ties that bind 

When I moved from the humble village of East Rainton (pop. 350ish) to the town of Hetton-le-Hole (pop. 14,000ish) I found myself in a school that had a uniform code. This is where I learned to fasten ties around my neck. 

3 school years and 1 Atlantic crossing later, I wound up in a public school in Toronto. For no adequately explained reason, I insisted on continuing to wear a tie anyway. This helped me blend in with the other students. I didn’t get over that phase until the following school year when I moved to the junior high. 

After that, I wore ties only on special occasions until I became a computer professional. For 20 years I wore the darn things every work-day. Just before the office environment became tie-free, I finally figured out that I’d choke a lot less if I got shirts with a larger collar size. Timing is everything.


Over the last year or so, some of the younger workers have taken to wearing ties on “tie Tuesday”. I’ve not said anything about how cute they look when they “play dress up”. I suspect that would be patronizing.


Recently, my friend “Garth” admitted that he didn’t know how to tie a tie and had to spend some time in front of a mirror and a YouTube video trying to figure it out on a day that he needed one. He didn’t want me to know because he was afraid that it would show up in my blog. (Pause to let the irony sink in.) 

I considered telling Garth that knowing how to tie a tie wasn’t a sign of brilliance or good breeding but a sign that you’d been forced to learn a useless skill that benefited no one. In fact, if I hadn’t had the darn thing shoved down my throat as a kid, I’d’ve been using mirrors and YouTube videos as well. I could then add how useless and pointless ties themselves were.

Instead, I said “Don’t worry. You won’t see this in my blog.”

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