Posted on January 30, 2019
by Steve Janowick

Get it together, man!

Every morning before work I make the obligatory stop at my local chain convenience store to get my much-needed caffeine fix.  It literally looks like an episode of The Walking Dead as me and the other zombies aimlessly drag our lifeless corpses around, shuffling and moaning toward the coffee station like it’s a waiting smorgasbord of warm innards and brain matter.

And I never waiver from my routine.  Medium cup with 2 Equals, a packet of regular sugar and lots of cream.  Some purists and snobs call that a milkshake, but I call it heaven. And I always take the first few sips while tucked away in the back of the store.  It’s during these few precious moments that I allow the caffeine to work its magic and, as the cobwebs slowly disappear, engage in one of my favorite guilty pleasures…

People watching!

Now, the particular town I live in will never be confused with Beverly Hills or Paris anytime soon.  It’s working class through and through. Middle of the road types struggling every day to get their rightful piece of the American Dream pie.  But since when has being a member of the rank and file been a license to look like a cast member from Deliverance while out in public?  

Remember those very old photos of Depression-era men standing in long lines?  These guys were impoverished, broken down and desperate but, even in such dire straits, each and every one was dressed gentlemanly and groomed mannerly.  Or check out an old ballgame video from the 40’s. The stands were full of men in sport coats and ties. And come to think of it, I don’t have a single memory of my grandfather without him wearing his stylish overcoat, spit-shined shoes and Brooks Brother’s hat. The man toiled away every day in a dirty, smelly fish market for a living, but when clocked out, you’d never have known it.  There were times he didn’t have two nickels to rub together, and he still presented himself regally and with class.

Contrast all those men with the schlep I saw in line the other day at my convenience store sporting his pajama bottoms, flip-flops and wife-beater while buying his Newports-and it’s easy to understand my snarky cynicism.

What happened to our collective sense of style, men?  When did it become okay to not give a shit about how we present ourselves?  To actually wear pajamas in public? Were the men of yesteryear more prideful than we are today?  Were they more vain? Did they possess bigger egos? I’m not a historian or sociologist, so I’ll defer trying to intelligently answer any of these questions.  All I know is what my eyes see and how my mind interprets it. And while voyeuristically drinking my Joe every morning, I see a lot of dudes who present themselves as disheveled bums and who probably don’t give a rat’s ass about it.

But you know, all I can do is all I can do.  I can only control me! And you can only control you.  So, we’ll keep trying to make our Grandfathers’ proud and look our best out in the world-no matter what we’re going through in life.  And, for God’s sake, your girl, and your mom, are the only ones who should ever have to endure seeing you in your pajamas.

Please spare us!

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