atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1390: Ode to a scarf.

In 1985 or so, Mom knitted me a scarf. She actually knitted scarves for several people--me, my sister, a friend of mine--and they were all identical in pattern.

They were Doctor Who scarves.

Now, for those of you who think Doctor Who is a hipster-looking guy in a show with great special effects, I have to educate you just a little. The Doctor is that guy, but long before that guy, the Doctor was seven other guys in a show with great writing and miniscule budgets. (The budget for one episode of the current season could have financed an entire season of the earlier stuff.)

Many Americans think of Tom Baker (Doctor #4) as the Doctor. He was certainly the longest-running of the series, and the most recognizable. I saw him in a "Sinbad" movie not long ago, and the first scene with him in it you could tell it was Tom Baker because of that nose. There is no other nose like it on television anywhere in the world.

Doctor #4's signature wardrobe item was the scarf. The scarf, all 16-odd feet of it.

It turns out that there is a story behind that scarf: when the production people decided that Doc #4 would have a scarf, they found someone who could knit and took a bunch of yarn to her. They just grabbed a bunch of yarn from somewhere and said, "Here, knit us a unique scarf!"

They didn't specify any particular length or characteristic. The woman used all the yarn, and the result was that egregiously long scarf.

For an eccentric character like the Doctor, though, it was perfect. sometime in the mid-1980s my sister got ahold of the specifications for said scarf: "x rows of [color a], y rows of [color b], z rows of [color c]..." etc. And so Mom knit her, and me--both of us dedicated DW fans--scarves.

A friend of mine (who also liked the show but wasn't as into it as we were) asked for one, too, and Mom knit him one. there I was, in the late 1980s, gleefully wearing my authentic Doctor Who scarf all over the place--to school, to the mall, wherever I went (in winter) I would wear the scarf over my coat, draped the same way the Doctor wore it: one end at ankle height, up around the neck, down to ankle height, up around the neck again, and the other end also at ankle height. Maybe a hand or so higher than the other end.

I was a bit disappointed that I never had to explain it to anyone.

The people who already knew DW didn't need an explanation, and those who didn't probably took a look at me, thought, "Nerd!" and left it at that. I suppose I could have had a button made that said, "Ask me about my scarf!" but that would have been cheating. (A real iconoclast doesn't call attention to his iconoclasm. Usually he doesn't need to.)

I did eventually stop wearing the thing. I don't remember how or why, only that I did. Now it hangs on a hanger in my closet, collecting dust.

But last night, at work, I saw a scarf hanging on a rack and was reminded of all this, and I thought, "I could get my scarf dry-cleaned and wear it!" And where I work you can bet someone would ask me, "What's with the scarf?"


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