Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Here Come the Men In Navy Blue . . .

In the hilarious, box-office busting and then, sadly, sequeled 1997 comedy Men In Black, Will Smith plays an over-zealous, cocky and wildly-talented New York City police officer who is enlisted to help save the world from aliens (spolier alert - he does).

I know, I know, that is the plot line for just about EVERY Will Smith movie ever (except Six Degrees of Seperation (my favorite of his films) and the ones he's gotten Oscar nominations for - Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness (that is how they spelled the name of the film - not a typo on my part) - for those keeping track at home.

ANYWHO - enough movie trivia . . . I have a point. So Will Smith joins this secret strike force to rid the world of unauthorized aliens (I think the movie may have been foreshadowing of our current border-crisis) and, as part of the job, he is partnered with a wonderfully crumudgeoned Tommy Lee Jones and given the official "uniform" of the group - black suit, black tie, white shirt and cooler-than-the-special-effects-in-The-Chronicles-of-Narnia Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Smith, full of his own abilities, suits up in the uniform for the first time and looks at his new partner (Jones) and asks "Do you know what the difference is between you and me?" Jones facially gestures (as only he could) and Smith cooly quips "I make this look goooood!" (NOTE - Insert fist pump, giggle and shout of "hell yeah" (from those watching in the multi-plex) here.)

Fast forward nine full years to a wintery day in Wichita, Kansas. Myself, a former over-zealous, cocky and wildly-talented professional (PR v. PD) has been enlisted to help save the world (our clients) from aliens (bad PR strategies) and, for tonight at least, I have been fitted with a uniform.

Yep - myself and six of my work-croneys are heading up to Topeka tonight for the Kansas Chamber's annual dinner with the one-and-only George Will keynoting following the dinner.

The Captivating Joy authorized me to purchase a new ensemble for this evening's dinner.

Men's Wearhouse could alter my old clothes from when I interviewed here in October but I've lost six inches off my waist and six off my chest since October so, even with re-fitting, I just looked sloppy in the old stuff) and I decided to go a little "conservative" for the night by wearing a blue/grey windowpaned sports coat and navy blue wool pants. I'm usually a "brown" guy or a "grey" guy (before Joy I was a "black" guy but she convinced me that always wearing black didn't actually mask your weight/size at all) but NAVY BLUE seemed right for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and my new mentalities on size and clothes.

I must have been on to something with the blue . . . as luck would have it almost all of the men in our group have also chosen to wear navy blue and white shirts for our trip (with wildly different ties, I should note).

Ordinarily I would HATE having an outfit even close to any one else I was with. My brothers/co-best men even wore different ties than I did in our wedding and all the men got to pick out whatever suit they wanted to wear as long as it was charcoal grey.

I needed to be "different" or "apart" from the rest. I guess because my size was such a defining characteristic - to be in a "uniform" on top of that, to me, was like begging everyone to notice just how much bigger than the rest of the group I was.

Not so much any more. I am fine "fitting in" in my clothes. Hell - I don't even mind that we're all going to look very matchy-matchy this evening. I look at all of these skinny men with their shiny Bryl Creamed hair and their blue suits and I think to myself . . . I fit in with these guys. I can look "like" these guys without looking "different" from these guys and, dammit, I look BETTER than these guys in my new suit.

Now I just need the Ray-Ban sunglasses and some sunny weather to wear them in (it is COLD) here today.

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