Why Nick Wears the Jacket
“Be who you are and say what you feel. For those that mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss
This jacket was one of Nick’s favorite pieces of clothing to wear in high school. For him, it said all the right things; it was confident, fun, bold, and unique. Nick adopted this style from his admiration of Kenny Hammond, a slightly autistic garbage man.
Nick, a former caddy, met Kenny on Nantucket Island at Sankaty Head Golf Club, a highly prestigious golf course that was ultra exclusive and very difficult to become a member of. Kenny did not make much money, but was such an impressive golfer that the members of the club paid for his membership every year so that Kenny could play for free.
What Nick really liked about Kenny was his attitude. He was someone positive who loved life and treated everyone with the utmost respect. All the members loved Kenny.
The Sankaty Head Golf Club held an annual member-guest tournament, an extravagant show, where CEOs would fly their guests in on private jets. Everyone was always trying to out-impress everyone else. On the second day of the tournament, Kenny showed up in head-to-toe pink: pink suit, pink shoes, pink hat, pink shirt. He was there to make his own statement: that he was a garbage man, he had the worst clubs in the bag, that he had never taken a private lesson, and he could still out-golf everyone there.
Nick loved Kenny’s bold statement and attitude, and as soon as Nick saw that multi-colored jacket in the store, he immediately bought it. Nick fell in love with that jacket because it was fun and made him feel free and happy; this was Nick’s own way of saying, “I am moving and going places to the beat of my own drum.”
While Nick did not care what others thought, his jacket was not without controversy. Several people hated it and told him that he should not wear something so hideous. He was called homosexual slurs, he was berated constantly. Finally, enough people had psychologically worn him down that he eventually listened to the harsh criticisms and voices and he stopped wearing the Kenny-inspired jacket. He hung the jacket up in the closet where it remained for many years.
Over time, Nick began to hear his own voice again – the voice that told him to pursue his dreams, no matter what others thought. He followed his own calling, and eventually those derogatory voices were silenced. He put the jacket back on and now does not tour school assemblies without it.
Nick had finally realized that, just like his own experiences in high school, many students hide who they are and what they want to do in life. Most young adults only want to be accepted and avoid criticism; the opinions and pressures of others sometimes guide them in the wrong direction in life. Nick wants to change this thought process and see that students live to their full potential, are not afraid to be who they want to be, and bring out their true colors. He firmly believes that by changing this thought process, students will be much happier and they can bring out their own individuality and uniqueness to the world. They will live their life to the fullest by bringing out their gifts and true self to the world.
This is why Nick wears the jacket.
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“When Mr. Nick told us his story it was probably the first assembly I have not fallen asleep in. It was not only interesting to learn his story but I also learned not to ever give up.”
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