Eulogy for an old jacket that served me well

I’m strangely sentimental about clothes. Like this jacket. I’ve had it for years. Wore it every day for years. It was like a part of me, a part of my body. . . The last couple of years it started to get pretty raggedy and beat up. Tears on the sleeves that kept getting bigger and bigger. Stains. Etc. I was starting to get a little embarrassed to be seen in it. But for some reason I just didn’t want to replace it with a new jacket. That jacket was like a trusted old friend who had served me well all these years. So it seemed almost cruel to dump it for a newer, fresher model just because it was starting to break down. It seemed almost disloyal.

But a couple days ago, I finally broke down and bought a new jacket. Got a real nice one for 25 bucks at the Magic Johnson used clothing store on University (it’s sort of a newer, trendier Good Will type of charity discount store). And I must admit it’s nicer looking, and warmer, than my old beat-up jacket.

But the weird thing is, I still haven’t gotten around to throwing out my old jacket. The thing is so raggedy, I don’t even think it’s worth free-boxing and passing on to somebody else. Even most of the other bums wouldn’t want to be seen wearing the thing. . . Part of me actually wants to save the thing, stash it in my storage locker or something. Maybe it could be preserved by the Smithsonian?? But that’s ridiculous. It’s gotta go. It’s like a beloved pet that’s on its last legs and you know you have to put it to sleep for its own good, but it’s still difficult to do.

So I was thinking about my history with the jacket. All the adventures and misadventures I had while this jacket was at my side (literally). And I was trying to remember where I got the jacket in the first place. It was a Christmas present I got from my mother about 20 years ago. Once a year my mother used to mail me some clothes from an LL Bean catalogue as a present. It was pretty much the extent of my relationship with my mother (we were estranged as they say). But it was nice of her to do it. I’m one of those guys, like a lot of guys, who wouldn’t bother to dress themselves properly if they didn’t have a woman looking after them. So that’s probably part of the sentiment. It’s one last fleeting connection to my dearly-departed (as they say) mother. But I’m also that way with most of my other old clothes, too.

At any rate, the thing has got to go. But, of course, I’ve got to take at least one photo of it first to commemorate it, and so I’ll have something to remember it by on these lonely nights while I’m wearing my new jacket.

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