Every once in a while, Modern Philosophers, I think it helps to time travel back to my childhood so you better understand how a lonely, nerdy kid with an overactive imagination grew up to be me.
Today, we journey back to when I believed that Monsters loved Hawaiian shirts, and would never harm anyone who wore or owned one.
I’m not sure how I ever got this idea, but much like everything else during my childhood, once my brain got a hold of something, it hung on to it and never let go.
Maybe I saw a cartoon of a Monster in a Hawaiian shirt. Perhaps I had a dream about it. Most likely, however, is that the Monster Under My Bed crawled out one night and whispered it into my ear while I was asleep.
Because of this weird belief of Monsters’ fashion preferences, I always made sure there was at least one Hawaiian shirt in my closet.
It probably frustrated the hell out of my frugal stepmother that I insisted on having such an item in my wardrobe, but something tells me I had no trouble convincing my Dad of the need. He had a very unique fashion sense (to put it politely) and I’m guessing that Hawaiian shirts were right up his alley.
I didn’t wear Hawaiian shirts often. I got picked on, teased, and bullied enough, so I didn’t need to add “flamboyant casual wear” to the list of reasons why the other kids could make my life miserable.
Just knowing the shirt was in my closet was all I needed to be sure that the Monsters would not come after me.
After all, Brooklyn was a tough enough place as it was. The last thing I needed was to add Monsters to the ever growing list of things that caused me anxiety.
Every once in a while I would wear a Hawaiian shirt in public, but that was more for the Monsters’ sake than my own. I knew the Monster Under My Bed and the Monster In My Closet were aware of the fact that I was a fan of Hawaiian shirts, but I wasn’t sure if they had a way of communicating that to the other Monsters in the neighborhood.
Remember, this was before the days of the internet and smart phones. For all I knew, Monsters only chatted at monthly meetings, or when they got together for holidays.
By wearing my bright, ugly Hawaiian shirts in public, I made sure word got out that I was “a friend of the Monsters”.
Even in my adult life, long after I outgrew my fear of Monsters, I’ve made sure to keep a Hawaiian shirt or two handy.
There are actual occasions where such a shirt is necessary. What office hasn’t had a Hawaiian Party or Ugly Shirt Contest?
And I might end up going to Hawaii someday, so I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.
Truth be told, even though I’ve outgrown Monsters, I’m the type of person who would much rather be safe than sorry. I mean, I don’t think Monsters are real, but in case they are, what would it hurt to have the universal symbol of being a friend of Monsters handy?
Tell me some wild fantasy or crazy idea from your childhood that you absolutely believed to be true.