Ken Pollitz: So, what’s in your closet?

By Ken Pollitz - Guest Column

While the commercial query continues, thanks to the prompting of Capital One’s Samuel Jackson or Jennifer Garner, it appears there are a growing number of folks inclined toward infiltrating an alternative personal space. Credit card companies may be hawking their plastic-products to gain entrance into our wallets, pockets or purses, but it seems some segments of today’s rather invasive society have been breaking and entering into another valuable location, namely our closets!

Slyly and subversively increasing in popularity, beware the possibility that we may have entered the darkened-recesses of “The Cancel Culture Zone!”

Most of our closets likely contain a diverse collection of hangers, plastic or otherwise. Dangling from them is a vast and colorful potpourri of apparel. Alas, these vicious invaders have little regard for grading our varied fashion statements. They choose to be looking out for something more incriminating!

Incentivized perhaps by personal, political or punitive gain, the unseen and obsessed perpetrators arrive to scroll through the rack in search of a ghastly and gruesome sight! Like late-night grave-robbers, they are intent on digging up some dirt, or more specifically, some skeletal remains.

Popular as a title for quite a few library volumes, the idiom “skeleton in the closet” is making a resurgence with frightening and perilous intent.

For any uniformed, the above phrase basically speaks of any behavior from a person’s past that may be regrettable, incriminating or even shameful. Said individual may have tried, over time, to bury or forget these actions. Truthfully, there could be such intense remorse, one might literally wish any remnant of the conduct be expunged from the record or, if you will, decomposed altogether leaving dust and ashes in its place.

I won’t be the first to admit, but walk into our walk-in closet, and you’ll soon see that it’s a bit of a mess. Not everything is on a hanger or neatly folded. Shirts may need pressing, while select suits and ties may be in dire need of dry cleaning. With a formidable size 17 shoe, I’ve plenty of pairs sprawled out on the floor, making late night navigation to the bathroom more than a little treacherous. Talk about the need to “tiptoe through the tulips!”

What’s more, under even superficial examination, it wouldn’t require a highly-skilled archeologist to uncover some skeletal remains, too. In my case, I’ve had nearly 65 years of accumulations.

Given a card catalog, I could easily fill a few cabinets with regrettable incidents. They come in all shapes and sizes. Sure, some may have been a sign of the times of a bygone era, but I am without excuse. This abbreviated column prevents an exhaustive confession, but there exists a plethora of unquestionably errant thoughts, words and deeds which have failed to advance any worthy cause of goodness, fairness, justice and love in the world.

My hunch, however, is that I am not alone in declaring that were anyone intent upon unearthing some dirt, there would be plenty of humus to go around. Who doesn’t have a little bit of decomposition going on behind closed closet doors, anyway?

What I find quizzical is that a select few, with a severe “axe to grind,” seem intent on turning a blind eye to anything rotting in their own closet while they arrogantly swing wide the doors and try to expose the rattling of bones in that of their so-called “enemies.”

Their goal is not merely to quietly call attention to the mistakes and failures, thereby slightly shaming these others. No, having scratched the surface or dug down deep with a backhoe, the preferred consequence is for these details of any past grievances of socially-unacceptable behavior be placed on public display.

Today, an apparent lifeless skeleton can take on a life of its own. The egregious result, in our cancel culture, is that of a resultant dismissal, firing, closure, replacement, coupled with a hoped-for sentence of lifelong scorn and exclusion!

Should any be inclined, I could be easy prey for an antagonist having gained entrance into my closet.

As a handful of people know, I have a strong aversion to horror in all its varied forms. Rest assured, I will not be pursuant of what’s in your closet unless you choose to extend an invitation. Valuing vulnerability, honesty and transparency in life and faith, I intend to keep opening my door as time passes.

I believe it best that forgiveness, repentance and opportunity for new beginnings take up priceless space on our clothes racks, especially given any things despicable in our respective histories.

I was reminded recently of this liberating alternative while reading from the New Testament book of James. In one place he writes, “For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.”

We’d make for a better world were each to reach into the wardrobe and put on mercy. It’s what set us captive and closeted truly free.

By Ken Pollitz

Guest Column

Ken Pollitz moved to Ottawa in 1991 as mission-developer/pastor of New Creation Lutheran Church. His biweekly column provides insights and viewpoints from Putnam County. Contact him at

Ken Pollitz moved to Ottawa in 1991 as mission-developer/pastor of New Creation Lutheran Church. His biweekly column provides insights and viewpoints from Putnam County. Contact him at

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