|The copyrighted story appearing in the Morning Sentinel 07/11/99 is reprinted here by permission of Central Maine Newspapers. Regrettably, they misspelled my name.|
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Mike Gosselin of Oakland models a sample of his ugly-tie collection at his home on Thursday. Gosselin, a Waterville Senior High School physics teacher, has between 400 and 500 ugly ties.
Staff photo by Jeff Pouland
Stashed all over his Fairfield Street home, the ties are some spectacularly awful specimens. Gosselin said his prime consideration in selecting ties for hideousness is color. On Thursday, he sported a tie with different shades of white, pink, blue and green, which looked like something designed by a hallucinating child. That was one of the more attractive ties in his collection.
He has another that features animals from "The 12 Days of Christmas," including turtle doves and partridges. Another shows a naked lady, which made a bride and groom blush when Gosselin wore it to a wedding reception. Other ties have expletives -- and Gosselin has threatened to wear to school board meetings. Asked what makes an ugly tie, Gosselin pulled out one with multicolored frogs painted on it and said, "There is no way to describe that."
Since winning the 1999 Ugliest Tie title, Gosselin appears to now be resting on his laurels. "Once you've won that one, you don't need to win any others," he said. "What else is there?"
Apart from disastrous colors, Gosselin also prefers cheap ties. He has many that cost less than the $2 it would take to dry-clean them.
But there are exceptions. He once spent $40 on a buy-five-get-one-free offer at Quincy Market in Boston. This, he said, was because he wanted to help stimulate the economy there. Others cost as little as 58 cents, from Burlington Coat Factory in South Portland; or 88 cents, from Marden's Surplus and Salvage, one of his favorite haunts for tieshopping. Friends and family have chipped in. One of the ugly ties Gosselin seems very proud of was a gift from part-time Colby College professor Thomas R. W. Longstaff, who is now a Waterville city councilor-elect.
The tie features sequins, beads and a three-dimensional face. "The only one I will not wear is this one given to me by Tom Longstaff," Gosselin said as he showed off the tie. "This is really ugly. I've met my master. I only took it because you have to be gracious about this whole thing, you know." Gosselin believes that Longstaff will meet his political downfall once news leaks that Longstaff trafficks in such hideous ties.
But Gosselin draws the line at some ties -- he will not
have clip-ons, or ties with commercial names on them, such as
Coca Cola, for example. And he won't wear a silly tie to a funeral.
Now, Gosselin said, his two sons fight over the ties -- fight
over who gets to not keep the ties, that is.
Gosselin remembers the story behind each tie in great detail, down to which exit off which highway the store was located. "These are friends of mine," he said of the ties. His penchant for ugly ties is common knowledge in his physics classes, where his students have been known to conspire with his wife and babysitter to spirit the ties away and wear them to his classes.
"Kids who don't know me say, 'You're the guy with the neckties,' " he said.
Gosselin used to wear a tie every day, but has cut down in the last year because he suffers from Parkinson's disease, and his fingers sometimes tremble too much, he said. But that's done nothing to his sense of humor.
"Take nothing and nobody in life too seriously, especially yourself," he said. "I just do it for the attention. Just thumbing my nose at convention."
Chuin-Wei Yap -- 861-9253