Costume: (n) a style of dress, including accessories and hairdos, especially that peculiar to a nation, region, group, or historical period.

If all the world is a play and all of us humans are actors on the stage, who’s in charge of the costuming?

Are we all wearing costumes continually?

I came to write my blogs today. I’m wearing a pair of underwear, slippers and a golf shirt. It is what I refer to as my “blog costume.” Once adorned in this particular frock and frill, I am fully aware that I should not take myself terribly seriously. I should relax, be as realistic as possible, and certainly never lie.

Yet I’m not comfortable wearing this to the grocery store or even family functions. For them I require another costume.

Since I’m getting older, which began shortly after my birth, I want to dress for the grocery store with a certain contemporary appearance that lets people know that I’m not stuck in a decade which is tucked away in the history books. Of course, there’s a danger of dressing too young for myself, and looking like a wannabe millennial instead of an aging “Woodstocker.”

Then there are family gatherings. I realize they want me to play the function of “dad and grandpa.” What costume does one don for such an occasion? It has to be friendly, generous and have a certain amount of gravitas, so if one of the children is in need of counsel, the duds will match the words.

Are we all wearing costumes?

Can you really be a rock band if all you wear is blue jeans and t-shirts? Isn’t there a danger that it looks like you’re playing one set at the club and heading off to do a shift at the warehouse?

I guess we need to look the part.

To do that—to play our part—even to remain in character at times—we require costumes.

We know this is true, because when someone is out of costume, the reporters show up to do a story. When President Obama wore something other than a dark suit, for the next two days it was the conversation on the 24-hour news cycle.

“What was he doing wearing a light-colored suit? Are we a banana republic? What’s next? Flip-flops?”

I guess Bill Shakespeare was right—the world is a stage. Unfortunately, we spend much more time worrying about our make-up and our costumes than we do learning our lines.

Join us daily for a personal take on the words from the dictionary beginning with aardvark!

Published by Jonathan Cring