Write a story in which a character gets carried away with a new fad.
It was the eighties.
The magical decade when I found myself, a nerd on the debate team who spent my lunch hours cramming with sequestered briefs in the school library while all the jocks flirted with girls in the quad. Our music had electric drums and we all rediscovered that money could really be made in America.
My face was set like flint toward Harvard, but my parents insisted that barring a scholarship there would be no way that any McQueen would be headed for the ivy league. I proved them wrong by being accepted to Yale. I was offered a scholarship that covered 80% of all the costs of tuition and my darling old man still hemmed and hawed that it was too much for our family.
It was at Yale that I found myself in a pair of topsiders.
I bought them because everyone was wearing them, and they were at the Salvation Army thrift store in browm, tan and navy blue. The brown and tan were eight bucks but the navy blue was only five, so I bought them.
The next day I rushed accross campus and arrived to my chemistry lab frozen faced, but as I entered, I caught sight of my dashing figure: my hair was windblown and in my life I had never been able to get that much color in my face.
I strolled into class, rather taken with myself and I noticed the girls looking twice at me, knowing that I belonged a Yale - not like a social outcast from Detroit whose factory working pop called lazy. No, that day the girls saw my debonair hair and my blue topsiders and I was pleased.
Little did they know that the ol Salvation Army was my treasure den. I even now and then splurged on a LaCross sweater by Ralph Lauren. When I went home at Christmas the family hardly recognized me.
"Well if it aint Joe college," my old man said, but I could tell he knew I was a fashion man, and he was envious. Ma said her little boy was growing up into quite the hearthrob and even Laura Russel saw me at the Shell station and blushed, giving me a once over with her blue eyes that hypnotized me in high school.
Later, after graduation, I took a job in Boston, which really set my dad off, who said I thought I was too good for Detroit. I tried not to pay attention, and worked the mail room while I did a master's program at night.
Well, you know. Parlay, parlay...and before you know it, I had twelve pairs of topsiders and about a dozen Lauren sweaters. I could really work a room, too. My hair was now styled straight up, and wouldn't you know it, that Duran Duran lead singer went and copied my style? I bet I could have sued him if I were serious, but my friend, Carlos, said I was nuts.
"You know, you've gone a little overboard with this whole preppy thing, doncha think?" he asked me one night afer class. We were sharing a pitcher of beer at O'Flanagan's and I was sure the girls at the bar were a little forward, batting their eyes at me and wanting me to buy them drinks.
"Not really," I said, cooly. Carlos was wearing a plaid jersey and sneakers that were so universal.
My first house had plaid wallpaper in the front room and leather furniture, like the Lauren catalogs in the background. My interior decorator said I should go all out, and so I had a chrome kitchen.
"Jeez, son, it's overkill," my Ma said when she saw it, and my dad said I looked like a damn half-a-fag.
I got a Jack Russell dog, like in the catalog, too and named him Izod. He barks a lot, but when we stand together on my lawn we look like that picture-perfect dog and owner in J.Crew.
Yesterday my secretary told me that she watched an old rock video on MTV and the guy looked a lot like me, except he had blonde hair instead of grey. I bet it was that Durna Duran fellow. I should have struck while the iron was hot, but I missed my chance back then to sue. Now at the firm we have to be so careful with the new mandates and what not. Sure, sure.
So here's the deal. That damn Carlos won't stop telling me to give up this look, and that fashion has done many turns...he can go on and on if I let him. The way I see it, you don't switch sailoats in the middle of the pond, especially when that wind is on your face and you're having a good time.
My old man died shaking his head at me. Inside, though, I found myself in my hair and sweaters and my topsiders. Me and Izod can be just fine by ourselves.