Sometimes at the store people ask me what they should wear with their new Utilikilt. Which is always funny ‘cause I am, honestly, the last person to ask.
I get my shirts at the Goodwill- green plaid long sleeve in the Winter and Hawaiian shirts in the Summer. I wear either black steel-toed boots or a pair of Sketchers I’ve had since the last time I worked at Utilikilts over ten years ago. And whatever socks are clean. And a leather jacket, of course. I’m not making a fashion statement, I’m in it for the Comfort and the Freedom. In fact, I started wearing a kilt almost by mistake.
I had a boat shop and one day this guy moves in next door and starts making utility kilts. He kept telling me how Freeing they were and said he was gonna spread that Freedom all over the world. I thought he was nuts but in spite of that (or was it because of that?) we became friends- drinking beer and making shit and breaking shit.
I had a tv crew coming over to do something about some funky bagpipes I was making so I asked Krash if I could borrow a kilt. His exact words were, “No. If you want a kilt you have to buy into it. No posers.”
‘No problem,’ I thought. ‘I’ll just buy one and return it when I’m done.’
But I didn’t return it. Instead, I went home after an evening in the bar and told my wife, “I’m never wearing pants again!” and threw all my pants in the dumpster. She left me two weeks later. Utilikilts Sells Freedom, indeed!
That was eighteen years ago and I haven’t worn pants since. The kilt, for me, is kind of a statement, but it’s not about fashion. It’s more like a Free Pass.
When I get in trouble with somebody I’m dating, her friends tell her, ‘Well, he WAS wearing a kilt when you met him…’
When I got hired to be a Duck Captain I was wearing a kilt and called myself Captain Braveliver. So when I got complaints about my tour being ‘off-color’, all management could do was just shrug their shoulders and give the customer a refund.
When I’m out in a bar and feeling a little boisterous, I can get away with a LOT more ‘cause I’m in a kilt. When I go up on stage to do a reading, people expect something different and when they see me around town afterwards, they remember me.
A Utilikilt costs a couple hundred bucks, but with that comes a healthy dose of Freedom, Confidence and Individuality. And even better, it gives people an opportunity to connect with you.
I’ve honestly gone through about a dozen jobs in the last six years. Drawbridge operator, bus driver, tour guide, etc, but my favorite job was working in Vitality for a Senior Living Facility.
When somebody gets admitted to a retirement home, it’s often a little traumatic. Imagine being 80 and moving out of your house and to a new city ‘cause that’s where your kids live. It can be scary and depressing.
But I was able to make an immediate connection with people. Seeing somebody in a kilt is disarming and intriguing. People WANTED to talk to me and connect with the guy in the kilt.
A couple years ago, Marie, 86 and with a walker, moved in. On my way home one day I saw her and who I guessed was one of her daughters out for a stroll. I pulled up next to them on my motorcycle and in a kilt and said, “Hi Marie! Wanna go for a beer?”
Without missing a beat she said, “Not today, dear…” and motioned at her daughter.
I drove off and her daughter was speechless. “There’s a lot about me you don’t know, dear,” Marie told her.