Dressed to Kill

My wife is psychic. She can always tell when I've dressed my son. All she has to do is look at the lad in his green dress shirt, blue swimming trunks, red-and-white gym socks and black patent-leather shoes, and somehow, she just knows that I coordinated his outfit.

It's incredible. I keep expecting to open the silverware drawer and find that she's been practicing her Uri Geller routine on our spoons.

Then again, maybe I'm giving her sixth sense too much credit. After all, it wasn't until after a year of dating and about fifteen seconds of marriage that she realized I'm a full-time slob with absolutely no sense of style.

How this fact could have gone unnoticed by her for so long is a mystery worthy of Agatha Christie. Even in our wedding pictures my shirt is hanging halfway out of my trousers. (This is a problem that's always plagued me. For a while I stopped tucking in my shirttails--and, like magic, they'd work themselves halfway into my trousers.)

It's not that I haven't tried to improve in this area. Years ago a girlfriend (who had noticed my fashion unconsciousness immediately) informed me that one never mixes polka dots and stripes. I never did that again. Had she also told me that one can't mix polka dots with paisleys, plaids or Hawaiian prints, the relationship might have lasted longer than it did. In time, she might have even agreed to be seen in public with me.

Another of my failings is that I can never find anything in my house. You can write down specific instructions, draw a map complete with directional arrows, focus a klieg light directly on the item in question, and I won't find it.

My wife knows this about me. Yet she continues to leave me notes like, "Matthew's clothes are on top of his dresser," assuming 1) I'm going to find the note, 2) I'm going to find the clothes, and 3) I'm going to find Matthew.

When I do find the note, I will not find the clothes. Or if I find the clothes, I won't find the note. And if I don't find the note, how do I know the clothes on his dresser (wherever that is) are the ones he's supposed to wear? Maybe they're dirty. I don't want to dress my kid in dirty clothes. I'd rather he looked like me.

So traditionally I will rummage through the dryer, looking for clean clothes and cursing my wife for not leaving me a note where I could find it (taped to my forehead, for example) and for not setting aside any clean clothes where I could find them (taped to my forehead, for example).

To my credit, I always find something for the boy to wear. And one time I even had him perfectly color-coordinated from neck to toe. I was so proud. He spent the whole day in those duds, cruising the mall with Dad, grabbing a Happy Meal at McDonalds, playing outside with his friends.

And then Mom came home and asked why in the world our son was in the front yard wearing his pajamas.

I honestly don't think I deserve all the blame for that incident. Even though my son is only four years old, he's pretty bright. He could have asked why I was ordering him out of one pair of pajamas and into another.

Or my wife could simply hide all my son's pajamas someplace where I'd never find them (like the dresser drawer that's labeled "Matthew's pajamas"). There are countless possible solutions. But ohhhhh nooooo. My wife just leaves me notes.

That's what she says, anyway. She could be lying. I've never actually found one.

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Michael Burkett

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