Jon de Vos: Slack up the rope a while
May 13, 2011
I was in a meeting the other day where some guys from the city were wearing ties. At a break, I leaned over to one of them and said, “Did you know there are more dogs in Grand County than ties?” He inspected me curiously for a few moments like I was a museum exhibit of an indigenous hillbilly. Then he excused himself to go speak to other ties. I may have made him nervous.
It’s not that way in the city; I know that. In the city, ties are the mark of indenture. Whether you’re a slave to money, fashion or the corporate ladder, you’re serving somebody if you tie a silk noose around your neck in the morning.
I used to have a job where wearing a tie was more important than wearing underpants. Style over substance. I could tie my tie half-asleep. I could tie my tie driving seventy-five miles per hour. I could tie my tie eating cereal on a bus, or running around my apartment shrieking about my missing briefcase.
I owned more ties than there were days of the week. Every once in a while I’d have to drag one out from under the bed like a reluctant snake.
If all ties are stupid, then the stupidest tie is the bolo tie. Sometime in the 1930s a Wickenburg cowboy’s hat blew off and before he could jump off and get it, his horse whirled around and pooped all over his ten-gallon John B. Stetson hat.
The hat was totaled, as you might expect, but he salvaged his fancy leather hatband, hung it around his neck and headed home. When he got there, his wife was taken aback by his sartorial splendor.
Some fool patented the thing in the late 1940s. Inexplicably, the tie became popular. It was championed by no lesser dignitary than Barry Goldwater. Mr. Goldwater will be long remembered as the inventor of the solar powered flagpole that automatically raised and lowered the American flag at daybreak and dusk at his home in Paradise Valley, Az.
In an act of unprecedented political profundity, the Arizona legislature made it the official neckwear for the state in 1971, a fitting end for a hatband that crawled out from under a pile of horse poop.
Sometimes when we’re traveling, for reasons totally unbeknownst to me, my wife will insist that I buy a tie for some gala occasion we haven’t been invited to yet and she probably wouldn’t attend anyway. The other day she showed me an ad for a tie that, for once, I was truly interested in.
For those frequent moments when the meeting turned tragically boring, there was an air nozzle on the tie’s underside that allowed you to blow it up into a very comfortable sleeping pillow.
Women don’t usually wear ties. However, I suspect that behind every good tie there’s a smiling woman who has forced a sullen man to wrap it around his neck. Surely we couldn’t come up with an idea like this on our own, could we guys?
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