Mistaken Identity?

Yesterday I was in the grocery store with my lovely wife buying whatever she buys when we go there.  Usually food for our two boys who, much like government, consume as much as is provided, and squawk for more.  It was a chilly day and I dressed appropriately. 



I was wearing my hat, which has a patch from the Pyrotechnics guild international on the side, a pair of baggy pocket pants, a leather belt with a fish belt buckle, hiking boots, and a OD wool sweater. I bought the sweater from the surplus store (a Dutch commando sweater which I have a symbol from Star Trek (Mirror universe) sewed to the shoulder, all in all normal clothing for me.


We got in line to pay for the all the teenager fuel.  While in line the bagger kept staring at me. He was probably fifteen years old and real eager to engage in conversation.  I just knew he had a question, and I was sure what the question was.

So I said, “Plastic will be just fine”

That shut him up for a few moments, but he kept looking at me.

Then he finally asked, “What do you do?” 


I was taken aback by this question.  I would like to answer honestly, but there are so many choices.  I could answer with a sarcastic response, or a truthful one that didn’t mean anything.  So, while I was formulating some sort of answer that may satisfy his curiosity, he tried again.

“Are you a Park Ranger or something?” 

I guess he was trying to read the patches. 

“No, I program controls at a Community College”

“Oh” was all he said.

“I guess you can never tell about some people.”

He said “Do you want help out with the bags?” 

My lovely wife replied  “No, that’s the only reason I bring him along”


It got me to thinking, why do I wear what I wear?  Do I have some secret longing to be a Park Ranger?  Or is my own sense of style so out of touch with my self-image that am basically clueless?  Are there a lot of people as disconnected as I am?




6 thoughts on “Mistaken Identity?

  1. With the sword symbol, I would have thought you were some sort of intergalactic bounty hunter, or possibly a space emperor. Although I suppose a space emperor wouldn’t have to shop for his own groceries.

  2. planetross says:

    Your “terranempire” patch would make me curious as well. If I remember correctly, you are 6’7″ which would makes you a bit Klingon..ish at least.

    Have I missed a Star Trek movie? I hope I haven’t.

  3. S. Le says:

    All I know is when I look in the mirror I do not see the person that is in my head. Sort of like in the Matrix. We all have a self image and it is often not how others see us. I say, wear what you want! It’s more fun that way! Maybe Dennis (James) is right. The clerk thought you were a Space Emperor and wondered why your were schlepping groceries!

  4. Many, many years ago, at the height of the “Nirvana” and “Blind Melon” age, I glanced down at what I was wearing and was taken completely off guard. I was in what I had worn for years and had become my informal uniform. Faded T-shirt with snarky cartoon on it, ripped jeans, old sneakers and an open flannel shirt. Much to my horror, I discovered I was in fashion! I was GRUNGE! How the hell did that happen?!?

    Changes would have to be made. I’m older now and the jeans are unripped, the t-shirt is newer and the flannel is buttoned and tucked in… most of the time. The sneakers are still old, though.


  5. Spudgun says:

    I wouldnt worry about it to much PF, Rangers usually have sharply ironed creases and a funny smell… You have neither.

    Do you remember when we were mistaken for “Punk rockers” at that bar a few years back? Ahhh human perception is a bitch some times!

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