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Tie One Off To Tie One On

The week before I retired, I attended a modern art exhibit. I found myself in front of an installation that displayed hundreds of ties of various types, as well as tie clips, tacks, and pins. It brought home that I was indeed retiring. After 40-plus years of working in an office – where a tie was de rigueur for many of those years – the jumble of repurposed ties instilled in me a sense of relief: I no longer needed to endure the literal and figurative constraints of a necktie. And it inspired me to contemplate the freedom that was about to be mine. 

A lifetime collection of ties that bind

are loosened and released

on their own recognizance.

TImE to reTIrE.

Can you spell retirement without t-i-e?

I will, and can, gla-ad-ly!

Re   r ment. Re  r ment.


for whatever’s next.

Which is….?

I don’t know,


I’m tie-erd of ties.

One part decoration,

two parts indoctrination,

a screen to hide behind.

Good riddance to the daily grind.

It’s time to lose the noose.

And retire those stifling ties.

Solids, stripes, and paisleys

that hide stains and spots.

Tartan, checked, plaid,

floral prints and polka dots.

Geometric patterns — a trip without LSD.

A Bugs Bunny, a nebula born, and other novelties.

Too many to count. Goodbye, please.

No more futzing and fumbling 

with the four-in-hand or

dare I try it Windsor 

neither half knot nor


A Full Windsor is bulky enough to fill out a collar, producing a huge triangular knot that’s proportionate. It will look good if you have a large neck. A Full Windsor is great for shirts with widespread collars. Just make sure you have an extra-long tie that can accommodate all the wrapping around and looping. And hope that the narrow end called the “tail” doesn’t come out longer than the main lower section called the “blade.”

(sigh) Or you’ll have to wrap and lift and loop the loops – oops! – all over again!

A knotty problem.

But knots are not the problem.

Not anymore!

Not for knot-free me.

No t-i-e in

re   r ment.

So long, silks. Soft and supple to the touch

with high tensile strength and stretchability.

Durable, stylish and a welcome addition

to any gentleman’s haberdashery.

But who wants to be a gentleman?

Adios, cottons and linens for summer wear.

Take a hike, knitted ties for casual affairs.

Farewell, wool, best in the cold winter air.

Polyesters and blends: take it slow and take care!

I’m glad to be done with all of you.

The bowties, bolos, and clip-ons, too.

And what’s more:

Rubber band the tie clips, the tie bars, the tie pins, and tie tacks

that hold the ties down,

trapped in place

no room to move

to sway

to go their own way

into a pack.

Make a space in the back 

of the sock drawer.

Next to the cufflinks.

Of no use anymore.

A pity to waste 

all those birthday-Xmas-Valentine’s gifts?

No, creativity isn’t what you lack! It’s not that.

Not when you can put on your “Hey, I don’t have to go to work today” hat.

Mount those clips, bars, pins, and tacks on a rough-hewn board

and call it

“hung up on conformity.”

TImE to reTIrE.

Freedom from




Follow your convictions!

Open the collar.

Breathe easily.

Imagine the possibilities.

Cravats … kerchiefs … ascots … scarves!

What might they say about you?

Maybe even turtlenecks.

But dickies. Never. Ew!

Hang it up, ties.

Your work is done

Don’t get choked up.

(There’s a pun or allegory there, somewhere.)

I’m moving on.

No longer tied down.

By you or anyone.

But first, I’ll take you off 

then take off 

to my put-off

for too long, long-deserved retirement party.

Time to tie one on.

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About The Author
Jeff Fuerst
Jeff Fuerst
Jeffrey B. Fuerst pays his bills by writing and editing fiction stories, nonfiction books, plays, and poems for children, and once in a while still, humor articles for adults. He attributes his misanthropic world view to having spent the first month of his life in an incubator despite not being born premature. When he is not railing against the universe, Jeff can usually be found among the hoi polloi, taking umbrage. https://twitter.com/BlaneJeffrey
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