Whenever I have to wear a tuxedo, like tonight, I get slightly depressed. Not because of the tuxedo itself but because while dressing I inevitably think of a penguin. Not just any penguin or even a normal penguin but The Penguin, the villian played by Burgess Meredith in the original Batman series. The campy one that everyone seemed to know was campy except me. And that I now realize wasn’t as exciting or thrilling as I thought it was when I watched the series as a boy. And that is depressing.
And thinking of Burgess Meredith playing The Penguin reminds me of the first time I saw the movie Rocky (Rocky I) and how I couldn’t believe Rocky’s hardened streetwise trainer, Mick, used to play a villianous bird in a campy TV series. It made me think less of the movie Rocky. (They should have let the guy who plays Paulie be the trainer. He was never a campy Batman villian and, frankly, added little to the movie playing Rocky’s brother-in-law.) And the fact that Rocky I wasnt as good as it could have been is a little depressing.
But then I am reminded of Burgess Meredith’s early work as the bookworm banker in Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last” and then wonder of Rod Serling thought less of this famous episode because Burgess Meredith later would famously play an evil Penguin in a campy TV series that Rod Serling and everyone else knew was campy at the time.
And then I try to remember if Rod Serling would do his Twilight Zone monologues in a tuxedo or just a sharp looking dark suit. I always conclude it was the later and that is a good thing since he is probably already disappointed about Burgess Meredith’s Batman role and didn’t have to be reminded of it everytime he watched a Twilight Zone rerun. That is uplifting to think about. Until I am reminded that Rod Serling died at a young age before his time and I am more depressed than before the uplifting thought about Rod Serling.
There is just no way around it. Wearing a tuxedo is enough to make any guy sad and deprrssed just thinking about all the ramifications that come to mind.
I always keep a sports jacket or two and a tie in my backseat for when I need them for a “jacket and tie” meeting. I don’t like to overdress if I don’t have to but don’t want to be underdressed either. My plan seems to work well most days.
But today I realized while on my way to a “jacket and tie” meeting I had on a plaid button down shirt that would not work with a tie and needed—quickly needed—a plain colored button down shirt. Sometimes I can get by with just a jacket but this one seemed to require a jacket and a tie.
Fortunately, I was about to drive by Jos A Banks and pulled in quickly and parked. But then my mind began to run through what was almost sure to happen.
I would run inside with 6 minutes to spare to purchase a single plain colored button down shirt. I would find my size and the shirt and take it to the counter and hear.
“Hello. What is your name and address? Do you know we are having a sale for “Buy one, get two free for dress shirts?”
I would then, obviously, take advantage of the sale since I would be giving up two free shirts if I insisted on just buying the one. I would now have 2 minutes to go and explain
I am in a hurry and just need the shirt for a meeting and have the jacket and tie in the car where I keep them for occasions like this.
“You know, if you need a tie with that because the one in the car is wrinkled, we are having the same “Buy one, get two” free for neckties or you can “buy one necktie and get any sports coat for half off. I noticed you eyeing the grey plaid sports jacket when you came in.”
“Really?” I would say. “Do you have it in a size 43 R?”
“Yes,” the sale clerk would say and “I have a really smart looking tie for it, too.”
And then, of course, there would be a slacks offering if I buy a shirt tie and jacket where
I could get two for the price of one. And before leaving I would need a pair of shoes for my new outfit too.
So, instead, I’m just going to this meeting today without a tie on. Just a sport jacket.
Because Jos A Banks wouldn’t let me just by a single darned single color plain button down shirt!