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Let's leave camouflage to the military

Wednesday, June 02, 1999

By Tom Hritz

I hate camouflage. You know -- those outfits featuring blotches of varying shades of green and brown that are supposed to help the wearer conceal himself by blending into the background.

It was first used by the military. I think the Marines introduced it and it spread to other branches of the armed forces. It never bothered me to see a Marine or an infantryman or any other military type dress in camouflage. It seemed natural.

Then hunters started wearing the stuff. Why, I don't know, since hunters traditionally wore bright shades of red and orange so they would stand out rather than blend in with their surroundings. The idea, of course, was not to get shot by another hunter.

It really never bothered me to see a hunter wearing camouflage, either. If he wanted to make it easier for some other hunter to shoot him, so be it.

Now nuts, kooks and crazies are wearing it. That's why I hate camouflage. It's become symbolic of the needless, senseless violence that has beset this country. It's the uniform of the day for the lunatic fringe.

Every time one of those gun-crazed, heavily armed maniacs sets out to stage a massacre, he's usually wearing camouflage.

Those two kids in Oklahoma who tried to wipe out their high school were wearing it.

I have never seen one of those ultra-violent video games that encourages the player to shoot, shoot, shoot, kill, kill, kill. But I'll bet my house that some, if not all, of the computerized figures on the screen are wearing camouflage. And I'll bet some of the players are, too.

What to do about this problem? Should the government ban the sale of them and restrict their use only to authorized personnel -- like members of the military? Hardly. That would only make them more desirable to the crazies and the nutballs. But there may be a way.

If camouflage could somehow be equated with the most horrible uniform ever visited by God on man, even crazies may shun them.

As you know, the Full Cleveland was an outfit restricted mostly to men.

It consisted of a buttoned-up-to-the-chest-hair jacket and a pair of pants made of some highly combustible material that I now think is ground up and made into rocket fuel. It came in either mint green or baby blue.

It was complemented by snow-white shoes, a wide white belt with a huge buckle and a combustible flowered shirt with the collar out. Festoons of artificial gold chains hanging in the wearer's chest hairs topped off the outfit.

A man with a hairless chest couldn't wear a Full Cleveland because the festoons of artificial gold would turn his chest green.

This frightening outfit was born in the 1970s when men's fashions hit their lowest point since the era of the Neanderthal man. Mercifully, they disappeared after the manufacturers learned they made children cry.

So here's my plan.

The media must unleash a blitz of news equating camouflage outfits with the deadly Full Cleveland. IS CAMOUFLAGE THE NEXT FULL CLEVELAND? Stuff like that.

Cammy fans might abandon their outfits for fear of being belittled and laughed at, and adopt a new one that might mellow them out, like perhaps plaid Bermuda shorts, black knee-high Sup-Hose, black spades, a T-shirt and a golf hat. The Full Buffalo, they might call it.

Hey! It's an idea!

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