Thursday, October 14, 2010

Timely Guest Column: Pattern, Baseball, and the Presumption of Innocence

My dad lives and practices law in Dallas, Texas and is no mean clotheshorse himself.  (Some things--including, as you will see, writing style--are obviously hereditary.)  He provides the following dispatch from the American League playoffs and, in so doing, seamlessly weaves contrast and constitutional law while reminding us that Dallas and D.C. are not so far apart.


The Washington Senators—lately the Texas Rangers—won game 5 in an American League playoff series a few nights ago.  Nolan Ryan wept.  All the Rangers have to do now is beat the Yankees several times, and the nee Senators will be, for the first time ever, in the World Series of North America. 
It was an important game, as baseball goes, but not a very exciting one.  Inspired by the spectacle, however, my mind went to teamwork.  Then, of course, to shirts and ties.
I am asked, stripes with checks, solids with solids, foulards with paisley?  Which tie befits which outfit with which shirt?  This is among the first important decisions we make each day. I answer thusly: teamwork.
Does the tie complement the shirt?  Does the shirt provide a proper context for the tie?  Do they work together, blending to a whole greater than their parts?  Conversely, is there a tension, an inappropriate one, one that might kill a double play?
Nowhere in this test is there anything about stripes and checks.  Stripes versus checks is not the point.  Try this.  Assume, as I do, that every shirt-tie possibility in your closet is innocent until proven guilty.  You’ll be surprised at what you learn.  Of course this assumption is wrong most of the time.  It’s still worth making.
Do the colors, the textures, the patterns or the plains combine to enhance what each, the shirt and the tie, has to offer?  Or do they distract, destruct, or despoil a fine sport coat?  Does each shine in its setting, or should it take one for the team, and spend the day in the closet?

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