Less Than Delicate Attire

One of the life long pet peeves I’ve carried in my scarred psyche right in the back corner next to Napoleon Complex has been the perpetual inability of others to pronounce and or spell my last name correctly.


TharpIt ‘effin drives me nuts.


It’s mono-syllabic.


It rhymes with “harp”.


Even still, my time on God’s Green Earth has subjected me to people pronouncing the ‘a’ as if it were an ‘o’, slamming an ‘e’ on the back of it, or moving the ‘r’ ahead in line.


When my father was born, circumstances outside of his immediate control and the control of his parents resulted in his birth certificate listing his last name as “Thorpe”.  This little boo-boo wasn’t identified until Dad was inducted into the U.S. Army sometime in the 60’s.  For a short time after joining the service, his official name where Uncle Sam was concerned was Thorpe.  His shirts reflected the name, and so did all of the accompanying paperwork.  Dad had to endure all types of shenanigans to get his name corrected on his birth certificate, and subsequently get the correction dispatched to the U.S. Army.


Fortunately, I’ve never had to endure that level of pain and anguish over ensuring my name was spelled and pronounced correctly.  Even still, I get irritated when an individual who proudly uses English as their first and primary language can’t access basic lessons from Sesame Street to sound it out.


So I told you that story to tell you this one.


This last spring has been a pretty busy one for Juniorette.  Her school has been involved in an extended study of all of the countries which speak Spanish.  As such, all the kids were assigned to small groups and each assigned a country.  Each group had to research the country’s culture, make some of their food, create maps, recreate various activities, and generally present a living Wiki page for a Spanish festival which was held at the school at the end of the process.


Juniorette was assigned to the Honduras.  One of the projects she took on involved building a dummy, which as I understand it, get’s attached to fireworks and is subsequently blowed up like the Mega Lo-Mart.


GeraldIn the process of assembling the dummy she would name Gerald, Juniorette requested permission from your favorite blogger on the worldwide web to visit the recesses of his closet looking for old, long sleeve shirts.  Along with the shirt which Gerald would eventually sport in a pre-combustive state, she also found one of Dad’s shirts from when we was in the Army.


Juniorette went nuts.


She had been wanting to acquire and military style shirt to wear on a regular basis.  To find one which had her name on it was the queso on the chips.


Flash forward to a discussion taking place in my presence the other day between Juniorette and Wifey.  “I’ve put Grandpa’s Army shirt in the basket with my other delicates.  I’m just not sure how to run the delicate cycle on the washer.”


“Excuse me?”  I said.


“I need to wash Grandpa’s shirt, but I’ve never used the delicate cycle on the washer.”


“Uuuuuuuummmmmmm, why?”


“Mom usually runs the delicate loads.”


“Let me clarify,” donning a sarcastic tone that I’m known for. “Why do you want to wash it in the delicate cycle?”


“Because it’s pretty old.”  Juniorette responded, a little confused.


Army shirt“Tell you what, Puddin’.  Grandpa wore that shirt and others like it when he was stationed in Korea in the 60’s.  That’s pretty much 50 years ago.  I imagine it was made with the harshest of environments in mind.  Keep in mind that some of those environments involved armed conflict.   If you notice, it’s still in pretty good shape.  The elbows aren’t worn out.  There’s limited fraying, and that’s where the various patches are sewn on.  It’s not faded.  It’s been sitting on a hanger in my closet for years, and shirts right next to it which are considerably younger look worse for the wear.  I would expect that if Grandpa ever used a local laundering service to take care of his clothes while stationed in Korea, that shirt and its mates were beat against a rock by an aged Korean woman in the most stereotypical of fashions.


If you’re going to run that thing through the washer, run it with the dirtiest of your britches and other apparel on the most aggressive setting you can find.  In the end, know deep down in your soul that Grandpa’s shirt will outlast anything else in that tub.”


A few years ago, Juniorette found a storage bin filled with all of the different shirts I bought at concerts I attended when I was her age.  She took to wearing them at that time, even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of her doing so.


I just hope she’s running those through the delicate cycle, but something tells me she’s not.

Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

Type something witty and eye catching right here: