11:40:40 pm on
Wednesday 16 Aug 2017

A Gift with Teeth
AJ Robinson

Giving a man a necktie is a routine gift. I remember seeing one episode, of “The Flintstones,” where Fred talks about his wedding anniversary. He says that every year it’s the same old thing: Wilma gets him a tie, he forgets, he runs out to get her flowers and she ends up mad at him.

If you figure ties are good enough for a prehistoric family, they must be typical for us modern folk. Now, as a young boy, I wanted a tie about as much as I wanted clothes for Christmas, which was a virtual no, no. Except this one time.

My mom and I were clothes shopping. It was routine for me, once I hit a certain age. I think I was about ten.

I did a lot of growing Just as we were leaving a nice little shop in the Burlington, Massachusetts, Mall, we saw a glass case with some ties in it. Normally, I wouldn’t have given it a second look, but these ties were different.


They were Jaws ties.

Actually, to be fair, they were merely ties with a shark on each one. As the book and movie “Jaws” were quite popular, at the time, it was clear the tie manufacturer was trying to capitalize on that theme by producing that item. I took one look at it and was enthralled.

I just had to try as Jaws tie on. We went back to the counter, asked the sale’s associate and she unlocked the display. The tie was quite a nice one. I had learned how to tie my own tie a short time earlier, so I was able to put it on.

Granted, I didn’t have a collared shirt, I just tied it around my neck. I was still able to see how it would look. My mom approved, even though she felt it was an inappropriate tie. You see, she could tell I really loved the tie and a little boy wanting to wear something so fancy was quite the breakthrough.

Our next special occasion, whatever it might have been, I wanted to wear the tie. That made my mom smile. For the first time in my life, I was not going to fight her on the issue of choking myself to death. Oh, excuse me, I meant to say, putting my tie on. She got my shirt on me, buttoned it up and helped me get the tie around the collar.

Then it was my turn to put forth some effort into the dressing process. The first time around didn’t go so well. I ended up with the tie so super long that it reached to far below my waist.

My second attempt, at putting on my tie, was no better, I merely went too far the other way and now it was the second strand that wasn’t the right length. The main part of the tie was so short the head of the shark looked buried in my neck.

Long about my fourth attempt, I finally got the tie in a decent state. Then my mother helped me get my dress coat on.

The final effect was awesome. With my coat on and the tie at the proper length, it literally looked as if the shark was emerging from my coat. I took one look in the mirror and was in love. As far as I was concerned, I never wanted to wear any other tie. We headed off for our important event and I never once was tempted to remove or even loosen the tie.

I still have that tie hanging in my closet on my tie hanger. I don’t wear it, as I now know it’s inappropriate, especially for a grown man to wear, but I can’t part with it. Of all the clothing items my mother bought me over the years, it’s the Jaws tie is the one I love the most and, thus, I must keep it. It isn’t often a boy can say that about something like that.

 

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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