It's time to go through my neckties and get rid of the ones I don't or shouldn't wear anymore. For the record, I think neckties are ridiculous. I keep wondering how it is possible for our culture's grasp on this silly style to continue to hold fast. Yet the absurd necktie somehow remains as an icon of dignity year after year.

Neckties serve no functional purpose. They're just a fashion thing. I consider them banal. But since I am no trend setter and I want to fit in various social settings including church, I acquiesce to wearing neckties as needed.

In my closet are two necktie trees with nearly two dozen ties hanging on them. When I go to put a tie on I see many in my collection that I tolerate. I don't particularly like many of them. It's hard to find the right mixture of color and pattern to match the outfit I am wearing, along with the right cloth thickness and texture. Thicker, hardier cloth tends to feel uncomfortable around my neck. A tie might look great but feel awful or vice versa.

My desire to purge my tie collection started on Sunday while we were sitting quietly in sacrament meeting. That morning I had donned a tie that used to belong to my dad. The reddish background emblazoned with nearly indecipherable grayish images of Captain Moroni looked OK with my black suit. But the tie was already a bit worn when I inherited it nine years ago after Dad passed away. I have kept it mostly for sentimental reasons, I guess.

As we sat listening to the speaker, I noted that there were a lot of fuzzy little threads sticking out from the bottom hem of the tie. Thinking this was an ideal moment to trim away those errant fibers, I quickly deployed my tiny Swiss Army Knife, the like of which I have carried in my pocket most of my life. Hey, I'm an old Scouter. What do you expect?

My initial attempts to trim fine strands met with reluctance from my knife's scissors. Then I remembered having used the scissors to cut the tape on a package, leaving adhesive residue in the pivot point. My wife looked at me askance as I began using my thumb to try to rub away the sticky stuff.

Suddenly I felt the blade of the scissors bite into the skin on the pad of my thumb. My wife snickered as I pulled my thumb away to inspect the damage. Not too bad, I thought. It was just in the top layer of the skin. Or so I thought. I looked stupidly at my thumb as I noticed a tinge of bright red blood begin to seep from my self-inflicted wound. Seeing this, my wife worked so hard to stifle a laugh that she snorted at a time that the speaker was striking a serious note. I was so happy to be able to provide some entertainment.

Fortunately, I also had a clean square of facial tissue in my jacket pocket. I used this to blot blood while I applied direct pressure to the wound. But after a couple of minutes the thumb was still leaking red fluid. This wouldn't have been a huge problem, except that I was substituting for the ward organist that Sunday. I had maybe 12 minutes before I would have to play the organ. Into my mind flashed the bloody organ keys from The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.
My wife leaned over and reminded me that we always carry a first aid kit in the car. I had to leave the meeting and run to the car in search of a band aid. We have long been prepared, but we have used that watertight kit so seldom that I had forgotten how good the quantity and quality of the supplies in the kit were. I quickly applied one of the better band aids I have ever used and returned to the meeting in plenty of time to be ready to play the closing hymn. They wouldn't have to use Bon Ami cleanser to try to remove blood stains from the organ keys.

Upon contemplating my cut thumb, I realized that none of this would have happened had I been wearing a necktie that was in good shape. So it's time to go through my necktie collection and get rid of a bunch of them. Except for the ones that have sentimental value, I guess. Can I really chuck the Halloween tie the kids gave me years ago with plastic google eyes glued all over it?

My dad taught me years ago that knives should be kept sharp. While I'm pretty good on that score, I have now learned that it's important to keep my pocketknife clean. None of this would have happened had I immediately cleaned away the adhesive residue after I used the knife scissors to open a package.

This is an extension of the age old axiom, "A stitch in time saves nine." Meaning that promptly sewing a small hole in fabric may prevent the need to repair a a much larger hole that later develops because the small hole was not properly handled. In essence, if you take care of a small problem now, although it may be inconvenient, it may save you from much bigger problems later.

I have also learned that playing with knives during church probably isn't a great idea.
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