by Jordy Greenblatt
I was 14 years old when I flew on an airplane for the first time and my mother went out and bought me a suit for the trip. In those days, they wouldn’t let you on a plane without a suit. It was double breasted because only pimps and dope peddlers wore single breasted suits. And a woman wearing anything cheaper than her wedding dress was rightfully assumed to be a two bit harlot. I also got a cane and top hat for the flight because we couldn’t afford a proper monocle and golden pocket watch. Hell, times were tough but we managed to conduct ourselves with dignity anyway. Nowadays you get on a plane and the men all have their toes exposed and their Hawaiian shirts and the women have the midriff and the crotchless womanpanties.
And when was the last time you saw someone dressed appropriately to go to the pictures? People go in wearing their jeans and their t-shirts and their hacky-sacks and their wrist bongs. Not like the old days, no sir. If someone walked into a theater today wearing a tuxedo, people would assume he was going to the goddamn opera. And don’t even get me started on the garbage people wear to the opera.
It’s an epidemic that’s hit everyone in our society from the spiffiest big cheese to the least spiffy little cheese. Even our gangsters dress like a bunch of fish-smellin’ hobos! When I was a boy I’d go every day to deposit my eight cent wage from my after school job as a taste tester for the lead paint factory even though there was a five cent charge for the deposit and only Jews collected interest in those days. Why? Just to get a sliver of a chance to witness the spectacle of a robbery. One time in ‘aught four or some crazy old year like that I got the privilege to be there first hand.
My, did those robbers came in dressed to the nines! Each of the rascals had a different colored seer sucker suit with a matching pocket squares. And every man of them carried an extra square matching the boss’ suit because in those days people had heard of a little thing called loyalty and a related little thing called respect. Each tommy gun was painstakingly monogrammed in 24 karat gold lettering with the initials of the owner, his mother, his wife, his children, and his mistress if applicable.
Nowadays the thieves’ fedoras aren’t even made of felt; they’re cotton and elastic and they cover the whole face like they’re going skiing after. Hell I’d hide my face too if I had planned such a tacky robbery.
I know how young people feel about us old timers. They just roll their eyes every time we complain about them being lazy and having no idea how to deal with prairie measles or orphanhood. So I know it’s a long shot, but if I can convince just one youngster to avoid being seen in public in a shirt costing less than his parents’ house, then I can die a marginally less embittered man.