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SCOT BELAVIA: Thought From A Coat

I’ve worn my Quiksilver Coach Jacket for eight winters and counting. It is blue and burgundy with six pockets: one for each breast on the outside and one per hand there too, one zippered pocket at rib-level on the left’s inside, and a higher Velcro-sealed pocket in the right side.

Sewn parallel to the inner zipper is a white strip of fabric, 2.5 inches long and a quarter-inch wide, maybe thinner, that reads in black letters, “Find something different.”

So, I keep looking. After more than eight years, it’s accrued excusable stains, gotten thinner, and…there’s nothing more to say about its appearance.

My wife and I started dating in an Ohio winter where I wore it everywhere. Its dulled colors don’t stand out, but the jacket served as an effective identifier on campus for my future wife’s pining eyes. I would not go on to find someone different than her.

Back to the coat quote along the zipper. This is how I understood it January 15, 2015, sometime after purchase:

“I think that it is general enough to take it how you interpret it but still a unique enough quote to have significant meaning.”

To approximate that meaning, I needed to figure out why it was stitched there.

It’s probably Quiksilver’s motto but I haven’t googled that to be sure. I don’t want the quote to have such a dead-end explanation. I’d rather think my jacket wasn’t mass-produced, but handmade by a person so taken with this fortune cookie wisdom that they had to share the epiphany. So, they furtively sewed it in, trusting the universe to get it to the person who needed the line in the lining the most.

Now then, what am I to glean from my coat’s covert proverb?

Maybe it’s a message of discontentment: “Find something different” from where I am now. I should always be looking for greener grass in my career, for example. Or it could go a step beyond that and motivate me to never settle for less than I feel I deserve.

Even more inspirational, I bet it’s telling me to “Find something different” referring to life experiences. My coat—or its maker—wants me to explore new places. And if that’s anywhere up north, I won’t forget my jacket!

This has been more consideration I’ve ever given the coat—much less its inner thought—in the near-decade I’ve owned it. As I said, it’s getting thinner, so maybe it’s time I “Find something different”, like a new coat.

– Scot Bellavia

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