did to upset my clothing, but whatever it was, it must have been very bad. So to my clothes, I’m sorry. I apologize. I don’t know what I’m apologizing for, but I’m very sincere about it.
If I can’t solve this issue we seem to be having, I may be living the story of the Emperor. I’ll spend most of my day assuring people that I really am dressed and that their just stupid for thinking that I’m at work, naked as a jaybird. This seems like a pretty solid back-up plan just in case all of my clothing spontaneously combusts or just falls to pieces in front of me.
Of course, I don’t hold near as much power as an emperor. In fact, I have no power. I don’t know if people would go along with it if I’m just a normal guy walking around naked.
I guess it’s back to the drawing board…
- The Emperor’s New Heavy-Handed Parable (kiasa.org)
- (ADIEU) Paul Goodman: The BBC reports the story of the boy who told the Emperor he had no clothes #euout (dreadnoughtuk.wordpress.com)