Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Promise Made, A Promise Kept

For a number of years I have subscribed to what I refer to as the "Phil Collins Rule" with regard to how I dress for non-court appearances, such as depositions. I sometimes refer to my rule of thumb as, "No Judge, No Jacket". Experience has taught me that the willingness of a witness to embellish, exaggerate or flatly lie while under oath at a deposition has little to do with my ensemble. I have a closet full of quite fetching ties. I am committed to extending their lives for as long as I can. I am a softie for silk worms. I shall not apologize for it.

A number of Decembers ago when Rob was still a boy and I had far less snow in my beard and on my head than I now do, the two of us were in the Stern's Department Store at the Middlesex Mall doing a bit of Christmas shopping. As we stood in line at the register waiting our turn to pay, his eyes fell upon a rack of ties strategically placed immediately adjacent to it. At that time, a tie was part of my day-to-day work uniform so when he beseeched me to purchase one it was not as if I could use the excuse of, "But when will I ever wear have a chance to wear it?"

He seemed to sense my reluctance to make the purchase - in spite of my daily tie consumption. Thus, even after I relented and agreed to purchase the one that he picked out, he made me promise that I would wear it. And I did. I promised him that it would be the tie I wore for my final pre-Christmas appearance that year and every year thereafter

Rob has not been a boy for quite some time. He is a man in his mid-twenties who has lived two time zones away for the past three years, building a career and a life. His day-to-day is filled with far more important considerations than my neckwear. At this point in his life, given all that he has to think about, I would wager that his recollection of my purchase and my promise is far less clear than mine.

Presuming I am correct does not vitiate my responsibility to honor my promise. Yesterday afternoon I made my final "Pre-Christmas appearance" for 2011. I was in the Monmouth County Court House in Freehold appearing before Judge Kapalko on a Settlement Conference. I do not know His Honor especially well, having only appeared before him on a handful of occasions over the years, so I know not what he thought - if he thought anything at all - about my tie.

Whether he did candidly matters not. It matters - to me at least - that sometimes a tie is more than simply neckwear. It is what its name suggests, which is something that holds one to another.

A tie that binds.


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