Esquire (USA)


- —Michael Sebastian

In December, I got an email from Seasons

Hospice Foundation. They were reaching out on behalf of longtime Esquire reader Scott LaPointe. Three years ago, Scott, who’s forty-two and lives outside Detroit, was diagnosed with ALS, the degenerati­ve disorder known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Within a year of his diagnosis, Scott was in a wheelchair. In 2020, he entered home hospice care. When a representa­tive from Seasons Hospice Foundation wrote to Esquire, it was because Scott was preparing to die. In 2006, Scott read the first issue of Esquire’s Big Black Book, a style manual for men. It was formative, inspiring him to think more carefully about what he wears and how he takes care of his clothes—how he carries himself in the world. With advice from the magazine, for instance, Scott replaced all his wire and plastic hangers with wooden ones. He wanted to give a copy to his eleven-year-old son, Alex. Since September, Scott’s been recording voice memos for his parents; his wife, Jamie; their daughter, Brooke; and Alex, for whom he’s building a road map to adulthood. There’s advice on how to treat a woman and reminders to get out of his comfort zone and seek adventure. The Big Black Book is part of this effort. In his absence, Scott wants Alex to refer to it for the skills he would hope to teach his son, like how to pick out a suit, tie a half-Windsor knot, sew a button. That’s why Scott’s hospice organizati­on got in touch with Esquire; although he’d kept his copy for years, he couldn’t track it down. We overnighte­d another one. Around this time, I found myself caught in a deep funk. The pandemic and everything it’s meant had worn me down. I was wrung out and uninspired, exhausted. Then I got the email about Scott. It underscore­d that what we do at Esquire—from the style advice to the investigat­ive journalism—matters to readers. Just before Christmas, I called to thank him. Scott’s voice was weak but clear. Like me, he’s a lifelong Chicago Bears fan—an instant bond—so we shared our frustratio­n over Bears QB Mitch Trubisky. Scott told me about where he grew up, his career as a financial advisor, and his family. He explained why he wanted Alex, who’s mostly interested in Legos and Fortnite, to have this copy of the Big Black Book. “He’s not overly concerned with how to polish shoes or pick out a work wardrobe just yet. It’s going to be important for him later.” We talked about his perspectiv­e after living with ALS. “I was pretty patient beforehand, but once you have to rely on others to do literally everything for you, it gives you a whole new sense of what’s important.” He paused. Speaking has become difficult at this stage of the disease. “Sorry, I need to catch my breath a bit. “I know this gets said a lot, and I guess I believed it before, but things can change so quickly. Don’t take anything for granted.” And because Scott is someone who cares about this stuff—like me, like you—we talked about style. “If you have a sense of style, you can own that and have it be yours. It helped me become more confident in what I wanted my style to be.” Scott has chosen his wardrobe for the casket: a custom-made three-piece suit, suspenders, and a pocket square. His tie—he’s selected several of them—depends on the season when he passes away. A few days after our call, I was looking at the stories we had planned for this issue, which is all about personal style. Scott’s words echoed in my head, and I gathered the fashion editors to discuss carving out a new section of the magazine dedicated to personal style. So, inspired by Scott, we’re introducin­g The Method, whose mission is to inspire you to find and develop your own sense of style. You can read it starting on page 36. One day, I hope Alex will find the advice as useful as his dad has.

 ??  ?? Scott LaPointe with Brooke, Alex, and Jamie.
Scott LaPointe with Brooke, Alex, and Jamie.

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