As we reflect on the recent holidays, one image leaps forward. Henceforth, whenever we think of December and January, 2012 and 2013, we will think of plaid.
Everyone in our extended family wore plaid stuff over the holidays. One cousin had on plaid eyeliner.
One offspring wore a plaid blazer with a hotel chain's logo on the pocket. When a young grandson began opening gift boxes under the tree, each one was an explosion in plaid, with reds, blacks, whites, greens, grays, puces flying everywhere. Even one gift box had a plaid exterior. We think a half sister wore it around all day.
Plaid should be Time Magazine's Fad Of The Year.
Wingnuts claim that a plaid crater on Mars is proof of life there.
Politicians favoring universal health insist "plaid madness" is a pre- existing condition.
Rock bands in Britain and Canada have plaid in their names, including the "Plaid Tongued Devils."
Plaid is a computer programming language. A political party in the UK demanding independence for Wales is named Plaid Cymru. Plaid tattoos may be next.
Over the holidays we saw plaid on cupcakes and dog collars, wallets and wetsuits, smart phones and earphones, on basketballs and burkas.
Being two of the last persons on earth to catch fashion trends, we assumed the plaid complex that afflicts our culture was new. If not, why is every Homo sapien with a debit card now wearing this stuff?
Surely plaid madness is a mania never before known to man, except for a few Mayans who thought plaid could save them from the end of the world last month and have been wearing it ever since. But that's just speculation.
Plaid is in the news, as in this excerpt from a newspaper in Baltimore.
"Have the checkered fortunes of the numerous victims of this year's panic led us into a plaid age? Or (have we) all turned Scottish? Or is it simply because we want something new?
"There is an avalanche of crossbarred, multi-colored material in our midst. A dress exhibited in one store contained ten distinct colors. Altogether I defy the patriarchal Joseph to produce a more Motley array than this."
New? No way. This item was from the Baltimore Morning Herald of September 29, 1894.
Now skip ahead seventy-five years to November of 1969, when the men of Monty Python's Flying Circus TV show made plaid-wearing lumberjacks famous with The Lumberjack Song. A taste of the lyrics:
"I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK. I sleep all night and I work all day. I cut down trees, I eat my lunch, I go to the lavat'ry. On Wednesdays I go shopping and have buttered scones for tea.
"I cut down trees, I skip and jump, I like to press wildflowers. I put on women's clothing and hang around in bars.
"I cut down trees, I wear high heels, suspenders and a bra. I wish I'd been a girlie just like my dear papa."
At that point, in some versions, the plaid clad lumberjack songster then is pelted with eggs and rotten fruit by his accompanying chorus, dressed as Canadian Mounties.
We trust our plaid-laden friends and loved ones will not be treated so impolitely.
Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: email@example.com.