Good, bad, or indifferent, we all carry with us the lessons learned from our parents. I carry mine in my left-hand back pocket, only because I haven't mastered the art of folding it for the breast pocket of my suit jacket.
"Never leave the house without a clean handkerchief," Mom used to say. As a kid, I rolled my eyes and ignored the advice, deciding I didn't really want to cart around a Cold-in-a-Pocket. But with age came the dawning of her wisdom. It's become the family punchline that what John D. Rockefeller was to dimes, Yours Truly has become to handkerchiefs. Really, I go through them like Kleenex, and hardly ever by using them myself. I've lost many a hankie to:
Ketchup and coffee mishaps.
On a date. (This isn't that kind of blog.)
Weddings. (Natch. Keep one for yourself... especially if they play Shout.)
Funerals. (Most recently to a friend in a receiving line at his Dad's wake.)
Friends. (The One who lost her Dad; the One who lost her job; the One who thought she was sick, but wasn't; the One who thought she was sick, and was; the One who'll need you next.)
It might not help an old lady cross the street, but if you're the kind who likes to do a Good Deed daily, and "Pay it Forward," you can do a lot worse than to spread some clean, white cotton squares around the world.
I'll be honest. Except for one time, I'm not the kind of guy who is prone to part with the shirt off my back. But when I die, and someone asks what kind of person I was, I want it to be said, "He gave me his hankie." [And then mutter, "I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the damned thing..."]