Better Life

Hu(man) Error: Sharp As A Tack

Sharp As A Tack
A night out with the boys turns our hero’s sartorial misstep into a matrimonial faux pas.

My best friend got married in our rural Indiana hometown last May. He asked me, along with our three best friends, to be his groomsmen. We had all scattered across the country by then, and we were looking forward to reuniting as much as celebrating his marriage.

For context, the groom-to-be sweated every detail of his big day. He spent hours scouting locations, picking the perfect flowers, and finalizing the icing on the cake. But the one thing he made the biggest deal about were the suits he had rented for us.

“Really beautiful suits I picked for you guys,” he kept reminding us in the days leading up to the wedding.

“French, I think.”

They were beautiful suits, and since I didn’t know any better, I wore mine to the rehearsal dinner. No one else did, of course, and after the meal ended, everyone kept telling me to go home and change, lest I somehow ruin my suit that evening. If I had known what the night had in store, I would have taken their advice.

The night went on simply enough: a familiar dive, hunched over the bar, drinking and telling stories. Things escalated though when someone jokingly suggested that we go and T.P. the hell out of someone’s house. It was the kind of mischief we got up to when we didn’t have anything better to do in High School. Our crew was notorious back then for mercilessly blanketing the yards of school faculty, and we were professionals if there ever were any for that sort of thing. Well, next thing I know, I was inconspicuously buying 30-some rolls from the 24-hour grocery store in my French designer suit.

As we arrived at the scene of our hijinks, I had the presence of mind to take off my suit jacket. I tossed it aside, on the roof of the car, and grabbed 6 or 7 rolls of toilet paper to kick off the festivities. As I reared back to throw the first roll, BAM!, a porch light flicked on and suddenly I’m running from the business end of the dog that came tearing out of the front door.

Naturally, the dog chose to chase me first, so I bolted in the other direction. Between me and the car was the chain-link fence, and my only hope was to leap it. As I scrambled and hurled myself over the sucker, I heard the sound of tearing fabric. “Keep going,” I told myself. I leapt into back of the car, slamming the door behind me, and we tore off down the road. Everyone was in tears from some combination of adrenaline and laughter.

My own hysteria abruptly ended when I looked down to find my slacks torn from the ankle to the knee. I started looking for my suit jacket. Then, I remembered: I left it on the roof of the car. Dog food.

I showed up to the ceremony in a pair of khaki Docker’s and an old sport coat. I might as well have been wearing a sign around my neck that said, “I’m irresponsible.” Meanwhile, everyone else looked sharp as a tack, impeccably matching from head to toe.

I should have done a lot of things differently the night of the rehearsal dinner. I did, however, learn something incredibly valuable: if jumping a chain-link fence is even a possibility (which it always is), I recommend changing into something a bit more comfortable before you head out. Sweatpants, perhaps.