I always love seeing old men looking dapper in their three piece suits, possibly with a hat (that they never wear inside). Now are the days of hoodies, jeans and flip-flops (all of which I own) coupled with cool impassivity. Something has been lost in this hyper-casual culture, and I think men are working up to it. But I would say we just don’t look ready for the world in our posture of comfort. Many of those old traditions and ways were wise ways to be ready. If we look and act like we just rolled out of bed and are eager to roll back in we aren’t really facing the world, but coasting through it. But instead of focusing on the outward-ness of the suit, I want to talk about what’s on the inside – the inside of the pocket that is.
I wanted to pass on some sweet advice that has helped me more freely live as a man for others by filling my pocket with the right tools. It is small, and some might think trivial, but can add value to daily interactions. This wisdom came from a friend of mine years ago, which he had learned from his grandfather. He said a man at all times should have three things on his person: a knife, a handkerchief and a dollar bill.
- A knife: if you now need to go knife shopping, you are welcome. It is amazing how handy a pocket knife can be – even in the office. You just never know when you need to pull out your knife, open up a box, twist a screw, cut a rope, whittle a spear, etc. A small pocket knife knows no bounds of usefulness. Editor’s Note: Check out this Opinel, a favorite at Those Catholic Men.
- A handkerchief: I use mine daily. From my single days helping out a young lady with tears (or even snot) to now helping my wife, kids or even my own occasional runny nose, it is amazing the uses you find. This handy little piece of cloth prepares a man to answer an opportunity to be chivalrous. Just a few days ago I was outside in my backyard. It had rained a bit overnight and there was still a bit of water at the top of our slide. My 4 year old asked me to wipe it off, “you know, with your towel thing” – meaning my handkerchief. That wasn’t my first rodeo, and the little kid knew daddy was ready.
- A dollar bill: this might need to be updated to a $10 bill these days, but the point is still the same. In a crunch, a man can provide the means to help himself or another with a small bill of cash. Simple as that.
With such good things “on the inside”, I think you can meet the day with more confidence, either in a hoodie or three piece suit, knowing that at any moment you are ready to serve as a man. If we are prepared to engage and improve the world, it is one important step away from the child that just demands help all day long.