Monday, March 24, 2014


          I have never liked to wear suits, nor have they ever evinced the slightest trace of wishing to be worn by me. The moment I put one on it fills itself with aforethought malice. Buttons decide that they’re in the wrong line of trade, and decide to take up a carefree, vagabond life. Cuffs fray without the least excuse, and holes appear where they have no right to be. A day on which I must wear a suit is not a merry one, as I am continually reminded of how recent was my descent from the apes. (I will omit the painful subject of ties, which plainly are worn in reminiscence of the noose-wearing Burghers of Calais, to remind men that they are mortal, and to make them glad of it).
          Neither do I like to buy suits, as they cost vast sums of money, which I immediately mentally transform into more pleasant things, such as piles of books, or vacations. I put off buying new suits for as long as decency allows, and then reflect that “decency” is, after all, a very flexible concept, and delay a while longer.

          Still, sulky brutes though they are, I have never had a suit simply vanish on me before. It is nowhere to be found; not hanging up nor lying down. Utterly gone, a dark grey suit, and leaving never a clue behind.

          There are several possible explanations. The one which strikes me as most likely is that it was made by the grandson of the maker of Dr. Holmes’ one-horse shay, and, no part being weaker than any other, shivered itself to dust in an instant. (Given the frequency with which I buy suits it may have been a century old, or may have felt that a few years with me were equivalent to a hundred elsewhere. It would not be the first, alas, to feel so). If that is what happened, I am fortunate that this didn’t occur while I was arguing a case, as I would have been subjected to numerous bad jokes about having gone to court and lost my suit.

          Another possibility is that it was inspired by Gogol’s story about a nose which struck off for itself (my suits, though ill-natured are well-read) and has gone into the world to seek its fortune. The phrase “oh, he’s an empty suit” may have more meaning than you think. I intend to look very closely at pictures of political gatherings from now on.

          Or – a darksome thing to contemplate! – my animus against suits may have got the best of me. In a fit of ugly passion I may have somnambulistically risen from my bed and slashed the unwary grey suit to ribbons, and then eaten the remains. (There’s a bottle of chocolate sauce in the refrigerator which is suspiciously low). Or, a gigantic moth may have swallowed it whole (the suit, not the chocolate, which giant moths abhor).

          Anyway, wherever it has gone, it is gone beyond hope of recovery. I really must buy a new one, and soon. Next week … month … year …

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