When I was about nine or so, my grandmother died. My parents needed to outfit me for a proper funeral, as most of my clothes had Ninja Turtles or chocolate on them. My only slightly ill-fitting (but entirely dapper) funeral ensemble ended up being a pinstriped charcoal grey suit with a trilby hat and a black trench coat. I looked like Eliot Ness's much smaller partner. I cut a pretty fuckin' smooth figure. I was a classic gentleman. And I really enjoyed the look -- so much so that I've tried to keep it alive ever since. But being a classic '50s gentleman in the fashion sense is no easy task in the modern world, when every aspect of it gets shit on at every turn.
#4. Fart Smuggling
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My little-man trench coat was fairly lightweight -- and more of a glorified raincoat more than anything -- but it did bring the whole ensemble together, and I enjoyed it immensely. So much so that throughout my life, I've probably owned about six trench coats or dusters of varying quality. My current coat is egregiously overpriced leather, but it's very nice-looking and supremely comfortable in all weather. It's also a tragic curse.
The problem with a leather coat that hangs to your calves is that you've basically sealed yourself inside the fashionable carcass of another animal, like Luke inside the tauntaun. And maybe nine times out of ten, that's no issue at all. But I invite you, when you have a chance, to put on a heavy leather trench coat, do it up, and fart. Then just stand there a moment. Sway a little -- maybe take a step or two in whatever direction.
20th Century Fox
It'll smell just as good on the inside as it will out there.
A warm fart in a cold leather coat has but one direction to go. It will meander slowly but surely up your spine, over your shoulders, and up your neck, right into your face, like the hand of a late-night kidnapper with a rag of ether trying to subdue you into a shit-scented state of unconsciousness. It will happen every single time, as there's literally nowhere else for the fart to go. It's hot air; it's going to rise. Your only chance is to literally try to run away from it and achieve enough speed that the tails of your coat fly up in a sort of Batman cape behind you, and the fart is sucked free in your wake. And how is that even an option? How can you, as an adult, seriously contemplate outrunning your own fart on the street?
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"I'll be back once this gas goblin's given up on tracking me down. Keep that job offer warm for me!"
No coat maker on Earth will admit this, but I often suspect that slit up the back of a number of coats is there not so the material can spread when you go from sitting to standing and not get all bunchy, but in the vain hope that maybe your farts will slip out the crack if you move just so.
#3. The Matrix / X-Files / Trench Coat Mafia
Warner Brothers Pictures
The X-Files premiered in 1993. The Columbine massacre occurred in 1999. The Matrix film series lasted from 1999 until 2003. That's a decade. A decade of what, you ask? A decade of people referring to your trench coat as the most relevant aspect of culture they can think of at that period of time.
As I said, I got my first trench coat when I was nine, and as far as I knew, only guys in black-and-white movies ever wore them, really. In 1993, however, I learned that I was Fox Mulder. I got called "X-Files" and/or "Mulder" at school for several years, in fact. Because people assumed that's the reason I was wearing a trench coat. I have never called someone wearing Nikes "Kobe" or a guy in beige pants "Jeb Bush," but I guess this cause-and-effect method of clothing identification only works for certain forms of outerwear.
"Hey, Mulder! You gonna make tons of money and score with a gorgeous redhead, Mulder? You're such a fuckin' Mulder, Mulder."
I didn't realize how much I'd long for "X-Files" until two shits in Colorado decided to shoot up their school after leaving a sticky note somewhere with the words "trench coat mafia" on it. I don't recall Columbine that well, but I am fairly certain that term -- the idea that the shooters were in some kind of gang -- was a fairly small and inconsequential aspect of the entire event. Nonetheless, thus began a solid several months of being semi-jokingly questioned about my involvement. And not by children -- by fully-grown, dumbass adults.
"Say buddy, are you in the Trench Coat Mafia? Looks like you're in the Trench Coat Mafia!"
"Does it? Oh, because I'm in a trench coat? And they're a mafia who wear trench coats? Holy shitsack, I see how you stumbled upon this realization! You got me!"
Lucky for me, this terrible school shooting was quickly overshadowed by the cultural phenomenon known as The Matrix, and for literally a decade I was called "Neo." Never by people who knew me -- it just seemed like a thing people should say upon meeting me, made more and more relevant with each year past the time the movies were released. The fact that it still happens once or twice a year, in 2016, is really touching, and shows just how influential those films were. I hope Keanu appreciates how much his work has touched people.
Warner Brothers Pictures
Except for Revolutions. Even he thinks you're insane for remembering that.
It's worth noting that nine out of ten people who engage in this brand of bumblefuckery will simply call me "Neo." The expression on their faces suggests to me that they're quite tickled with their wit, and I usually let them have it. Good for you, I think, smiling and nodding. You noticed that I have a coat like a movie has a coat. Good for you.
But curiously, a funny thing happens every so often with that mysterious tenth person. Instead of calling me Neo, this person will ask if I am Neo. Go on, picture that. Picture me, an adult who has attended an orgy for comedy purposes, standing still while another man -- let's imagine him with a lazy eye and a big Slurpee of all the flavors mixed up -- asking me if I am Neo. From the movie The Matrix. And then there's that expectant pause, during which his mouth is agape just so, as he grins and waits for my reply. Eternally waiting for my reply.