It is going to be another hot day here in the Valley of the Sun; the high will be around 105 degrees.  Usually I dress for work in a while long-sleeved shirt and bow tie, but I decided rather to don an open-collar short-sleeved shirt.  I must be fond of this particular shirt for I have possessed the garment for decades.  The label reminds me I purchased this shirt at “Mallards”, a now-closed men’s store in Chicago where I purchased my clothes.  I even remember Rick Fluro, the salesman who sold it to me. I bought it in 1988.

Wearing a shirt older than my some of my patients evokes mixed feelings.  Whenever I put it on I feel a sense of survival. The late 80s and early 90s were precarious years.  Shirt and I have both survived.  It is a prodromal Spo-shirt in its way:  white with vittate lines of blue, red, yellow, and green. It’s held up OK enough. It’s a bit frayed around the collar and sleeves, and the colours are not a bright, the results of countless washings.  I like to think this reflects my own state of being: a bit frayed and faded but still not yet unraveled or poked full of holes from wear.

I feel a bit sheepish wearing it. In it, I lack professional élan. I should wear new, crisp fashionable shirts that elicit authority and respect.  Rather, I look a bit fuddy-duddy

Someone sometimes questions my reasons for holding onto some clothing items either past their prime or not worn in ages.  Truth is they are memories, like old photographs. I suppose I will hang onto the 1988 Mallards shirt even when it becomes too dog-eared to wear in public.  Rick Fluro died decades ago. I no longer live in Chicago; a lot of water has flowed over the dam. But I am still here.

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