Friday, December 18, 2015

Empty Suits

Empty suits - a great tax write-off, hanging in a closet.

Staring at a closet full of my empty suits the other day  - something I've done occasionally since July - I realized that here was something else that The Wife would've had to deal with had things gone the other way Thanksgiving Day 2015. Had I died, I think even three weeks later the closet would still remain as it is now, untouched. At some point - soon, probably - The Wife would have had the unenviable task of going through this collection of suits, shirts and ties and donating most if not all of it to charity. Because of the unknown effects that the change in our income these last five months might have on our taxes, my spirit - if allowed - would have been whispering in her ear, "Do it before December 31st! You can claim it on our taxes!"

Staring at those suits, though, is like staring at my life - at least my professional life. Certainly over 20+ years many suits have come and gone; and the current batch are mostly of recent vintage. But they represent, to me, my professional life which may or may not be over. Obviously, had things gone the other way on Thanksgiving, there'd be no mystery as to the finality of that professional career.  But staring at the suits the other day led me to thinking about what happened in July as well as what happened in November. The events are not unrelated, after all. One was a symbolic ending, one was nearly a real one.

And from July through now, those suits have hung there just as they did the morning of what might be the last day [unbeknownst to me] of my professional career. Just as they would be hanging there today if Thanksgiving had been my last day permanently. Well, had I passed they might still be there, but not for long, obviously. Goodwill would've been their future home. So, they're probably glad I didn't shuffle off that mortal coil.  I realized, too, that the wardrobe had a front-row seat to the drama on Thanksgiving. It was within a few feet of that closet that everything [including me] went down.

There's something sad about that closet - and not just that I've gained 15 pounds since July, making about 1/2 of those suits obsolete until I become less obese. No, it's that - just as if I'd died - they hang there untouched, unworn, unused day after day. It took me 20+ years to build up a wardrobe and a career. It ended in less than 10 seconds. Yet, the wardrobe remains. Without the career, though, the wardrobe is just the closet of some middle-aged, portly-yet-diminutive guy with conservative tastes in ties.

At this point, because of the weight, I dare not try on any of the clothes. If I can secure an interview down the line, I'll figure something out. In the meantime, I'll let the clothes hang there and mock me, "Remember us? You used to be needed somewhere at 8:30 am on a Tuesday. Remember when others looked at you as an authority figure? No, we don't either"

It's a helluva thing to be mocked by your wardrobe. Still, it's better to be here to accept the humiliation than hearing it posthumously.


  1. I have seen many empty suits during my lifetime. Some were teachers, some are former friends, and some are currently running for President. In your case, however, the empty suit metaphor doesn't apply and never has applied. Toss on a pair of jeans, close the closet door, forget the suits and keep writing! I think maybe one answer is on the blank pages that are waiting for your words to fill them.