The Importance of Dressing Shabbily

2:32 PM

The richest of kings are those who are still kings even without their castle
We've heard it many times, told in different variations: People of power, dressing down to teach people a lesson in treating the poor equally or something to that extent.

Let me tell you the version I grew  up with:

It was the time when salespeople who knocked on doors lived in great abundance. Clad in smart suits under the scorching sun, they wore big, toothy smiles, eager to sell the product of the millenium.

And so it happened, one of those salesmen chanced upon a place that made transport in sea possible by putting pieces of metals and wood together. It wasn't the most sophisticated of places and it reeked of burnt metal, industrial oil and sweat--- all mixing with the smell of the sea.

He carefully made his way to look for the owner of the place and stumbled across an old man in a tattered white shirt, sweeping the floors. Straightening up his tie, smoothing his pants and putting on a face of authority, he asked the old man, "tatang, san ba dito yung may ari?"  ( old man, where is the owner of this place? ) The old man stopped to look at the man and smiled, "ah, dun sa taas" (ah, up there) he said as he pointed to the second floor.

The man happily made his way to the well lit, air conditioned office filled with drawings and blueprints of boats,ships and the faint stench of pizza. He politely asked for the owner, stating that an old man told him to look for the owner there. The man in the office laughed and told the salesman, "that old man IS the owner".  Appalled, the salesman left, carrying his huge vacuum in his arm, convinced it would sell better elsewhere.

The end.

Now, the old man didn't really follow the normal plot of the rabbi stories and neither was he a rabbi or a secret customer. That poor salesman wasn't probably that mean to the old man and really, he could be  what we, the internet-wired generation would call "troll".

So what was the lesson?

It was one that remains to be applicable to this day. It is not just about : 

"dressing shabbily wards off unwanted sales pitches" (Well, I love that part on it's own :p)
It helps you weed out people who are around you for the glamor, the title and the inevitable punchline: "would you like to buy it?" 

It also teaches you to work harder, knowing that people won't hold the doors open for you or cut you some slack.

But more importantly, it teaches something we usually forget in our rise to power: remembering the simple joys and tedious chores that everybody is entitled to/required to do.

It allows us to work on something that does not rely on well polished shoes or clothing: character.

Of course, dressing well is also a necessary skill to learn when presenting one's self. But everyone's teaching us that--what would you get from me repeating something that has been reiterated countless times?

I urge you, try it. The best clothing will get you to the best of places but the worst clothing will introduce you to the best people.
Stripped of everything, what are you?

I'm not a writer.
I'm not a chef.
I'm not a marketer.
I am a dreamer. 

The old man was an entrepreneur, soldier, held a 2nd dan black belt in karate and is arguably one of the coolest grandfathers who existed.

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