Today I received a new catalog. You know the one, or ten, or twenty you get because you once bought a shirt from an affiliated company. And just in case I may have moved, the address included the all-encompassing “Current Resident.” Normally such (im)personal correspondence goes directly into the round file. But today’s cover caught my eye, not because of the cover photo but rather the name of the catalog – “True Measure of a Man”.
I was intrigued.
My curiosity prompted a peek inside. What exactly does the True Measure of a Man look like? Apparently, it involves an $88 t-shirt, among other “Original, Well-Crafted Menswear for the Adventurous Spirit.” And if I still balked at such a price and hesitated to grab my credit card for an online order, the inside cover professed that “At True Measure, we design gear for guys to relax and re-create themselves and the architecture of escape is our guide.”
The “architecture of escape”? I beg to differ.
My mind raced back a few years and recalled the times I saw the true measure of a man.
- I recall when in 1988 we bought our house in Conyers. It was a new home and a couple days AFTER the closing, I arrived home to discover the builder, Bud Austin, on my roof cleaning out the gutters. When I asked him what he was doing, he simply replied: “No one should move into a home I built with leaves in the gutters.”
- Or the time in 2004 when builder Rock Dunlap renovated my downstairs area into an apartment for my parents to live. Near the end of the project, Rock was diagnosed with breast cancer. The night BEFORE his surgery, Rock insisted on working until 11pm to finish all he could on the job. And then recommended other contractors who could finish his work.
- Or the time a man in front of me at my credit union cashed a $1,000 check. After the cashier counted out ten 100 dollar bills, he politely asked her to count them again. Somewhat indignant, the cashier repeated her count with a slightly higher and more irritated tone. That is until she realized she had counted eleven bills. It only took seconds to move from indignation to shock to gratitude. I wasn’t sure if she was more shocked at her mistake or that she happened to commit it while serving an honest man.
So, with all respect to the True Measure catalog, I suggest the true measure of a man is not seen in what he wears but rather in what he does, especially in times of crisis, or when no one is looking, or even when it might cost him.
It’s not about wearing what is right, but in doing what is right that the truest measure of a man (or woman) is found. And that’s a catalog I’d love to read.