Vignette: Lunch, itch, polo shirt

October 20, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
Oct. 20, 2018

One afternoon this summer, I was having lunch with my Parental Unit in a restaurant in a mall near PU’s home. I was wearing one of my favorite shirts, a sky-blue cotton Land’s End polo. And something was bothering me. Specifically, something was irritating a patch of skin on my chest.

I kept looking down and tugging at the neck of the shirt, but the sensation persisted.

Eventually, I inspected the inside of the shirt, in the area where the buttons fasten. I felt goofy doing so, since the spot where we were sitting was visible to all sorts of passers-by in the mall, but the sharp prickly feeling was just too bothersome to let go without any investigation. Alas, I failed to identify whatever was provoking the itch. Perhaps it was all in my head?

I resolved to focus on my meal and my conversation with my companion. However, the irritation remained, and I kept on yanking on my shirt and scratching my chest. The nuisance was minor, granted, but it seemed to be driving me crazy.

At last, abandoning any pretense of discipline or dignity, I tugged the neckline of my polo up to eye level and removed my eyeglasses so I could scrutinize the fabric in detail.

Moments later, the culprit was revealed. I had shaved that morning, I believe, and a fine bit of severed stubble had fallen into the shirt. Not only was this bit of hair quite short, it was one of the whitish variety that make up a rather alarming portion of my facial hair. These surprisingly rigid hairs are hard to see against a light-colored fabric.

I pried it out of the weave of my shirt and enjoyed the rest of my meal without further distraction.

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