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Speaking of today's Posed Question of the Week, Moms seem destined to battle over how their kids dress. Whether the war is waged over not wearing tattered jeans to school, a too-short dress out at night, or a tie to an event, Mom's get stuck as the sticklers - the bad cops on dress code. For me though, growinig up in a military family, it was my dad who kept the code...and if company was coming, I knew I'd better be wearing a tie. Well, contributor, poet, filmmaker, and University of Missouri, Rolla, professor Jim Bogan recently discovered that maybe he should've paid a bit more attention to the dress code of his youth.

Postcard: Hold That Seat!

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Dear Rudy,

How I came by a trip to Rio de Janeiro with a complimentary first class ticket is a complicated story, but not this one. The midnight flight out of Miami departs from the extremity of the international wing, and I make the long hike early to check in. There is a dragon at the gate but I do not recognize here right off, because she is dressed smartly in the guise of a helpful airline attendant.

“I’d like a port window, please.”

“Sir, you must have a tie to sit in first class.”

“I do enjoy the sunrise from 37,000 feet. What!”

“Our dress code specifically states that first class passengers must wear a tie.”

“Sir, we will be happy to seat you in economy class,” she said unhappily.

“But I am going to Brazil, miss. They don’t wear ties in Brazil. Even the President doesn’t wear a tie in Brazil.”

“That’s the regulation, sir.”

“Kindly hold that seat. I’ll be back.”

My first thought is to buy a tie directly off the neck of an economy passenger. I scan the travel-anxious crowd, but the choice runs from Abbot to Costello, which suits neither my suit nor my fancy. So I trek back to the main terminal to prospect for ties, then walk the gamut of airlines from Avianca to Varig. Alas, all the stores are closed, except for the dimming lights of my last hope in the drug store. Maybe I can cut up a felt pennant in the shape of a tie and tape it to my shirt. A strip of duck tape is affixed to my briefcase for such incomprehensible emergencies. Or, or, ah, the Chinese jump rope. Yes. And, and, yes, the Praying Hands “Inspirational Bookmark,” made from genuine tin will do it. $2.48. Paid. I carry a second hand Chinese Army knife for survival in the modern world. With its scissor blade I cut off a two and half foot piece of red and blue elastic rope from Hunan. The Praying Hands wrap neatly around the strands and PRESTO: An Inspirational String Tie!! I hope the airline code is not as strict as my old grammar school which disallowed string ties, probably because they were too easy.

When I returned to the gate, the attendant grimaced a smile and handed me my first class boarding pass.

On the return trip from Sao Paulo I wore a silk tie I had swapped for my Chinese string tie. Blue with soup stains. Well, I was seated and already started on a glass of hard earned champagne when I was called to the jetway: “Sir, our dress code specifically states that first class passengers cannot wear jeans.”

“Kindly hold that seat. I’ll be back.”

Ate logo,

Jim Bogan

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