News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Someone else can have my ugly old shirts

Jenny said when I returned from my morning workout a lot of old clothes would be piled on the bed.

Unless I protested, she continued, they were destined for charity.

After we got married she didn’t find any skeletons hanging in my closet. But she did find it crammed with ugly, oversized clothes.

Getting rid of them would be like letting go of the past.

In recent years I’ve dropped a few pounds.

Most people who comprehend the basics of proportion would understand that a smaller person wears a smaller shirt size, even if that person is the same person he was when he was bigger, only now he’s smaller.

I never made that connection.

I kept buying the same size shirts. They got more and more roomy, like a big comfortable couch.

“When they’re too big, they look ...” Jenny struggled for a kind way to finish the sentence.

“Bad,” I said, bailing her out.

Recently I boasted to her that I’ve been wearing some of the same clothes for almost 20 years.

She looked at me as if that’s not the sort of thing a person should be proud of, or even admit.

“It must be true,” she said. “Men never throw away clothes.”

That’s not entirely true.

After we got married I junked my favorite flannel shirt, which dates to the 1980s.

Surprisingly, Jenny rescued it from the trashcan. She said I should keep it since I seem to be so attached to it.

I promised not to wear it in public.

Based on the merciful outcome of the old flannel shirt, the rest of the clothes seemed safe until the recent wardrobe doomsday.

When I returned from working out, it was just as Jenny had forewarned. The clothes were in a sad pile on the bed.

There was the huge, ugly red, checkerboard shirt. The ugly navy and khaki plaid shirt, which was huge. The huge, ugly and faded black mock turtleneck. The hugely ugly button-down shirt with baby blue stripes.

All of these shirts seemed to have something in common.

Huge. Ugly.

Jenny was in another room when I discovered the rejects, so I decided to have some fun.

“But Jenny,” I yelled. “These are my favorite shirts!”

She walked into the room and nodded toward the door.

I carried the pile to the trunk of the car so she could deliver them to charity.

It’s easier to let go of the past when it’s big and ugly.

Scott Morris is managing editor.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

Leave feedback
on this or

Email This Page