- Rick Repetti
Philosophical Humor: Zumbach's Suit
Seth never had any need for a suit before, but he was invited by his best friend to be his best man at his upcoming wedding, so he inquired around among his friends for a lead on a decent tailor. A few different people all named the same tailor, one fellow named Zumbach, so Seth figured this guy must be good, and went to Zumbach’s shop, explaining his need for a decent suit to serve him well as best man at his friend’s upcoming wedding. Zumback was happy to help. He measured Seth’s arms, legs, waist, etc., then with Seth’s help he chose a fabric, and told Seth to come back in a week for a fitting. When Seth returned, Zumbach excitedly brought the suit out, handed it to Seth, pointed him to the dressing room, and told him to go try it on and come out for Zumbach to see if he needed to make any adjustments. When Seth put it on, it seemed asymmetrical, lop-sided, and just didn’t feel right, so he stepped out of the dressing room prepared to tell Zumbach, though he also knew he felt uncomfortable about inconveniencing Zumbach, who would have to go back and re-measure Seth, make adjustments, and go through the process again, all without raising the agreed-upon price. However, when Seth stepped out of the dressing room, Zumbach was ecstatic: “You look fantastic!”, Zumbach blurted out, as soon as he laid eyes on Seth. Struggling to overcome his own awkwardness at having to tell Zumbach he didn’t think the suit fit properly, Seth decided to break the task down to the smallest detailed parts, first stating, “Thank you, Zumbach, but don’t you think the left arm is a little too long compared to the right arm?” Zumbach confidently replied, “No, no, that’s just the way you’re standing. Fix your posture!”, at which point Zumbach pulled one sleeve on the jacket one way while simultaneously pulling the other sleeve in the other direction. Feeling even more awkward now, Seth complained about the length of the left leg relative to the length of the right leg, to which Zumbach similarly replied, adjusting Seth’s hips and pants so as to align his hips with the length of the trouser legs. This process continued regarding the neck, the waist, and so on, until Zumbach had poor Seth all contorted to fit the lop-sided suit. “Now, Seth, you look great! Just keep your good posture, and you’ll be fine! Fabulous! Marvelous!” Somewhat deflated, but at a loss to defend himself in his discomfort with this lop-sided suit, Seth paid Zumbach for his work, and walked out of the shop, head hanging down unhappy, to the bus stop, where he waited to take the bus home and look at himself in his own mirror. While standing at the bus stop, a pedestrian walking by took one look at Seth and said “You must have gotten that suit from Zumbach, no?” Amazed at the pedestrian’s keen eye, Seth said “Yes, it’s true, but how did you know?”, to which the pedestrian replied, “Because only Zumbach could tailor-make a suit to fit such a lop-sided guy as you!”
Moral: Don’t contort yourself to meet others’ expectations.