Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Don Draper and I Wore Madras Plaid

For devotees of Mad Men, one of the more amusing scenes during Sunday’s last episode was the appearance of Don Draper at a suburban dinner party wearing a Madras plaid sports jacket, made all the more humorous by its tight, perhaps too tight, fit. I can’t relate to the tightness factor (as a youthful stick-of-a-man, most clothing draped me in excess), but I can identify with the Madras sports coat.

As a high school graduation present my parents sent their 17-year-old son on a six week trip to Israel, followed by two weeks in Italy and France. My brother Bernie initiated this gift of passage with a teen cruise to Israel after his graduation four years earlier. Instead of a similar trip two years later, my sister chose to spend her college sophomore year in Israel, which she talked our parents into extending to her junior year. Now it was my turn to venture to the Promised Land, only I would be more of a freelancer, spending time with Lee and with various family friends and relatives rather than an organized tour.

It was early July 1966 (about a year after the Mad Men episode). I’d like to say I was mature for my age, but I wasn’t. I was a gawky, painfully thin, horn-rimmed bespectacled young man. When the El Al plane landed in Israel in the midday sun, debarkation was by landing stairs rolled up to the aircraft. My sister waited behind a fence off the tarmac, a few hundred yards away. She had no difficulty recognizing me. She cringed at the sight of her younger brother decked out in a red, white and blue Madras sports jacket. Though Madras might have been au courant fashion for men in the United States, how absurd was it to be wearing a Madras sports jacket in 100 degree Israeli weather? Maybe our father would have felt the need to bring along a sports jacket, but why would a teenager? Lee wasted no time in telling me how funny I looked. Needless to say, the jacket never graced my shoulders again for the next six weeks.

Apology Time: I’m lazy about many things but usually not about my writing. Sunday I was under pressure to conclude my blog before going to meet friends for dinner so I didn’t fact check the filing deadline for this year’s taxes. In the back of my mind I thought I remembered hearing the deadline as Tuesday at midnight, but I didn’t check. Instead I wrote that because April 15 fell on a Sunday there was another day before tax returns were due. Oops. It’s tonight. Sorry about that.

Zimmerman’s Side: Sunday’s post also contained a remark that we haven’t heard George Zimmerman’s version of events that led to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. I was reminded by a reader that Zimmerman’s father had told Fox News his son shot Martin after the youth attacked him, breaking his nose and repeatedly hitting his head (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/29/george-zimmermans-father-claims-trayvon-martin-beat-his-son-threatened-his-life/?cmpid=cmty_%7BlinkBack%7D_George_Zimmerman's_father_claims_Trayvon_Martin_beat_his_son%2C_threatened_his_life

Of course, all that is hearsay, which many discount because police videos of Zimmerman entering custody that night show no bruising. Even assuming he cleaned up before the video at the police station, I would expect police would have taken pictures of his battered head when they first questioned him. Absent those pictures, I assume the special prosecutor did not find sufficient reason to believe his father’s version.

Could sex be the reason ABC’s Good Morning America ended the Today show’s reign as the most watched morning news show after 16 years? NBC News executives are probably too polite to imply the relationship, but I’m not bound by their prudence.

Consider: After 852 weeks, GMA overtook Today by some 13,000 viewers for the week of April 9-13, according to Nielsen, the tracking agency. Isn’t it strange that on April 12, cable viewers in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, Colo., had their GMA telecast pre-empted by several seconds of hard-core porn, mistakenly transmitted by their cable provider (http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/television/colorado-tv-station-krdo-airs-porn-good-morning-america-article-1.1061350?localLinksEnabled=false)?

Could those over-the-top 13,000 GMA watchers merely have been cable subscribers hoping for repeat exposure to nudes, not news, of the day? I know it’s far-fetched, but then, there still are some people out there who believe Sarah Palin is qualified to lead our country.