Talk About Change

Let’s talk about change. I’ve had a couple of brand-new tie bars (gifts from my wife) in my dresser drawer for a couple of months now. I’d forgotten them until last night. I used to wear a tie bar many years ago. I’m discovering that I probably wore it wrong, according to fashion experts who know a lot about these things.

I never knew you were supposed to wear a tie bar between the 3rd and 4th button of your shirt (counting from the neck). I guess I always wore it too low. It was always coming loose from the shirt, and that’s why I quit wearing it for years. It’s long gone. I think I probably just threw it away, or maybe it got lost in one of our many moves. And I never knew that the part of the shirt you attach the tie bar to is called a “placket.”

There are different kinds of tie bars. Most of them are made with what resembles an alligator clip. I guess you’re supposed to call that a slide clasp. Another kind of bar is difficult to manage without wrinkling your tie. It’s an awful lot like a cotter pin, but you’re supposed to call it a pinch clasp—I think.  I have one of each. Pictures don’t always seem to match up with the names.

Look close to see the tie bar; it’s there. It’s just not in the right spot according to GQ.

I also used to wear bow ties. You don’t need a tie bar for those. They were very colorful. They’re long gone.

I also used to wear the old-style suspenders and even had buttons on the inside of my trousers to secure them. They’re long gone, maybe because I felt insecure without a belt. That was back before I got a paunch—which is now starting to shrink, probably because I’m exercising daily.

And speaking of daily exercise, my wife got me a pair of 5-pound dumbbells. She says pink was the only color left. Anyway, I began using them this evening. I’m not sure, but I may need some liniment.

I used to wear a heavy pair of wingtip Oxford brogues. Believe it or not I would tramp all over the hospital in those shoes. I still thought they looked sharp, but they also looked dated—kind of like me. I used to keep the old-fashioned cedar shoe trees in them, just to keep the creases out of the instep.  They’re long gone. Now I wear lighter shoes. When I exercise, I wear Velcro tennis shoes.

My wife also got me an autographed copy of  Dave Barry’s new book, Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog. I’ve always been partial to his sophisticated humor—classic booger joke style.

However, I think Barry’s new book is more about how he’s changing as he ages. I haven’t had chance to read it yet except just enough from the jacket to suspect that the booger joke style will be there, but there’ll be something beyond that. He’s 70 years old and likely reflecting—about the mechanism of action of booger jokes. I used to have nearly all of his books, but they’re long gone. Just like the tie bar, I lost most of them in the many moves we’ve made.

The point is I’m changing in a lot of little ways. The big change coming up is, of course, retirement. I’m changing from a physician to a retiring physician—a retiring psychiatrist. Not all of the changes are to my liking, either about myself or my path.

“A flower falls even though we love it; and a weed grows even though we do not love it.”


Change is not always comfortable. I have not stayed the same across the decades. Some changes have been painful. Others have been so much fun that I wouldn’t mind reliving them. They’re all long gone. We’ll just have to make new ones.

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