JOANNA Hi. PETER Hey. JOANNA I wonder if they will let me wear this in here. PETER I think it would be ok. Would you like to sit down? He motions to a chair. JOANNA Ok. (does so) Wow. This place is really nice. PETER Yeah, is it? JOANNA Oh my God, compared to Chotchkie's. I like the uniforms better anyways. PETER I like yours. JOANNA Nah. (makes a face) Peter looks at the buttons' wearing on his suspender. One says We're not in Kansas anymore. The one underneath says POOF. PETER "We're not in Kansas anymore." JOANNA Yeah. Really. (laughs) PETER It's on your - (points) JOANNA Oh! That's, uh, that's uh, my pieces of flair. PETER What are pieces of flair? JOANNA That's where you know, suspenders and buttons and all sorts of stuff. We're, uh, we're actually required to wear fifteen pieces of flair. quite stupid actually. PETER Do you get to pick them out yourself? JOANNA Yeah. Yeah. Although I didn't actually choose these. I, uh, I just grabbed fifteen buttons and, uh, I don't even know what they say! Y'know, I don't really care. I don't really like talking about my flair.
Ramdom picture of Joanna and her flair
GRUMPY PAST MASTER: Darin? Would you come here for a moment, please? DARIN: I'm sorry. I was late. I was finishing my green beans. GRUMPY PAST MASTER: I need to talk about your flair. DARIN Really? I have 15 pins on. I, uh, (shows him) GRUMPY PAST MASTER: Well, ok, 15 is minimum, ok? DARIN: Ok. GRUMPY PAST MASTER: Now, it's up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare minimum. Well, like Brian, for example, has 37 pins. And a terrific smile. DARIN:
Ok. Ok, you want me to wear more? GRUMPY PAST MASTER: Look. Darin.
DARIN: Yeah. GRUMPY PAST MASTER: People can get their degrees anywhere, ok? They come to Freemasonry for the atmosphere and the attitude. That's what the flair's about. It's about fun.
Ok. So, more then? GRUMPY PAST MASTER: Look, we want you to express yourself, ok? If you think the bare minimum is enough, then ok. But some people choose to wear more and we encourage that, ok? You do want to express yourself, don't you? DARIN: Yeah. Yeah. GRUMPY PAST MASTER: Great. Great. That's all I ask. DARIN: Ok.
GRUMPY PAST MASTER:
Now, about your ritual.
At some point, the number of pins that you wear on your suit coat has to become excessive. What number would be excessive? I'd suggest that anything over one or two is excessive, but this is coming from a guy who used to wear an excessive amount of masonic flair. I wish I would have come to this realization by having a conversation with my Grumpy Neighborhood Past Master.
GRUMPY PAST MASTER: We need to talk. Do you know what this is about? DARIN: My, uh, pins. GRUMPY PAST MASTER: Yeah. Or, uh, your lack thereof. I'm counting and I only see fifteen pins. Let me ask you a question, Darin. DARIN: Umm-hmm.
GRUMPY PAST MASTER:
What do you think of a person who only does the bare minimum?
Huh. What do I think? Let me tell you what I think, Stan. If you want me to wear thirty-seven pins like your pretty boy Brian over there, then why don't you just make the minimum thirty-seven pins? GRUMPY PAST MASTER: Well, I thought I remember you saying you wanted to express yourself. DARIN: Yeah. Yeah. Y'know what? I do. I do want to express myself. Ok? And I don't need thirty-seven pins to do it. All right? There's my pins! And this is me expressing myself. (Starts to remove pins from lapel) There it is! I hate this this lodge! I hate Fremasonry and I don't need it!! (Storms off)
GRUMPY PAST MASTER:
But we haven't even discussed the eighteen mistakes you made in your floorwork!
While I didn't have a conversation like the above nor did I have as many pins as Brian, I realized that I was wearing an excessive amount of flair when I showed up to a Masonic funeral a few years ago and I was instructed to remove it. It probably took me a good ten to fifteen minutes to remove those pins. They had to delay the funeral service while I removed my pins and placed it into my suit pocket. That was my wake up call.
WB Darin A. Lahners is our co-managing Editor. He is a Past Master of and Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org