On wearing the old coat and buying the new book

Austin Phelps once said, ‘Wear the old coat and buy the new book’. It wasn’t until today that I realized exactly how much I embodied this. It was my birthday yesterday, and today my partner Ben took out a wad of cash, and told me that for my present, he was forcing me to go buy some new clothes. In the nicest way possible, of course.  He told me we weren’t returning home until all the money was spent. It was a very timely present – this week  I got an oil stain on my favourite top, tore a shirt, and ripped a hole in my favourite pants. I definitely needed a wardrobe overhaul.

(This makes me sound like a dag and a terrible dresser. I do have nice clothes, and enjoy shopping, I just tend to spill spaghetti on things at the first opportunity).

It is strange, but I agonise over spending $40 on a top, but won’t blink an eyelid at spending that much on a couple of books. I don’t know if it is that I value books more, or that I feel that I will be getting more out of a book than a new scarf. When you think about it, this is a bit ridiculous, because one (a scarf or top) is probably going to be worn a hundred times, whereas a book is read, sits on a shelf, and then, if its lucky, reread.

However, I still think that I will ‘wear the old coat and buy the new book.’  There is, after all,  ‘no friend as loyal as a book’, as said by Earnest Hemingway. Books will always be there for you, a friend to laugh and cry with. Clothes are very fickle – they can be very unflattering. As much as I enjoyed my birthday shopping spree (I now feel very stylish and chic), I will probably still buy books over clothes, anyway. You can never have too many friends, after all.



  1. Where we live, there are great yard sales from mid-May into October. My wife and daughters our pros at Saturday morning shopping rounds there.

    Even better, they usually return with a pile of good reading and another pile of quality clothing.

    So maybe it doesn’t have to be either/or purchasing, Don’t know what the alternative is where you live, but there must be something.

    (By the way, you might get an apron for those cooking splashes!)

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