Who Really Knows?

841. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

My inner anthropologist rubbed his eyes and sat up as I walked across the city this morning. For some reason he took an interest in the phrases that people wear on their clothing or that adorn their bags. The phrase that woke him was, “I eat cake for breakfast.” It was stenciled prominently across a woman’s shoulder bag. He looked around his study for a pencil because he wanted to write the phrase in his notebook. He asked, “Does eating cake for breakfast signify that you are breaker of rules?” I didn’t respond so he continued, “Or does the fact that you have to announce it imply that you are a ruler follower and want to be seen as a breaker of rules?” She was clearly on her way to work in an office tower (we watched her enter the building) so I told him it was an excellent question but remained noncommittal. Who really knows?

He huffed at me but then immediately spied a man in a black shirt with the phrase “Turn That Sh*t Up!” emblazoned in bold green letters. The message was aggressive but the man was meek. He wore a matching hat and pressed shorts. He also wore white socks with black sandals – it is a common sight in Seattle in the winter but frowned upon in the summer. He was self conscious of his clothes. My inner anthropologist was thrilled with this find. It was a fashion contradiction, a betrayal of message and messenger. “Look at that!” chirped my inner anthropologist! Such a bold message scrawled on a less than bold messenger! Perhaps it is aspirational statement!” he posited as he scribbled in his notebook. “Why do people wear specific phrases on their clothes?” he asked. “Identity,” I offered, knowing that could mean anything. Each of us chooses our hairstyle, we pick our clothes, and design how we want to be seen. Clothes in any form and combination are a statement. We are essentially saying, “This is who I am.” Or more specifically, “This is who I want to be.”

“Yes, yes, I know all of that,” my inner anthropologist sneered in frustration. “Why the phrases?” Just then a man walked by with messages tattooed on his arms. “Better and better!” my inner anthropologist exclaimed. “Follow him!” he commanded. “See what message he’s tattooed on his body!” There was a symbol, a cross, covered by a circle-slash, and the words “anti-Christ” adjacent to the symbol. “Oh my!” my inner anthropologist said, setting down his pencil, “Well we know what he’s against. I wonder what he’s for?” I remained quiet. Who really knows?

He removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “Why do people work so hard to tell the world how they want to be seen?” I thought of Quinn. Many years ago he told me that if someone told me that they were an expert, it was a sure sign that they weren’t. He said, “Someone who really knows what they are doing has no need to tell you. They don’t need you to know.” My inner anthropologist returned to his couch and lay down saying, “I wonder what phrase I would choose for my t-shirt if I wanted to claim an identity?” I remained quiet. Who really knows?

One Response

  1. ‘Who Really Knows’…Great t-shirt logo 🙂

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