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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Me in my favorite shirtToday I am wearing my favorite shirt (pictured left): a red checkered button down made by Nautica. I wear this shirt every laundry rotation that I can since it is by far the most comfortable shirt I have ever worn. Not only does it look good with the Dockers that are a de rigueur component of my work dress, but it is made of some wonder fabric that breathes. It cost me $24.99—about $10-15 more than I normally prefer to spend on any article of clothing—but it was money well-spent.

Now I’ve always heard people describe certain garments and fabrics as “breathing,” but I’ve never understood what they meant by the term. I assume that all fabrics breathe to a certain extent since they all feel much better than wearing a plastic trash bag. I’ve heard that cotton is the most breathable fabric, but I’ve got a lot of cotton apparel and nothing compares to this shirt.

In a searing hot desert like Phoenix, staying comfortable is—at least for me—a futile effort. The second I get hot, there’s little I can do to cool back down short of an ice bath, cold shower, or laying in front of a high-powered fan. I’ve got some weird condition whereby I lack sweat glands in most of the useful places necessary for effective cooling, like, for example, my head. Actually, I’ve got one poorly functioning sweat gland located in the top right quadrant of my forehead that produces exactly one bead of sweat at peak capacity.

The trick, then, is to not get hot. I generally accomplish that by not going out for lunch and turning up the air conditioning in my car to high when I leave. Some days, unfortunately, I have to leave the comfort of my building. On those days, I’m either wearing this shirt or I’m getting hot. That’s the kind of life I lead in the summer, like the government during a budget crunch: shut down except for essential services. This shirt is the only thing that lets me go out for lunch at McDonald’s (which I am presently doing) and see the weird guy talking to his Big Mac. That’s an experience I would have missed if I didn’t have this shirt.

The only downside to this shirt is that the button part requires ironing in order to not irritate the hell out of my chest. Ironing is not something I like spending time on, preferring wrinkle-free clothing as much as possible. It’s worth it, though, for the chance to be comfortable.

And comfort is the human entelechy, to paraphrase Leonard Peikoff’s memorable phrase from his book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. One of these days I’m going to remember to look at the label or buy a bunch of these shirts. It’s that good of a shirt; I’d give you a model number or some link to the exact shirt but clothing manufacturers don’t work like computer or software makers.