As I shook his hand, Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett peered at my throat and exclaimed, “Is that a hickey on your neck?”
Slightly star struck, I laughed nervously and tried to explain myself (heck, it was Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett), admittedly a little hurt—and confused—that he thought I had a hickey.
What I had was an oozing steam-iron burn (I thought I could quickly touch up my collar without taking my jacket off). In retrospect, I suppose it was more appalling than a hickey. And whether or not I were Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett, I’d be curious too if the lady attempting to sell me silk pants looked as if she’d been necking with a lit cigar.
Pleasantries thus exchanged, I proceeded with my silk-pant sales pitch. This proved easier than I expected, because Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett cut me off, saying, “Oh, I know which ones—they’re my favorite pants.”
OK. Disclosing that I once was a pant salesman in the Midwest might seem like something that’d sully a story about having talked to Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett, but hear me out: So what if I sold silk pants? At Tommy Bahama. In Kansas City. What else is a homesick Hawaiian to do?
And you know what? When helping Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett with our wide selection of khaki and light khaki pants, I realized something important. I SOLD PANTS! I also learned that when money is no object and you have nothing left to prove, you can do and buy whatever you want. For Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett, this meant Tommy Bahama silk pants. He already knew that, and I was rendered useless.
Up until my Brett-piphany, I’d really been over-thinking things. With a limited retail arsenal and the weight of kanaka culture on my shoulders, you’d have thought I was trying to outfit a revolution. Because when I was not casually dressing the Kansas City elite, I ensemble-d the Heartland’s newly betrothed.
I took costuming couples’ first matrimonial memories, or selecting the palette of their Waikiki honeymoon, way too seriously. Gushing with unsolicited soapbox history lessons, I took sole responsibility for their introduction to my island culture—even if their destination wedding was in Ft. Lauderdale or Baja.
Could I have been so silly to think myself master of pairing khaki and a camp shirt? Or prodigious in my selection of accent color undershirts? Or how any of that might foster cultural understanding? No, I was not even a real pant salesperson. I was a pant ringer-upper—and one with a life-threatening hickey, at that.
In letting go, I realized that when someone walks into a Tommy Bahama, they’ve come for exactly what they expect to see. Pineapple lamps. Mango candles. Floral shirts with coconut shell buttons. Dessert plates with hula girls printed on them. Khaki pants. I’d do best to concede to it.
You know what happened then? My sales improved. I guess the “Purveyors of Island Lifestyle” have this Hawaii thing figured out better than I thought…
Early this month, loveable Missourian Rush Limbaugh, 59, married his fourth wife, Kathryn Rogers, 33, in a Hawaiian-themed wedding in Palm Beach, Florida. Pleas were made to the media to give the party privacy, and security included “as many 50 private security guards (that’s one per eight guests) and three uniformed Palm Beach Police cops, including two in boats at sea,” reports The Palm Beach Post.
Elton John is said to have been paid $1 million to perform for Limbaugh’s approximately 400 guest—a list which included, “Karl Rove; former presidential hopeful and Law & Order star Fred Thompson… Fox News talker Sean Hannity; former New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani; New England Patriots owner Bob Craft; former Clinton White House weasel James Carville and his wife, GOP analyst Mary Matalin…” and none other than Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett.
Bet you ten bucks he wore Tommy Bahama silk pants.