A friend of ours in Brooklyn, John Dermot Woods, was telling us recently about how much he liked his Battenwear Utility Jacket.
We were psyched to hear it, not only because greatly admire John’s work as a writer and illustrator, but because even though it’s also one of OUR favorite jackets of all times, we’ve always have a hard time explaining just why we love it so much.
So, we asked John to write a little bit about why he likes the Utility Jacket, never expecting he’d come back to us with a tale of defying death and surprising ER doctors. Check it out below.
The other day, on my way to work, I ran my bike into the side of a FedEx truck. Or maybe he ran into me. Either way, I ended up with a left pinkie sticking out in the wrong direction. By the grace of my bike helmet and my Battenwear Utility Jacket, the rest of my person remained intact. I sideswiped the truck, my whole body running down all twenty-four feet of the vehicle. My pinkie and my chinos were destroyed, but my Utility Jacket escaped without a tear, without a skidmark, without even some dirt on the shoulder to brush off with my injured hand. I was almost as surprised by that as by the unnatural angle of my finger. In fact, I looked up the jacket’s material while I sat behind a thin divider in the E.R. listening to the moans of the triage room, waiting for the attending physician. (When she finally arrived, she laughed aloud at the sight of my hand. “How could you possibly have done that?”) I remembered that Shinya likes traditional outdoor fabrics, and apparently this one is a military grade cotton sateen, which sounds “tech-y,” but it’s actually soft and natural feeling.
One painful yank and push on my finger and all was straight again. It had been dislocated at the second joint. As the nurse worked her magic, she informed me: “I’ve never done this before!” Reassuring.
My finger reattached and splinted, it was time to ride home. I had to get back up lest some irrational fear of biking set in and hinder my daily commute. At least I had my Utility Jacket to keep me warm, the corduroy collar a soft reassurance that things were okay. The two-way zipper lets me wear a big coat, and as many layers as I can handle beneath it, when the New York cold begins to bite—which it was that afternoon—but it gives my legs enough freedom to move, just in case I have to bail when the door of a dollar van pops open two feet in front of me on Flatbush, or a delivery guy on an eBike decides to go 30 mph in the wrong direction up the bike lane, or…I run into the side of a truck. From October through April, if I’m getting on my bike-which is almost every day—I’m putting on my Utility Jacket.