I’ve known for most of my life that there are two Jeffs. They share physical characteristics and personality traits, of course, but that’s largely where the similarities end.
One Jeff is the “trusted professional,” if I can appropriate the phrase. He’s quiet, quick with a pithy comment, and has something of a reputation for getting the job done no matter how tall and order it happens to be. He can bring a surprising amount of charm to bear when he’s determined to get his way and the people around him like and respect him for it. He possesses plenty of leadership potential, but very little in the way of leadership ambition.
The other Jeff is guarded and far more stubborn than his alter ego. He’s governed by perennial trust issues, but builds fierce personal loyalties often to his eventual regret. He’s resistant to change, colored with a streaks of perfectionism, and subject to a near fanatical devotion to order and schedule. This Jeff can be charming too, but he mostly excels at drawing people close only to shove them away if they threaten to orbit too near.
Which one is “real?” Probably both. I have my doubts if the two Jeffs are severable at all – and even less confidence that either one would be successful or effective on his own.
It occurred to me this morning that there’s probably a deep psychological reason I’m so adamantly opposed to wearing a tie. Sure, I could give you the usual song and dance about them being constrictive and uncomfortable or about them serving absolutely no purpose in the modern world, but deep down I don’t think that’s the reason at all… even though those are all perfectly valid issues with the standard necktie.
The real problem with these damned decorative bits of fabric is that I never wear them on good days. I pull one off the rack for funerals, court appearance, work, and weddings – for good or ill, those aren’t what I consider the red letter days of my life. Those days are largely depressing and/or expensive hassles in which I’d probably rather not participate. In my near 40-year life, ties always come out for the pain-in-the-ass times.
The good times are marked with jeans, tee shirts, shorts, and muddy boots. They’re ratty clothes covered in dog hair and smelling of wood smoke or of diesel fumes and salt spray after a long day on the water. Never once on one of these good days did I sit back quietly and think to myself, “Wow, this day would have been so much better if I had on a tie!” On the other hand, nearly every time I’ve ever put on a tie, I know the day would have been better if I was somewhere else, wearing something different.
So there it is in a nutshell, my basic belief that ties aren’t just a pointless throwback noose we’re supposed to willingly put our necks into every morning. In fact, they’re basically nothing more than a visual cue that you’re about to experience a wasted day.
Thanks for stopping by tonight. This has been one of those occasional posts I make to give you a little insight into what’s churning around in my head while I’m standing quietly off to the side of the room observing the world around me.