The teacher of the Mark Twain course, my spouse and I recently attended, did a great job of discussing Twain’s works. I got a kick out of us discussing Tom Sawyer’s church behavior and what kids do to occupy themselves in church. The teacher talked about his own experiences and how his brother embarrassed, but made everyone laugh when he gouged the glass eye out of a fox head on a fur stole draped over the church pew in front of him. People used to wear the furs of animals, with the head intact, to ornament the piece. It was the fashion to wear one of these expensive pieces around the neck or as a part of the collar of a coat. Our teacher’s brother was sitting behind a lady in church with such a fancy collar. She slung the garment over the seat during the church service and the young boy began to fiddle with the glass eyes of the dead fox to amuse himself during the service. An eye just popped out and rolled along the floor to the horror of some and the amusement of others.
The whole story made me think about the way people dress and the unusual way they ornament themselves. Body piercing jewelry is one of my favorites. Some kids have multiple ear and eyebrow piercings and look like a walking pin cushion. The metal rings are placed all over the body including the umbilicus, nipples and other secret places meant to amuse or give pleasure. Tattoos are another of my favorites. It used to be that the most appropriate place for a tattoo was on the arm or perhaps the chest of the male. Now females have them. They started putting small ones on the ankle then they moved up to the breast and now a favorite spot is on he lower back just above the crease of the buttock.
When I was a kid everyone dressed in their Sunday best to attend church. Men always wore a coat and tie. My mother said ways look your best when you go to worship the Lord. Now days people wear stuff I wouldn’t even wear to do yard work. Faded jeans with holes in the knees, sloppy tee shirts with weird writing and pictures that make some kind of statement are now the most popular attire. I recently attended a couple of funerals. Everyone at the funerals was dressed like they used to dress for church. All the men had coats and ties and the ladies looked great. These same people go casual on Sunday. I just wondered how dead folks deserve more respect and better dress than the Almighty himself. I am told that God doesn’t care what you look like or how you behave when you go to worship him. I can’t buy into that one. Why don’t we just go nude and defecate on the altar.
As I look at National Geographic on the porch, I think how it was the only porno publication when I was a kid and now it is a fashion magazine.