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I say that “It’s good to be me” without even a hint of irony.

This is interesting to me. I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard the phrase used in English without an ironic intention.

Take clothing as one small illustration of the goodness of my life.

Those of you who’ve known me for many years would never confuse me with a stylish dresser, although I will modestly admit to establishing a minor trend or two–those of you cruising about the union’s HQ offices in Washington DC without a necktie can acknowledge that fact with a small tip of your fedora in the direction of the Caribbean. It’s close enough.)

After leaving academia in the late 70’s and rejoining the workforce my clothing, if anything, got even more casual. Funky, even.

As a business agent in Seattle I settled on a uniform: white button-down shirt, blue jeans, and one of 3 pairs of matching cowboy boots. More formal or “official” functions brought out the blue blazer (no brass buttons.) At regional or national events of our union I often set the sartorial floor, the most underdressed guy in the room. In the Painters Union there was sometimes pretty stiff competition for that particular floor.

My wardrobe did step up a few levels for our decade in the “other” Washington, DC, but never approached the realm of the thousand-dollar-suit, even if I did slip into pinkie-ring land for a few years–and without irony too. An electrician from Texas told me that in this “other” Washington the cowboy boots would be the last item to go. Denise and I pulled up stakes just as it began to appear that he was correct.

Early retirement brought us to the Dominican Republic unexpectedly soon, but not altogether unprepared. For instance, I had accumulated what seemed at the time like a lifetime supply of talking tee shirts.

Which brings me ineluctably to this morning when, kitchen shears in hand, I went after the sleeves and neck of my tee shirt du jour: “One Strong Voice for Worker’s Rights!” and the realization dawned that I’m pretty casually dressed by Dominican beach standards, too.

And so I hope that the end of 2009 finds you also comfortably dressed and even, as the New York Times said of Betty Paige in her obituary, “..always comfortable in (your) own skin.”

Happy New Year.

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