Every time that we repeat the phrase that clothes make the man, we are indirectly quoting Shakespeare, but Mark Twain also added another level of insight when he said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”
Mark Twain died in 1910, and I feel sure that he made his observations about men and their clothes before the time that a man could also be measured by the automobile that he drove.
Things are much different in the 21st Century than they were at the end of the 19th Century. At this time, I would like to add another amendment to the famous Shakespeare-Twain thoughts: “Men are also made by their automobiles.”
People in my neighborhood walk their dogs, and over the years, I have begun to notice that many of those people have begun to look like their dogs.
While I am not sure that anyone in my neighborhood will win the next dog-owner look-alike contest, I can definitely see ways that even the people around me are like their pets.
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I only see my neighborhood’s dogs when they are with their owners, and I simply associate the two.
Last week, I saluted my old Honda Element and recounted some of the trips and journeys that my car and I have taken together.
A Limerick for My Old Honda Element
by Jacki Kellum
My Honda is tall, wide, and black.
We’ve traveled to heaven and back.
But now she is old,
I still have no gold.
I think I’ll ignore one more crack. Smack!
In another post, I said that when people in my town see my Honda coming, they know that I am coming, too. People in my area associate me with my car Here , and my car and I are very much alike.
Like me, my car is not fancy or frilly. When I went car shopping and bought my Honda, I said that I did not want carpet and that I wanted vinyl seats. My car and I go painting, and I often carry messy art supplies in my car. I also carry garden plants and dirt in it. I wanted my car to be like me–not afraid to get her hands dirty and not too proud to work and to sweat.
I have been driving my Honda Element for over thirteen years, and both my car and I are old and worn now. As lines have begun to scrawl across my face and neck, my car’s seats have become webbed from wear. But my car and I are not ashamed of our wrinkles and cracks. We are not pretentious. We are not embarrassed that we are not shiny, new Mercedes Benzes, and we do not even want to be Porsches. My car and I are not showy or flashy at all, but we have value. Our values lie on a different level than mere show and price tag.
As I said before, people are known by the cars that they drive. When my car and I pull into the parking lot, we are fairly easy to peg. “What you see is what you get.” By the same token, the people who are compelled to drive the newest and most expensive cars are also easy to peg. In most cases, they are people who believe that outside appearances are crucial to their existences, and they are usually people who do not place great stock on internal things.
In the Bible, Jesus came upon a Pharisee who was pretentiously cleaning the outside of his plate and cup. In the time of Jesus, that was the thing to do, and even though the Pharisee made a spectacle of his precision in cleaning the outside of his eating implements, he did not clean the inside of his cup and platter; thus, he did not clean the important part, the part that touched the food. Jesus scolded the Pharisee:
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Matthew 23:26
As I have already said, in many ways, people become the vehicle that they drive, but on a much deeper level, people also become what drives them. If a person is more driven toward the upkeep of his external appearances than he is to monitoring his inner character and the quality of his emotions, he becomes a superficial person. If a person is driven to lie and to cheat and to back-stab to enable himself to buy more and more expensive things that he can wear around himself like jewels that will reflect his outward value, that person becomes the things that drive him. On the other hand, if a person places value in the quality of his thoughts and in his peace of mind and heart and is not driven by the acquisition of more and more things, a person has a different kind of drive.
People who are driven to succeed and flourish in business probably look at people like me and believe that we have no drive at all. After all, we are not CEO’s; we travel in old cars; our houses need repair; we buy our clothes at KMart; and in many ways, we appear to be unmotivated. But again and again, appearances are deceptive.
I know that I have a great deal of drive. I write or create several things every day, and that is a result of a type of drive. I go outside in 100-degree heat and dig in my garden, and that is a result of another type of drive. I spend countless hours researching things that will enable me to be a better writer or better painter or better gardener, and again, that is because I am driven.
I believe that most people are driven by something, and I also believe that we need to carefully monitor what is driving us, lest we become the things that drive us and not the humans that may be buried inside.
©July 17, 2017