I miss not my youth, but being young. I miss not being young but being viewed as young. Or maybe I just miss being relevant.

— Like the days Walt sold me life insurance and not a Medicare supplement. Like when Nielsen actually cared what I watched.

Relevance, my friends, trumps youth.

I don’t know when others first sensed aging. For me it was in a restaurant years ago when a blonde female server addressed me as “sir.” Not that it hurt. (My wince was silent). Still, I noticed it and heard it.

And it registered.

Shortly thereafter I found myself shopping with Michael in Manhattan. At Kenneth Cole, no less! We were both single at the time and a reasonably attractive saleslady approached us. Looked right through me, she did, to ask him: “May I show you something?”   I didn’t break stride but my psyche bruised.

NEVER however did I sense irrelevance. Never — from up times to down, fat days to less-fat, married…divorced … busy…bored…

NEVER did I ever feel like a footnote, a backdrop, a respected but post-prime utility fielder rounding out a roster —-

The twenty-fifth man.

”People your age should not wear tee-shirts with writing on them”, came the proclamation. (Like years earlier, I heard it and it registered — and my wince was silent).

“Really?” thought I, not breaking my smile.

This was not a “fat” thing, I deduced. Indeed, had I been told my belly was too big for a tee, I’d have accepted it. Had I heard “Don’t wear horizontal stripes” or even “Solid white makes you look like a tent” I’d have dealt.

NO, this was a blanket pronouncement. “People your age” said the edict. No more, no less.

Sun poured down on that patio…upon me, my ego, and my Army Veteran tee …

There I stood: clad in the choice shirt of my summer collection…the one Carrie’d gladly pressed for my travel out east….being told to hang it up… and to bring my playbook.

Could it be? (I wondered). Was that really the rule? Should I call Snyder? No. Maybe Ermine. He would know.

Six weeks have now passed, and with them the summer. Fall chills have lessoned the pain and there’s time ‘til next season.  We shall see.

In the meantime I’ll remember, and in the off-season look back:

— At the white tees/blue printing of my Hollywood uniform. How proudly I’d strutted into Miss Shafer’s fifth grade class that spring! We all did in time. Hal wore one, and Howard, and two Fentons … and a half-dozen or so Mandels.

— And the gray tees of Sol’s Boys. Talk about value! Did not Pollack throw lifelong friends and his Premier’s uni under the bus just to play for our squad?

— And the red tees/orange printing of Boobus Bowls past.

Am I really too old to wear these treasured apparel? (I mean…if I could find them…and fit in them?).

In my drawer they lay folded: shirts of more recent years: “The Odd Couple”, “Bye Bye Birdie,” one from a Lustgarden walk. They fit me; they do. Must they stay in Ohio?

Discard them I can’t, I swear. Discard them I won’t!  Maybe one day Lucy will want to wear one to sleep. Maybe one day Eli will google Sol’s Boys. Maybe some day Max’ll…

Oh, who am I kidding? The torch has passed.  I’m stuck with plain whites — tees, that is. The one’s without message.

I’m in my sixties now. Not unfashionable, but afashionable.


3 Responses to “PLAIN WHITE T’S (?)”

  1. alan wieder says:

    You have a real Sol’s Boys tshirt????? My moments are on a train or bus. Just a couple of weeks ago going from the Atlanta airport to Joel’s house and the young man got out of his seat and motioned for me to sit — surprised, yes, but happy for the gesture.

  2. Up From Dysfunction says:

    Ed. Note: No, I don’t have a Sol’s Boys shirt, (but I know where it). A story for another day…and probably in person.

  3. Mark E says:

    Make sure when wearing a tee at our age, the writing or picture or logo is on the back. Nothing on the front except a small picture or logo on the upper front left side. That’s the rule for tees at our age.

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