Last night I was attending a public hearing about a wonky community issue. I was not planning to testify or speak, but the Chair of the Board holding this hearing was rather annoyed with conflicting testimony being presented, looked at me, and asked,
“[BHD], what do you think?”
The attorney on the dias (dressed in typical attorney-clone business suit and wingtip dress shoes) who had just completed his testimony said, “who? Who did you ask?”
The Chair (who knows me well) said, “that guy with the boots,” pointing to me.
So there I am in my full booted splendor. Nothing outrageous or wild — I was wearing a short-sleeved collared shirt, denim jeans, and my Lucchese Classics Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake boots. Why those boots? I dunno — they looked lonely, not having been worn for a while. The other night I had treated them with Scout Exotic conditioner, and they looked nice.
As soon as the Chair identified me as “the guy with the boots,” of course everyone in the room had to look at what I was wearing. Not missing a beat, I walked to the dias, smiled, and gently pulled up my jeans on my right leg a little bit and said, “glad you like the boots.”
Then not to have the boots be a distraction, I dropped the pants leg so the jeans stacked neatly on the foot as cowboy boots are meant to be worn with jeans.
Most of the people in the room were unfamiliar to me, so I thought they would be thinking, “what does this cowboy know about this matter?” I often get quizzical looks from people who engage in stereotyping and who think, “what could a guy dressed like ‘that’ know about…” then you name the professional or community issue of the day. I regret that so many people judge other people by what they wear, especially boots. Like any guy in boots is an uneducated hillbilly hick.
Knowing the Chair of this Board as well as I do, I asked her to introduce me rather than introduce myself. She was happy to do it. She began by using my “English honorific” — “This is Dr. [BHD]…” and then she briefly described my background, experience, and why she asked me for my thoughts about this issue.
Honestly, I was a bit embarrassed by the introduction done for me, but I appreciate that the Chair of this Board respects my background and community position as “old sage adviser.”
I shared my thoughts about the matter in about three minutes. I sat down, and the Board voted to end the public testimony portion of the meeting and proceed to a vote. They voted to accept a compromise which was mostly what I wanted to see, and nothing what the highly paid land-developer attorneys wanted. But these attorneys are paid to take a position by the companies that pay them. Most of these attorneys don’t give a darn about the issue. They only care about the money, not the community (contrary to what they claim in public.)
Anyway, another evening in the life of an old, booted, community sage.
Life is short: wear boots and wear them with confidence.