1047 – Valentines for Laundry
Sometimes random ideas become real quality meanders, tonight I send v-day cards to people and clothing from the past and it one becomes on big loving opportunity.
- Loving Opportunity
- Unsuccessful Peacocking
- “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair”
- Alvin & The Chipmunks
- JC Chasez
Notable Talking Points:
- My laundry is always keeping me humble
- That “If Only” Feeling
- I wore this shirt for a filming of The Mickey Mouse Club
Episode 1047 – Valentines for Laundry
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, my patron peeps…actually, my…I’m cupping my elbows. I didn’t even realize it, patron peeps. So, go ahead, cup your elbows…hold me gently, cup my elbows, or whatever I used to say. Thanks, patrons.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do…alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play…I’m gonna do the rest…what I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever is keeping you awake, whether it’s thoughts or feelings that are on…thoughts about the past, the present, the future, feelings related to the thoughts or just that are there, physical sensations, changes in time or temperature or routine, things going on.
Like, the…is anyone…are there any metaphors relating washing machine cycles to the cycles of life? ‘Cause there’s…is there a cycle called the Turbulent Cycle? I mean, that’s what it’s…that’s what it…it’s really…here’s one thing I know; I’ve never been…I’ve talked to my laundry before. They said, do you realize how turbulent it is in here? I say yeah, that’s how you get clean, though. We say metaphorically I’m gonna wash, wash, wash that dirt right outta my clothes, but what we really mean is we’re gonna…you’re…it’s like you’re dancing in water. Don’t look at it as turbulence; look at it as empowered dancing. The washing machine is empowering you to dance that dirt right outta you. I’m sorry, did my clothes just…did my laundry just hang up on me? Oh, boy. Hey everybody, sorry. So, whatever’s keeping you awake.
It could be laundry. That’s not a joke; it keeps me awake. ‘Cause that’s why it hung up, ‘cause it said I’ll see you later, ‘cause I’ll be in a pile that went from folded to non-folded, but never got put away, right across from your bed to remind you of your humanity. My laundry; keeping me…trying to keep me humble, but probably driving some sort of unhealthy ego thing since ever…always. Laundry; I’ll…this year, maybe I’ll send you Valentines. It’ll say Always and Forever, yours…one…I don’t know. If I send you…somebody remind me, if you’re hearing this, to send my laundry…a Valentine for my laundry. Never mind, that’ll be what tonight’s episode will be about. I can still get this out for Valentine’s Day.
Okay, so if you’re new, you may be confused already ‘cause…whatever’s keeping you awake, I’m here to take your mind off of it and keep you company while you fall asleep. The way I’m gonna do that is by sending my voice across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents, which you just kinda witnessed there. I go off-topic, I get mixed up. The podcast almost feels like it’s never going anywhere, just like the laundry would…says that’s…welcome to my world. But you go a lot of places, some of it…in 2020, I don’t know about you, and to 2021, I definitely pared-down the…I said well, I just washed those clothes; might as well wear them again. So, some of my clothes, they…yeah, you’re right.
Okay, so I have to also include some apology letters. I guess tonight’s episode could be me picking out Valentines for different pieces of clothing. Oh, this will be good. It could be a little personal essay, too. Anyway, so that’s…so, there’s another…a tangent within a tangent. But all that stuff is to take your mind off of stuff and keep you company so you could fall asleep. A few things to know if you’re new; one, this podcast is very different. It is an acquired taste, but that doesn’t mean you can’t acquire a taste for it. If you don’t, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. It just means…you say well, that’s not for me, or that’s not for me right now. Hundreds of thousands of people have said it took two or three tries to get used to the show, and now I listen every night.
Some of those people have said well, at the time three years ago, I loathed you. This is a comment…I’m not even…you might be laughing or thinking Scoots, you’re kidding. I get this e-mail every other week, or a review or something; they say I loathed you strongly. But no one’s ever said I…I have a light loathing for you, but really, maybe they did, because then they said then three years later, I said well, let me give that show a shot again. So many people like it. Now I’m…I listen every night. But there’s people…it might be you; it doesn’t work. But give it a few tries and just see how it goes. The show is free. Also, after a few tries, you could go to sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou. There’s tons of other sleepy stuff there, sleep podcasts and other audio you could kinda use to fall asleep.
So, those are some options. But give it a few tries, ‘cause if you’re skeptical…if you’re like me and you’re full of skepticism, overflowing, and someone recommended the show or you heard about it or you found it on a search, you’d say, what is this? A grown man’s gonna talk in creaky, dulcet tones and never get to the point and that’s gonna put me to sleep, but it’s supposed to be a bedtime story, but the bedtime story never gets started ‘til one-third of the way through the show? Even then, I’m not sure…it’s gonna be him picking out Valentines for his laundry? Or clothes, I guess you’d say. When is he…that’s another thing; what’s the difference between laundry and clothes? Is laundry…I’m doing laundry. Is doing the verb or is laundry the…? What’s the subject and what’s the verb?
There’s a game show that would get canceled that I would start. I’d say, what’s the subject, what’s the verb? Welcome. I guess it would work if Sleep With Me had a show, though. We’d follow up that Elton John cup my elbows thing with…and I guess I was raised by Muppets and Sesame Street. Thank goodness I was. Okay, where was I, though? Nowhere, as you…right where I needed to be. So, give the show a few tries to see how it goes, ‘cause if you tried other stuff and you’re tired and stuff, yeah, and that goes into my next point, the most important point I’ll ever make at all, and the one I try to be the clearest about, is you deserve a good night’s sleep. You deserve a safe place where you can unwind, get comfortable, and drift off, and a bedtime without dread or rigmarole or all those churning feelings that I feel sometimes.
So, if I can help provide that for you, that is very important for me, and if I can help provide that for you or point you in the right direction and so you can build from there and your life can be…become more manageable as you get the sleep you need and you get that habit in place…and again, only works for me 60% of the time, what I’ll talk about here. Maybe 70%, maybe 80% sometimes. I mean, it works when it works. But if you could get the sleep you need and your life’s better, that means the world that we all live in really is a better place to be in, and it would be important. I know when I get a good night’s sleep and my life’s more manageable, or when it’s unmanageable, I know how that feels, and I know how it feels not to be able to sleep.
So, that’s why it’s so important to me, and that’s easy to brush off or have…my internal critic is easy to put me down or whatever, so I know that the skepticism can even get stirred up there, but it doesn’t change the fact that you do deserve a nice, safe place to unwind, and a bedtime that at least you could feel neutral about. So, that’s what I hope I can provide. This is also a podcast you don’t listen to, which is a little bit different. It’s just a grade above background noise. It’s the kind of background noise you could listen to, so that’s the difference; this is a podcast you don’t need to, but you could. So, if you can’t sleep, that’s the…there’s a small percentage of listeners that are listening, or people that listen during the day that really need to listen, and I’m here for them.
So if that’s you, I’m here for you all the way to the end of the episode. I work hard on this show, but at the same time, I think that’s what works. I’ll be here whether you’re listening to me or not, so you could kinda listen when you need to. Or maybe that’s reassuring; Scoots is gonna be there talking the whole time. Don’t need to listen to him, ‘cause he’s kinda talking in…or yeah, it’s a podcast; I could listen to it again. Also, I don’t put you to sleep, believe it or not. I’m here to keep you company, and…because all that other stuff I said, in the deep dark night, to take some of the edge off, and just be here, your friend in the deep, dark night, your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-cuz, your bore-sib, your bore-bestie, your bore-bud that you could listen to or not, talking, droning on and on and on to take your mind off of stuff.
The other new things that can throw listeners off is the structure of the show, and it’s very, very intentionally designed. But the show can be repurposed in other ways. So, if you already repurpose the show, that’s totally cool. I’m glad you found what works for you. But if you’re new, let me lay it out how it works when you first get to the show and why the show’s structured the way it is. It starts off with a greeting; friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Then I usually say something silly. So, the idea is you feel welcome in, you feel seen, and you know oh, the tone of the show is a little bit humor-like. Humor-esque, as they say. Close to humor. Not humorless; humorish. Sleep With Me podcast, it’s like nearly humor, like on one of those dials.
Just like when they say this is your…they say oh boy, this is how you find a mate dial. Pay fifty cents. It says, eh, doesn’t quite get there. So, that’s…what was my point? Greeting, oh. Oh yeah, so, that’s how the greeting is. Then there’s support for the show, because I…my goal is to have the podcast come out twice a week for free, and that’s how we do it, patrons and sponsors. Then there’s support for listeners, there’s support for the community around the show. Then there’s the intro of the podcast, which we’re like, maybe ten minutes into now. Sometimes people can feel like that’s part of the support of the show, but it’s really support for listeners in a different sense. The intro is the twilight of the podcast and hopefully of your evening, the transition period, or for a lot of listeners, their wind-down time.
So, for a lot of people who are listening, they’re either in bed getting comfortable or they’re getting ready for bed, or they’re doing some sort of other activity. This is really what works for me, like I said, 60%, 70%, 80% of the time if I have some wind-down time, time that I’m not trying to fall asleep, but I’m not doing anything else but meditating or journaling or reading or doodling or foam rolling. That’s all the stuff I do during my wind-down and I’m very particular about it, but you don’t have to be…hopefully you have a less rigorous one. But that’s what the podcast can enable. If you fall asleep, that’s great. If you’re one of the 2% or 3% of people that skip the intro, that’s great too, or if you’re listening on Patreon and you like the story-only shows, that works.
But for most people, it eases you into bedtime, like a landing strip for a plane or whatever. Then there’s support for…then there’s more sponsor stuff. That’s just, again, free twice a week. Listeners who support the sponsors make that possible. Then there will be our bedtime story. I thought it was going to be one thing, but that’s the great thing about recording these shows and all the…our production time. I got flexibility, so I can record this…it’s September for…and set it up for February when you’re hearing this, I hope. Hopefully my laundry is listening now, and they’ll re-listen in February. So, I say finally, my clothes are on my side again. Didn’t realize I had to go…well, I should have realized I had to make amends to my clothes. So, there’s that. Oh, so that’s the bedtime story.
That’s like, forty-five, fifty minutes or so. Then there’s thank-yous at the end of the show. So, that’s the structure of the show, that’s why I make the show, and that’s what to expect. The only other thing is…I can say is I’m glad you’re here. I really appreciate you giving me time. I work really hard and I yearn and I strive. I really hope I can help you fall asleep, and here’s a couple of ways I’m able to do this for you free twice a week. If you remember tomorrow when you open your refrigerator, it’d be great. Thanks.
Alright everybody, it’s Scoots here. This is one of these experimental episodes, I guess. It came up right out of the intro, one of these unexpected ones where I said…in an intro recently. It’s been…I think it’s been a week since I did the intro, ‘cause I wanted to do a little bit of digging. But I said, what if I sent my laundry or my clothes Valentines? I think it originally started out as the idea of…a way to make amends for my clothes, but this is good where ideas come up in the intro that could be an episode, and then I let it breathe for a week or two, ‘cause then I started thinking about…and of course my mind only came up with a couple ideas. But I said, what if I gave a Valentine to some of my favorite pieces of clothing throughout my life?
‘Cause I’m one of those people…and I’m sure a lot of listeners can relate — and this will come up in the Valentines — but I had my favorite pieces of clothing, and I would wear them pretty much nonstop in different phases of my life. Even to this point in my life now…I mean, during…obviously during 2020 and 2021, it was a little bit different and so, my clothes got a lot more wear. They got in…we got into a groove, got in a comfortable relationship that was easy. Now that 2021 when I’m recording this, or 2022 when you’re hearing this, my daughter was going back to school, I had been working at a co-working place, so I do have to dress more appropriately than if I’m chilling out at the house. So, that’s what I was thinking. I said okay, so, that’s kinda where it came from.
But then even as a kid, as the oldest of six kids…so, my parents had to get clothes for not just one kid but six kids. Also, more…this is more about me than my parents or the circumstances, is…and I guess I’ve…as I’ve learned to grow…and for me, it was part of my growing-up process as an adult and being sober and stuff like that, where finally…I still do this kind of stuff, but…where I said oh, clothing for me was always this one-day aspirational thing, or I was already lost and so mixed in with fantasy, and I guess esteem in that sense, and aspiration, or the inverse side of that; like oh, if only. Wow, so now I guess I’m getting…a bit more is coming to me. So, this is good. I may have to pause it and grab a pen. Okay, so I just wrote down some stuff that I wouldn’t be distracted by trying to remember it.
But I did while I was writing it down realize that some of this hits pretty tender places, so I’ll try to be…but I’ll try to do that, be tender in this investigation, because…and I think that’s the way it is for a lot of people, so I’m gonna try to really handle this with kid gloves, some parts of it, because like I said, for me, to…I guess to kind of elaborate before we get into it, that way I can kinda soothe as we go here, is that there’s an idea that oh, one, things would have been better if I had better clothes, which may be the way to look at it now as a neutral party or as a parent myself, to say what tools can I give you where we could kinda say yes, and? Or, where’s that coming from, and say well, okay…where…they say teachable moments; it’s like, I guess there’s a couple teachable moments in there.
One is like…and I wasn’t a teachable child, so this is part of it, is why I’m talking it out, is…I don’t know if I could have…if there was teachable moments in my life I wasn’t…I was so…my brow was so furrowed, my ears could not hear them. There was just a lot going on, so it’s like, when you have six kids, you’re probably not sitting down to say well, let’s try to have a teachable moment about your clothes and these challenges we’re having here. But I think there is a couple…I guess teachable moment is probably…this is…I’ll be honest with you; the word I want to use is loving opportunity. So, let’s just…’cause I guess teachable moment to me is an important word, but maybe it does run counter to the podcast, so I don’t want to roll up on a teachable moment, but what I mean is that saying teachable moment may be…if we’re…what did I say, a loving opportunity?
Because I say wait a second, there’s nothing wrong, kid, or there’s nothing wrong as an adult to feel that way. Maybe teachable moment says to me…this is, again…talk about making a A double S out of everybody. But in a real way, this is a kind of vulnerability or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with hoping your clothes are gonna make things better, or thinking your…those are very natural thoughts and beliefs. I guess…so, instead of a teaching…teachable moment, a loving opportunity would say yes, yes, and, because it’d say hey, I see you feel that way, and that’s okay. I see the downsides. Maybe they’ll come out in the Valentines. Who would have thought Valentines about laundry would be about a different kind of love than the kind of pitter-patter of the heart?
But I guess what I’m saying is if I was my own child or if I was trying to…I mean, I’m not good with this with my daughter; she has her own sense of that kinda stuff. But I’ve seen the loving opportunity would be, one, to say okay, let’s feel those feelings, the high highs and the high hopes that normally probably have a quick descent to somewhere when they’re not met, at least for me, of those expectations. Oh, okay, those are some…that’s some expectations, really strong feelings, that if you just get this right shirt, everything else is gonna flow from there, and those other feelings, that’s gonna compensate for those. Or the kind ‘if only’ feeling of if only, and we’ll see this, ‘cause some of the first Valentines I…or who I’d write a Valentine to was other people’s clothes that I kind of thought if I had those, I wouldn’t have any problems, which again, I say yeah, that’s a normal way to…thought, kid.
I thought that way, too. I think the…well, I guess there’s a funny thing because when I was looking at the pictures of the Valentines, I said actually, Valentines work in a very similar fashion, a much cruder one though, especially in the 80s when I was giving Valentines out, because they were something…they were very commercialized. I would say cost-effective, probably. Now, Valentine’s Day is even more commercialized, but at a higher price point. But we would literally…I don’t know if they do this; I mean, everything at school…learning would stop for Valentine’s Day, which as a parent and as someone that knows kind of about consistency and getting into a rhythm, I say, that is probably not the best…so, you’re gonna take a half-day of school for kids to give…well, maybe not.
I mean, maybe again it’s a loving opportunity. Loving might be too strong a word for some people, so maybe it can…a chance to say…be compassionate and empathetic and say oh boy, this is a tricky situation. Must feel…those are some feelings you’re feeling there. You want to feel them? You can feel them in your body, too? So, yeah. So, I guess that’s where we’re at with the setup, I think. There’s probably more there, but I think introducing some of my thinking via the Valentines, obviously that’s gonna work better for all of us. Another thing I like about these kind of episodes when we do do them is that it is a rabbit hole situation. Let me open up Notion; that’s what I’ve been using for my note-taking and organization. But because…there wasn’t…I did not find a good central hub of Valentines, so I’m just gonna use image search and then see what that brings up.
Let’s see what we got here. Just looking for some good ones. Okay, so, let’s start with this…a couple from the Chipmunks, which were diff…so, the Chipmunks had a animated show back when I was a kid, and…I don’t know, I thought I liked it. I mean, I’m pretty sure I liked it a lot. They usually had a holiday special. They had a holiday…the holiday album, but it was Alvin, Simon, and Theodore…were the chipmunks guaranteed to brighten your day. Were the chipmunks…something…something our way or something. Oh, one image I found on the internet…a few places was one of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. They all wore oversized shirts.
I’ve never seen the Alvin and Chipmunks movies, just because I guess my daughter wasn’t at the right age and I guess because I have the hand-drawn chipmunks and chipmunk voices…it’d just be too…it might be too jarring for me. That’s not the judgement on the movies, ‘cause I didn’t see them or read anything about them. I like Jason Lee. But so, the first card says…has Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. I did…forgot that they all have oversized shirts. Simon is usually in a green, and…or like a sea foam, maybe you’d call it nowadays, with matching shoes. Alvin usually wears a red hat and a red shirt and has an A. I guess Alvin’s the lead. He’s the trickster of the three of them, too. Then Simon is in a…kind of a sandy…kind of a sea-blue as well…oversized shirt, with glasses.
Traditionally, Theodore was the comic relief and Simon was the brains. But in this one, they’re standing arm…arms around one another and they’re say…it’s…their shirts say thanks…Thanks for Being. Simon’s shirt says that, then Alvin’s shirt says A, and then…or no, Theodore’s shirt says Thanks for Being A Real Pal, and Theodore has Real Pal. There’s hearts blooming. I think this is one of these one-siders where you take it on one side and then you’d write on the other side. I guess this would be…I guess this one I’d write to my two friends that had the most fashion sense during…we’ll bounce back in time, but my two friends Pat and Chris, who had the most…the best fashion sense, I think, in my opinion.
Those are two I aspired…I said wow, if I could have clothes or dress like them, I may be able to emulate their confidence and success. We had to go…wear…we had to dress up for school ‘cause I went to a Catholic school, so they…we had to be dressed up. None of this is in my skill set, but they always just had a sense of style. They were able to work within the dress code. I mean, I guess look…just a way that I said I wish I…I wish my…that’s the mistake I was trying to make to the kid and there are loving opportunities here. So, but I guess how would we write that out? So, dear Chris and Pat, thanks for being real pals. Both real, but this one actually isn’t to either one of you; it’s to your clothing. Oh, to your clothing.
I guess this is already too long to fit on a Valentine, but I hope it all sums it up, because you’re real pals, and part of a pal is a healthy kind of aspiration. Friends can also be leaders, can also be mentors, and even so in fashion. I was always able…I was always somebody that wasn’t able to do that on my own. I kinda would…younger ages be called a copycat or whatever. But this was when we were older than that and we had moved beyond that stage of childhood. But you still…both of you, your…both…oh, your…the clothes you were…you inspired me. Sometimes you inspired me in a way that was a little bit too much, that I said if only. But I also said wow, they really look nice. So, thanks for that side of it, when you really looked nice, clothes of Pat and Chris. Yeah, I really appreciate it.
Thanks for being a real pal, with real pals on the inside, though I was also looking at the outside and saying huh, how would this outside make my insides feel? Next up is…this one, sometimes we find the clothes in the Valentine, and sometimes we find the Valentine for the clothes. So, staying on Alvin and the Chipmunks, this is another Alvin and the Chipmunks one, and there’s a big, pink heart that we’ll get to last, then there’s some red hearts, and then there’s Alvin. Alvin is stepping in a red paint bucket; I guess he’s been painting these red hearts, and he has a paintbrush that’s spilling red paint, and he has a look on his face as he’s stepping in the red paint bucket like, oh dear. On the pink heart, it says ‘I’ll paint my way into your heart’.
But while we’re in high school, I wanted to just say that I can’t…this one goes to smocks, to shirts worn backwards, old shirts or aprons, but most of the time you brought in your parents’ old clothes from home and you put them on backwards. This goes out to every smock everywhere, but also to Professor Josell, because she really cared about her students, and when…as soon as I saw this…and I was also already thinking of people from high school, I thought of Professor Josell. She cared, even though I was not an artistic student in the physical arts and I was…tended to be very messy, not even intentionally messy; it’s just my style. She was able to lean into that, and she was the one who said you’re really good at making up titles for things.
I could take something and no matter what it looked like, whatever it was, mixed media or mixed up media, and…or majority Elmer’s glue and yarn, but probably would have been…if we were working with glue, even, maybe…hopefully I had a smock on. Is that what they’re called? Smocks; a word I don’t hear anymore. Smock; I should wear one every day, but I would get too warm. But this one’s for all you smocks and you, Professor Josell, because you painted your way into my heart. You even said to my parents at back-to-school night one time, in front of me; Andrew’s got a very good eye. This stuff…I don’t know. You said it in a much more loving…whatever we call that, loving opportunity way, but you said maybe he could take photography, which I didn’t do, and I wish I did.
Oh, I did, but that was after I turned…you know. But so, I appreciate that, ‘cause you said well, he’s got a good eye and ability to title things in a creative way, and that kind of…I never thanked you in the podcast before, Professor Josell, so I’m so glad to have this opportunity. Hopefully I’ll try to track you down, because you really did care and you set the example of what these loving opportunities are. I really can’t put a…well, I guess I can put into words how much I appreciate it, because it probably did lead…was one of these things that led me to make the podcast that I make today that benefits so many people and has benefited me and helped me get to this point where I can realize how grateful I am. So, you painted your way into my heart, really, and all those smocks enabled us to do so.
So, that one goes out to all of you. Next one, and it goes out to…this one, I just found, is…now, there…this was a time when I was very corporate, these Valentines and stuff, so they were also a form of advertising, which kind of…it was like product placement you paid for, which I gotta say, I really respect and love in some sense. So, this one is Ronald McDonald, and Ronald McDonald is waving. Ronald McDonald has his hand up and then he’s holding a giant heart. It says…it’s a giant heart, almost the same size as Ronald, but it’s also a sign. It says, ‘To my special Valentine next to Ronald McDonald’…oh, next there’s a joke in there; I love you the best. So, second-best. I didn’t realize…I just read it.
But so, let’s see, in the…well, okay, so, I do have something that I guess I would say…not next to Ronald McDonald, but I have a hooded sweatshirt and I’m pretty sure it’s from the same company. Is there three versions of this sweatshirt of my life, or two? I think there’s three. The current version…the middle version, I would say, you were just a repeat of the first, or maybe you were still the first sweatshirt. We’ll get back to the first sweatshirt, but this second one I’ve had now, it’s a grey Champion sweatshirt. Now, this one I have…the current edition is a non-cotton sweatshirt. So, I may love you the best, but this is kind of about a journey into the past, so…and I guess I’ll be honest; I haven’t worn you as much as…lately, because you just haven’t…I haven’t needed you.
I’m sorry to say it in that clear way, but I have these thinner sweatshirts now, and you’re a thick one, but not a super-thick one, but you’re made from those materials that I would say are like plastic, and that is a huge, huge advantage you have, because you kind of are soft. You really are a pleasure to wear, because you’re soft, you don’t feel the same as cotton, but a lot of times, these human-made fabrics can not feel great. But your inside has a really smooth…your outside is really smooth, like, smoother than cotton, but not in a way that feels fake or whatever. You’re nice to touch, and your inside…I’m not big on the insides of sweatshirts anyway. I know a lot of people are, so I like your inside, but holy cow, do you have a gigantic advantage over cotton, and what I would say is my first-place sweatshirt probably just due to relationship and timeframe.
You’ve been through…with me through some tougher years. I probably met you at TJ Maxx, where I meet so many of my clothes nowadays…probably a 100% chance, ‘cause where else would you get a Champion sweatshirt? ‘Cause I definitely wouldn’t have bought you online. I saw you, I said wow, that’s the kinda sweatshirt I wear. I didn’t even start a social media company, because you’re grey and I don’t know what…but anyway, holy cow, does…do you deserve this and more, because you’ve been there. But…oh, but I was saying because…it could be raining or a theme park ride. You are the best sweatshirt to wear to a theme park, in my opinion, if you were slightly more packable. But anytime we know the temperature is gonna drop below, say, 60 degrees, you’re my number-one choice.
Maybe even 65, because you’ll keep me warm, but then if I go on a ride that has splashing water or it happens to start misting or light rain, I know you’re gonna keep me warm and I know you’re not gonna hold the water, even if I take you off. I’m not gonna be carrying around one of those cottony sweatshirts that’s just soaked. Eventually you’ll dry off, so you…that’s why you deserve this Valentine so much. Next up is Grimace, also from Ronald McDonald’s…now, Grimace is purple. This version of Grimace has four arms, so I don’t know if this is a officially licensed version of Grimace, though it’s trademarked. Grimace is all…so, Ronald was holding Ronald’s sign on his left…no, his right side. Grimace is holding a sign on his left side, so I don’t know if Grimace is left-handed like me. It would make sense.
So, Grimace is a furry, purple creature; was shaped like a light bulb, though here he’s more shaped like a meat wad with legs and arms, but purple. He’s holding three pink hearts, and then he has a big, white sign with black writing that’s a heart. It says ‘Be my funny Valentine’. This one goes out to my…a sport coat of my father’s that I basically…I guess nowadays you’d say I took without permission, or you could use stronger things. Never discussed it with my father. Reappropriated. Or if we did discuss it, I was not listening at all, so again, great opportunity for me to apologize to my father for some stuff.
But so, this is…so, I guess at some point…this is like moving into a positive moment where at some point, my ability…my engagement at school and my comfort at school reached a point where I stopped caring how I dressed, or I stopped caring how I dressed to fit in, and realized I was not a person that was gonna acquire…I didn’t have the money to…we just didn’t…weren’t…even if I would have afforded it — with another Valentine we’ll probably talk about this — I wouldn’t even know where to go shopping, anyway. So, at some point, I just started mining clothes, I guess doing my own thrift shopping within the house with stuff that might not have been thrift clothes, and just taking them. This sport coat was a big one, and it was such a success.
Now, you didn’t need to wear a sport coat and barely anyone ever did at our school unless it was an occasion, but I found this plaid sport coat, and it was a understated plaid, but still overstated. This was in the 90s that…right? Yeah. Kinda mid-90s to late…late 90s? Mid-90s? I don’t know. But it was kind of earth-tone plaid jacket, a dress jacket, a sport coat. Didn’t quite fit me, but I said there’s something about…and to be honest, I had never seen my father in it, so reappropriating it without his permission…I’m sure there’s some more loving opportunities I’ll have thinking about this, and that I could have had in the past. But so, this sport coat, I wish…I mean, I can picture in my head; it’s one of those few pieces of clothing that are really, really burned, burned, burned in my mind.
So, this Valentine is for you, ‘cause it says ‘Be my funny Valentine’. This was one of those things where sometimes people…I had a reputation for being funny at school and having a sense of humor, but sometimes it was also unintentional or it was just who I was. I was so off of…I was so off from my…I thought so differently than most kids, I guess, that people would find things I did hilarious, even if it wasn’t intentionally hilarious, just ‘cause it was where…when you reach a point, sometimes that’s a good thing. I guess I didn’t quite have the realization of that to lean into it 100%, but maybe I could lean into it 51%. This sport coat was one of those things. It was love at first sight and it was a love that was beyond my understanding, because it shouldn’t have…it wasn’t forlorn or forbidden love.
I mean, it should have been forbidden, ‘cause I was taking it without permission, and I guess the irony is the sport coat; even if it was a discounted sport coat, probably cost more than almost my entire wardrobe that I had, period. But it was work…it was work-related for my dad. But so, I remember seeing you and saying oh boy, love at first sight. Also, your utility, because whatever material you were made of, you never got wrinkly and you never really got dirty. I mean, I never cleaned you, but oh boy, had the kids at school never seen a grown man-boy in a plaid sport coat before, except some sort of stylish plaid for some sort of holiday, like a Scottish…this was not like a Scottish tartan plaid or some sort of Irishy plaid or kind of like a Catholic school-style plaid. This was a earth-tone plaid.
One of my students, one of the other kids that…he was the first person that saw me and he kinda was so…he said jeez, you look like a used car salesman. Or, he had a much funnier joke about it, and he…this was a kid who’d normally comment on stuff like that. I said okay, well, at first I was self-conscious about it, not because of him, but anyway. Then a couple other kids…most people were in disbelief that I was walking around school in this strange sport coat, but other people…because I was just at that 51%, 49%, people thought it was hilarious, but not…they weren’t laughing at me. They thought they were laughing with me, since…because…and I didn’t realize that it…I did it out of ignorance and because I fell in love. I said well, I’ve got nothing else to wear.
This will cover the stains on my wrinkled shirt and it’ll give me one more layer of distance from my classmates, and I like it. So, I guess part of me, that 49% or 51% didn’t care anymore ‘cause of whatever else, whatever…had enough hormones and I had enough…had already given up on the school part of school. This isn’t in a sad way; this was one of those almost-healthy ways where I was being my best self and I didn’t even realize it. So, I wore that to school and then I…that’s when I was doing some of the…I was doing some acting for a school, I don’t know, fundraisers and stuff like that. So, I really appreciate that sport coat. I guess I’ll have to talk to my dad about it. But you were my funny Valentine, and I didn’t even realize it. So, I gotta thank you, plaid shirt.
I guess I’ll get another card for another…sticking in this era before we hop out of this era, is another thing I took from my dad. I almost used the s- word…took without permission, reappropriated…again, I never saw him wear this, so I don’t know. Sometimes he got clothes maybe as a gift, but he always got…he had…these were nice clothes, or maybe he bought it for work and it didn’t work out, or maybe he bought it for a work event, or maybe somebody gave it to him. Never saw my dad go clothes shopping. So, not exactly sure about that. But let’s see, so…let’s…but this was a sweater and it was the kinda sweater…it kinda has crossed eras, and I just…it was so strange to find it in my dad’s clothing when I was going through stuff. It was a very preppy sweater.
My dad had to get dressed up for work, but this was the kinda thing you’d see in a 90s movie or jump back to the 70s movies. I’m thinking of Bradley Cooper’s character in one of the wedding movies, I think, when he was still playing antagonist characters more, or in the 70s…60s, 70s college movies, the preppy type. It was a very…kind of a Cape Cod, New England, Martha’s Vineyard sweater, like you’re hanging off a yacht. It had a V…it was a white…it was kinda like a eggshell-colored sweater, some sort of knit. I guess a nice cotton or maybe wool, and that had a V-neck, but the V-neck had stripes of royal blue and maroon, the kinda thing you might see on someone you’re attracted to of any gender and their…you say holy cow, now that person has style.
But for me, again, it didn’t fit me and it didn’t really fit my style even though we had to get dressed up for school. I wasn’t super…I was more…unpolished would be my style, not preppy, and not…that’s my style; unpolished. It still is. So, this sweater was so…again, and this was in the same era…and it was a era where there was also a bit of feathering going on, or whatever you want to call it, peacocking, unsuccessful peacocking, because I said well, I gotta figure out some sort of solution. If I could figure out the clothes part, maybe that’ll help me figure out interacting with people that I’m attracted to. It didn’t work, which I think is a positive lesson, but I guess in the loving opportunity side, I said the part of you that was…the part that would have worked if you could have connected to it more was the part of you that had this boldness.
It reached this point of boldness to just say well, I’ll try anything, and I don’t really care what people think of me anymore in a positive way, for the most part. 49.9% of me doesn’t care. So, I’m just gonna wear this sweater and see how it goes. Then I guess part of me was like well, it doesn’t fit you, though; it’s too big. But I said, whatever. Now, it was a eggshell-colored sweater, so this sweater, it’s…our relationship was briefer because obviously very quickly…and I think maybe some of my siblings started wearing it, too. But this sweater, I just think about it. I just have…again, I don’t have a stark memory of a lot of clothes I wore to school, other than that sport coat. I mean, other than clothes that didn’t go well, but those are ones…I’m sorry, I just don’t remember very much about you, pants I ruined with exploding pens and all that.
But so, yeah, that’s for that sweater, this one. This is…and did I say it? I don’t think I did; it’s Snoopy and Woodstock snuggling together with a big, pink heart behind them against a red background. It says, ‘Happiness is being with you’. So, thank you for that. Now, let’s go back to a little bit earlier in high school, and let’s see, we gotta cover some ground here ‘cause we got a couple more pieces of clothing to get…so, I’m gonna do…this Valentine’s kinda going out to a couple different things…pieces of clothing, but a piece of clothing…a very specific one that I guess maybe I was wearing in the similar kinda era. This is…I guess there was a Snoopy character that at the time…well, we got two of these, so we’ll give you one. So, I have two Valentines; I’m gonna read them and then send them out.
The first one, Snoopy had a character called Joe Cool. I did not get a chance to read a lot of Snoopy when I was a kid, or Peanuts. But this one is Joe Cool, which means that Snoopy’s wearing glasses and being cool, and Snoopy’s throwing a yellow Frisbee or receiving it, and it says, ‘You don’t have to practice. You’re just naturally nice. Happy Valentine’s Day.’ Then there’s another one. This is not Joe Cool Snoopy, but he’s pretty cool. Snoopy’s riding a skateboard, a yellow skateboard, going pretty fast. Gigantic smile on Snoopy’s face, ears blowing, wind sailing, and then on Snoopy’s head is Woodstock, whose hair is blowing, and Woodstock’s riding it. It says, ‘Valentine, you’re just my speed.’ So, this first set of clothing goes…or first Valentine, ‘You don’t have to practice.
You’re just naturally nice’ goes out to my cousin’s clothes, John. My cousin John, he’s…we spent a lot of time together, especially…like, not leading up to…when we were in middle school and late-grammar, elementary school. A lot of treasured memories, especially at his house, and Thanksgivings together and stuff like that. But one of the things, and I never talked about this…maybe I did with him, is cousin John, he was the oldest of three kids. He had two younger sisters. I don’t know who took him shopping. I would guess that it was his mom and not his dad, but that’s just a guess, or maybe he went on his own. So, I’ll have to have a conversation with John and his mom about this, Molly, but John had what I would call a surfer style.
Even though he lived in Syracuse, New York, he had a surfer style, which was very…skater-surfer but more surfer, which was aspirational, and he pulled it off — this isn’t a criticism at all — so successfully that I was in constant awe of it and aspiration of it. In the 80s, this particular period of the late 80s, you’re in the neon section of the 80s, but also this was a rise…and now it’s back, and I don’t know how long it’s been and it’s probably on its way out, ‘cause there’s even mall stores with this kinda clothing, but I don’t know how long…if that’s a thing on its tail end, like the malls themselves. But so, I don’t know if these mall stores existed back then and that’s where he got his clothes, ‘cause we just never…I mean, it’s not a criticism; we wouldn’t have bought our clothes at the mall.
We would buy our clothes at the place…like, if we were shopping at…what was it, TJ Maxx Marshalls I think was what we had. That’s where we’d get our clothes, or Kmart. That’s where…Kmart or whatever. You’re buying for six kids. Or other places, depending on what was happening. But so, my cousin John, the two…the companies at the time, the most expensive and most popular one was Ocean Pacific. You called it OP or OP Sportswear, and John wore a lot of OP. Then there was another company which the name escapes me, but was what I’m gonna refer to here on my piece of clothing, that was a little bit less expensive, but trying to compete with OP. They had printed shirts and shorts, but really non-OP-branded stuff. It would have a OP on there somewhere. John just really looked good, man.
Even though he lived in Syracuse, New York, he looked like he dressed like someone…I don’t know. It was just a cool style, especially in the summertime, which was when I saw more of him. So, I don’t know. I didn’t go to school with him, so I don’t know what he wore to school. But yeah, he didn’t have to practice, ‘cause those clothes on John, they looked naturally nice. Now, ‘Valentine, you’re just my speed’…and actually, this is a good one because it is a loving opportunity, twofold. So, the one I want to send the Valentine to first is a shirt I wore a lot around that era, and I think we got it at Marshalls, me and my mom, or another…whatever, whatever you call that, a second-hand…I don’t think they’re discount stores, but I don’t know. I think we had…Marshalls was what it was called.
But TJ Maxx is what I know it as now. I found this shirt…oh boy, did I love this shirt. It was…this was in the neon era, but this was not quite a neon shirt. It had an…it had stripes and it was bright, like almost neon, of…it must have been a electric-blue shirt, but it had alternating stripes so that it would have an electric blue stripe and then kind of a darker blue to kinda make it understated, and then it had a neon-yellow under-collar. So, the collar was electric blue, but underneath it was a second collar. Or, not a collar; the circle that goes around your neck. Didn’t have a collar like you put a tie on, but underneath that was a second collar that was neon-yellow, and maybe the cuffs of the shirt were neon-yellow underneath. I don’t know, but I wore that shirt so much.
I’m not sure if it was Ocean Pacific or the other…one of the other brands, but that was my shirt, man. I mean, I couldn’t wear it all…I would have wore it every day, but I was already too old to wear…I was already attracted to the girls in my class, beyond…like, I was post-pubescent or whatever, so it was like, couldn’t wear this every single day. Or maybe I was just on my…where I was going through puberty, so I couldn’t wear the shirt every day, ‘cause at that point, you know okay, you can’t wear this every day because then it defeats the purpose of having the shirt. But this was one of those shirts where you put it on…I felt confident. Also, I know I wore this shirt for a filming of the Mickey Mouse Club, I don’t think one that Justin Timberlake or Britney Spears were on, but I’d have to double-check that.
But definitely JC was on there, I think. They made all my…I went with my cousin, John’s sister, actually, Betsy, and my sister Sheila and my brother Carl. They made them all wear neon shirts to be in the audience, but I got to keep mine on because it was already neon enough. So, that shirt is just my speed at the time. I would still wear it today, actually. It might be a little thick for what I like to wear today, ‘cause it might have been a two-ply shirt, but that is just my speed, and I did want to send a sad one out because…and also set gratitude to my mom, because again, she’s trying to do the best she can with six kids. This was a different shopping trip, again in this puberty era, which is tough for clothes and kids.
But I really needed some…and I think it was towards the end of the school year, so I had…I was like mom, I gotta get some cool shorts or something. She said okay, well, I think we could figure it out for next month or whatever; we’ll go and we’ll go to TJ Maxx. Again, I was thinking in my head, where does John get his clothes? But I didn’t think to ask or…’cause I said man, if I could get some shorts like John has…I can even picture in my head; it gives me this feeling of how good he looked in his shorts. Again, their shorts particularly were understated. They’re just nice, I don’t know, non-print shorts, but they would have nice colors, and they just looked good on him. I guess he was also 6”3 or something, so it’s like…but so, we went and we found two pairs of…oh, Gotcha.
That was the other brand, Gotcha, and usually TJ Maxx had more Gotcha than Ocean Pacific. But they did have one pair…so, we got a pair of Gotcha shorts. They were elastic waist. They weren’t the coolest shorts and they weren’t dress shorts that, whatever, when we could wear shorts to school, which was only the last week of school or for exams. These shorts, they were more like…but they…those shorts were cool. I don’t have…I mean, I don’t…they’re not Valentine-level. But I also got this pair of light…and I guess ‘cause they were the only OP shorts that fit me, and you know the story; we’ve all lived this story in our own way, I think. So, I got these OP shorts. They were light tan, Ocean Pacific dress shorts, kind of like…not linen, but that type of style and material.
They were nice, man, and I wore them the first…and they just made me feel like okay, these are nice, clean dress shorts. They’re mine. What happens? You know what happens. I always chewed my pens and the first time I wore the shorts, a black pen exploded in my pocket. Now again, just ruined the shorts, maybe. I guess…this is one of those things where as kids, you’re like oh boy, my mom just struggled to get me these shorts, and I was careless, and these shorts are no longer gonna bring me confidence. We did our own laundry, but emergency laundry…I mean, I guess again, if I had a loving opportunity, I’d say hey, those shorts, you’re not gonna get the ink out of the shorts. Are you gonna be…could you be comfortable wearing them without ink? Is that part of your boldness? Or with ink if you can’t get them out?
But I wasn’t at that point, so I tried washing them with tons and tons of bleach, and I used so much bleach that the shorts actually disintegrated when they came out of the washer or the…I think I probably washed them more than once, so maybe I tried once with stain remover and it didn’t work, so then I tried just…I mean, who knows how much bleach I used, but enough that brand-new shorts that were somewhat well-made…I mean, they didn’t come apart at the seams. Like, literally the fabric broke down. So, yeah, that…the…I just wanted to send a Valentine to those shorts ‘cause I said you didn’t…I guess I could have given you a little bit better chance there. But this…I guess I…I guess we’ll have to return next Valentine’s Day for more clothing Valentine’s Days, ‘cause there’s other shirts and stuff I’m sure I missed.
I know of one. But yeah, remember, this is a loving opportunity. I say hey, yeah, well, you could maybe wear those shorts with a ink stain in there. You know, there’s a lot…I guess the one thing is a loving opportunity to say hey, why don’t you go to school tomorrow and in a non-critical way look at the other kids’ clothes in a non-aspirational way. I don’t think I ever did this, to be honest with you, so thanks for the opportunity, and to say, how many kids’ clothes are wrinkled or have grease stains on them like yours, or ink stains? Do you think anybody…do you…well, I wonder if it’s a chance for you to be closer to them. Be like, I wonder how they feel, if they have feelings about it or they don’t even think about it. Just curious to think about that.
I guess one from being…is like, I wonder if anybody even cares if your clothes look that way. I know it feels that way; totally. Don’t say that…don’t…here’s the thing; if you’re a parent, don’t ever say that to a teen. Like oh, does it really matter how you look? It does. I know it matters how you look, but it also matters how you feel about how you look. So, I guess it’s…instead of going in that direction, be like man, is that some sort of statement? Like, I don’t even care, man. Darn right, pens explode in my pocket every day, in my shirt pockets to stain my body before, multiple times, and I know my leg was stained multiple times too through my shorts, even as an adult in jeans. So yeah, I’ve been there, and I’m here to help you by sending Valentine’s Days…Valentines to clothes. From Scoots to you, clothes, those are a couple of clothes and Valentines for this Valentine season. Thanks, everybody.
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