Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Deej to Seminary, Part 3: Contact your Government and a Serious Reflection

Americans United for Life has a handy way you can contact your congressmen and sign a petition to President Obama to put a stop to the abortion mandate in the new health care bill. The website is Keep Abortion Out of Health Care, which is about exactly what it says on the tin. Please take the time to go there, look it over, and send a message to your government.

Now then, onto other matters--

I've meant for many months to write a serious reflection on why I'm going to seminary, but have so far only churned out a humor post on the subject. That's because humor posts are easier to write. I still mean to produce a serious reflection, but I'm busy right now.

Here, however, I will reflect seriously on a related matter--clothes shopping. Yes.

Back in high school, I often dressed nicely. I wore Dockers and shirts with buttons on them and sometimes I was even color-coordinated. I don't know why I did this, but it might have been a way of rebelling against the typical dress of my high school peers, which consisted, usually, of gym shorts and tee-shirts with the sleeves ripped off. If you could see how the guys usually dressed at my high school, it would make you an instant believer in school uniforms. Looking back on it now, I don't know why the teachers didn't kick them out of class and tell them they couldn't come back until they were dressed decently. This is the time in my life when I learned never to buy Dockers ever again, for, even though they are "nice pants," they have a habit of ripping during strenuous activities like walking. I once ripped a knee on a pair of Dockers the day after I bought them, simply by squatting down to pick something up. That's a lot of money for such a cheap pair of pants.

Then came college and I discovered cargo pants, which are practical and more durable, even if they are less nice-pantsish. Then college ended and work came, and if there's one thing you don't want when you work as an archaeologist, it's nice clothes. Since college, my clothing has become positively slovenly, a practical thing for my clothing to be. Before a few days ago, I don't think I owned a single decent pair of slacks.

As I prepare for seminary, one of the things I have had to do is get proper clothes, including clerical attire and a good set of slacks and dress-shirts. This is not a complaint: I am a strong believer in dress codes; a dress code is a simple way to ensure that order is maintained and that the dignity of people and institutions is respected. I am pleased at the prospect of once again dressing decently.

Shopping for an entirely new wardrobe has been a surprising pleasure--I say surprising because I am a man and I detest shopping for clothes. My usual clothes-buying tactic is to find something that more-or-less fits and then buy seven of it--ta da! I have a week's worth of clothes. However, when I went down to a suit store to buy a black suit, I told them what exactly I was about and soon found myself with an enthusiastic clerk eager to dress me like a cleric and give me the discount usually given Mormon missionaries. Getting a suit that actually fits me, unlike the suit I got in high school that I was supposed to "grow into" even though I shrunk after high school and have continued to shrink, was such a nice experience that I forgot suit stores are pure evil and fell for all the usual trickery, walking out of there with not only a suit, but with a greatcoat and ten pairs of overpriced socks. They're really cool socks, though; they're antimicrobial bamboo fiber, or something. The clerk told me I really need a black fedora to go with the whole ensemble, but alas, there appears to be no suitable haberdashery in this whole state. Which is good, as that saves me from the temptation to spend a few hundred more bucks.

My next stop was the clothing retailer that happened to be closest to where I parked at the mall, where I bought black slacks that could sort of match the suit jacket from a distance in dim lighting, and dress shirts. Once again I walked up to a clerk and told him what I was about and found him enthusiastic to dress me--and give me the missionary discount.

Everyone at clothing stores has been so gosh darn nice when I tell them I need clothes for a Catholic seminary. I don't know what to make of that, exactly. Perhaps its a testament to the skill and personability of Utah clothing retailer clerks. Perhaps it's because, both times, I got lucky, or blessed, and found my clerks were Catholic--well, the first guy was Catholic; I'm not sure about the second guy, though he sounded Catholic. I will say, if you're going to buy clothes for a religious purpose, do it in Utah; that missionary discount is really nice. Makes me glad I told them exactly what I wanted the clothes for.


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