PostHeaderIcon Tieless Anniversary

I was just ruminating over how March 9th has always been a special day in my life for the past 38 years. It is the anniversary of the very last time I ever wore a necktie, on 3/9/73. It is an easy date to remember for me, as it was the last day that I worked for someone else and became an entrepreneur.

Perhaps it was my redneck roots; but I always detested neckties. I reckoned they were about the silliest article of apparel ever foisted on civilized man. My last couple of years as an electronic engineer required to wear one on the job, were particularly frustrating. I was working for the System Development Corporation, a small subsidiary of the Rand (Think Tank) Corporation in a building without air-conditioning in Silicon Valley.

It drove me nuts that men were so discriminated against by management. No matter how muggy it got in the summer, we had to keep our ties on. Yet, so-called “hot pants” and tube tops were in vogue for women at the time, so the ladies could come to work in little more than beach wear. I didn’t mind the eye candy; but our relative comfort levels seemed terribly unfair. I usually worked late on my projects; but at 5:00 PM my tie came off. I simply refused to wear one on my own time, and I was fairly vocal about my disgust over them.

When I resigned to start my first business, they had a going-away luncheon for me. After the boss stood to thank me for all my great work and wish me well in my future, it was my turn to speak. I stood and as I delivered my farewell address, I slowly started undoing my tie and unbuttoning my shirt. I timed it so that I ended with pulling off the tie and asking who wanted it, because I would not have the slightest use for it in my future.

I tossed it to a friend and have never put one on since. Yes, I have been turned away at the occasional pub or restaurant in places like Boston, MA; Nairobi, Kenya; and Salisbury, Rhodesia; but I survived their snooty rejection nicely, thank you. On the other hand, I have been spared attendance at numerous funerals, weddings, and other black tie affairs I had no desire to participate in anyway. 🙂

Interestingly, when I moved to Hawaii in ’84, I found a whole culture that agreed with me. Anyone wearing a necktie in Honolulu is immediately suspect. They are either a lawyer, politician, or salesman from the Mainland. Even the bankers wear aloha shirts there, and it was my kind of place. I had great fun with the traveling salesmen who called on me in my Marine Electronics business. I wouldn’t allow them in my office unless they first removed their tie. It was surprising how many of them thought I must be kidding, and how much it put them off their game when I insisted.

So, I have been a contumacious curmudgeon for a very long time; but life can be fun when one gets to live by one’s own rules. 🙂 ◄Dave►

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