birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

They Still Scratch (Redux)

Maybe it was being raised Catholic and having to wear uniforms — even in the heat of scorching 90-plus-degree days — made of unholy manufactured fabrics like Rayon, that I've never found much value in ritualized attire in service of presentation. Uniforms equal uniformity.

That said, I'm not an airline pilot. I don't see the pride of professionalism that, say, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, saw in his attire. And I'm not sure I can appreciate the tones of hospital scrubs in a practical manner if everyone knows their roles and it's not just about hierarchy. And I certainly don't feel the pride of a military uniform the way someone who has endured the rigors of and made the commitment to that pursuit.

As a whole, I've always bristled at the uniforms I've been forced to endure — grade-school blue pullover with dark pants, high-school collared shirt with tie (clip-on, most often), Domino's delivery-guy polo (again with the Rayon) — such that I wrote a lengthy essay in college titled, natch, "They Still Scratch."

Yeah, they do still scratch. Physically. Ideologically. Politically. The individual matters. The ideas behind, underneath and against the sea of solidarity and hierarchy matter more than one-as-whole fanfare.

I'd like more officers to defy the code of blue, more military to question an unjust order, more frat boys behind their Greek letters to be better humans than their group-think conformity.

The itches, the scratches, the chafing — they tell us there's something to bristle at.

Blue t-shirt

I wore a uniform for a decade