Sunday, May 15, 2011

NOTM: One Man’s Quest for His Last Pair of Collar Stays

Rockville, MD – Morris Herlis leads a quiet, regimented, and controlled morning existence. His pre-work routine is as regular as he is when he eats bran cereal. He knows where things are, when they will happen, and how they will happen – most of the time.

On Wednesday morning at 5:53, after his one allotted snooze button press, Morris rolled out of bed and trudged to the bathroom. He multitasked by shaving his face while emptying his bladder. After showering, Morris brushed his teeth before dressing, lest he risk dripping toothpaste on clean clothes. He is ruthlessly efficient and cautious.

Morris is sly enough to avoid making his shirt match his toothpaste.

With temperatures in the 70s, Morris decided that he wouldn't sweat so much that his blue long-sleeved, button-down shirt would require a visit to the dry cleaners before the next wearing. Feeling confident in his unironed and only semi-wrinkled khakis, Morris had his outfit ready.

Morris demonstrated his wealth of clothing procedural knowledge by deftly placing one leg in his pants and then the other without falling over. Able to zip his fly without catching any of himself in its teeth, he buttoned his pants before directing his black (p)leather belt through the specially designed loops around his waist and buckled it snuggly.

This almost makes getting dressed to go to work seem like fun.

Thanks to many Sesame Street lessons on how to button buttons, Morris closed his shirt, thereby saving the world from viewing his gangly mess of chest hair. He went to lower his collar when he realized they didn't have collar stays. Morris went to his jewelry box with its cuff links and watches, but didn’t find any collar stays there.

“I don’t know how my collar will stay down without those plastic wonder pieces,” Morris lamented. Indeed without collar stays, the tip of his collar would find its way to point up. Morris’ line of work demands a proper collar fixture.

Morris looked in his nightstand with its reading glasses, ear plugs, and athlete’s foot spray, but it was to no avail. Sweat began to bead on his forehead. He frantically tore through a pile of shirts destined to the dry cleaner and checked their collars only to find them empty.

Anyone serious about collar stays keeps them in a secure case.

Morris’ calculated morning routine schedule does not allow for slippage. When all goes according to plan, he’s out the door by 6:40, but it was already 6:45. With desperation in his voice, Morris said, “five minutes late already! I don’t wanna be stuck with the bus people again!”

Morris checked the laundry room floor, the catch-all drawer in the kitchen, and his suitcase toiletry bag. It was 6:48 and Morris had searched everywhere and found nothing. He was now assured a Metro ride with the bus people which meant getting a seat would be more difficult. Also, Morris is pretty sure he is allergic to them.

To clear his mind, Morris went about getting his shoes, socks, and bag ready. Next, he went to the bathroom and put a glob of L.A. Looks styling gel in his hands. He looked at the mirror to style his hornet’s nest hair when he saw something – his shirt also had buttons near the tips for collar stays. His collar would be securely unpopped after all! Morris cracked a smile despite running an ungodly 12 minutes late.

He grabbed the edge of his left collar and began buttoning it except he hadn't washed his hands. The collar was no longer white, but electric blue from the L.A. Looks gel smooshed into the threads. Morris would have to start the process again. Collapsing to his knees, Morris’ shirt was done and so was he.