February 22, 2014
As I do most days, I woke up this morning at zero-dog-thirty, slipped on the Bean mocs that stay parked by the door this time of year, and took the old boy for a walk in the neighborhood. The sun was just coming up and the rest of the street was still asleep. I like that feeling that I've beaten the rest of the world to something, even if it's just coffee, a cup of which I subsequently tucked into as I checked in with a few of my favorite blogs. That's when I was hit with the crushing news that my favorite of my favorite blogs, Heavy Tweed Jacket, is closing up shop. I blinked. I stared. I swallowed hard. I shut my laptop and then opened it again.
Then I laughed a little at myself. You see, a couple of weeks ago at the office, one of the IT guys showed me a personal blog post he was working on. It was a tribute to a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game in which he had participated for the last four years or so under a screen name that included the word "Hammer" or "Sword" or something along those lines. As he described the final battle from the previous night in which many users from the history of the game returned for one last go, he said he was reminded of an excerpt from a letter that Ken Burns used in his Civil War series. He got a little misty. I bit my tongue. "Pathetic," I thought. "That's not a real community. Those people don't even know each other."
Needless to say, this morning amidst my disappointment that HTJ was shutting down, I couldn't help but consider how ridiculous I would sound were I to explain all this to the IT guy on Monday. "Yeah, it was great. We all went there to look at his shirts. And sometimes his jackets. And shoes! Oh the shoes! No, I don't know his name. None of us use our names. Except Muffy, and that's a nickname. What did he look like? No idea. Never saw his face. I think he was in Japan. You should have seen the sweaters though! Have I mentioned the catalog scans? Yes, old catalogs. And the collar roll discussions? But now it's over. Too bad. Where will we go to look at old shirts?"
By now you know that conversation will never take place. Because just like the MMO games that allow people get to be wizards, dwarves, elves, and monsters by night, looking at another man's shirts on Saturday mornings is awfully private business.
But it was about more than shirts, wasn't it? It was about brand history. It was about design and construction and textile science. It was about tradition and code. And somehow, without the slightest hint of preachiness or snobbishness, HTJ imparted a sense of propriety. And I'm pretty sure I'm better for it.
All this being said, I also realized today that I think I still have something to contribute to the collective narrative and now that I have finally recovered my Blogger credentials, I am planning to post regularly again this year. I will continue to update my Tumblr page as well.
So my wishes to HTJ are for health, happiness, and a perfect collar roll. I hope he drops in now and again to leave a comment or even contribute a post somewhere.