The Black Suit

I only own one suit.

It’s black, and it comes out for weddings and funerals. Nothing else.

One garment, and it’s totally appropriate for both the incredibly happy and the terribly sad. That’s a bit weird don’t you think?

I do.

I bought the suit a few years ago when I was asked to be groomsman at a friend’s wedding. It was my first suit since the one I wore to my High School farewell back in 1973. I remember that one too – it was purple, had flared pants and went really well with my 2-inch high Windsor Smith shoes. They were purple too.

That was ’70s cool.

In total I’ve worn my black suit to two weddings, but it’s also been worn to six funerals. Each time I wear it a little voice inside my head reminds me that the tally of good times versus bad is way out of balance.

And today another tick was marked down in the “bad” column.

Today I said farewell to another friend – an older gentleman from the motorcycle racing community who passed away suddenly last week. He was 83 years young.

Recently a friend who attended a funeral with me said I looked like a gangster; that my get-up of black suit, black shirt, black tie, black shoes, black socks and black sunglasses looked a bit sinister.

That’d be fine if I was, as Men At Work used to say, “six-foot four and full of muscles”.

Lots of things have been said about clothing and how it can change your mood or elevate your sense of self. A bloke named Mark Twain once said “Clothes make the man”.

To that I’d add “and sunglasses hide the grief”.


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