On the eighth day, after God had seen all that he had created and deemed it all very good and well with no notes at all, he was surprised to see something that unnerved him: a naked man in a canoe, shouting at the top of his lungs while paddling down the Penobscot River in Maine. It was Leon Leonwood Bean and he was screaming, “Let there be flannel shirts!”
God anxiously wondered, “If I am the Divine Creator and have created all that is before me, for how can there be a being who shouts about an object I have not yet brought into being?”
A disheveled and wet Leon Leonwood Bean heard this inquisitive internal monologue and didn’t have time for any of God’s existential bullshit, for he was naked, freezing, and paddling his canoe like Grizzly Adams on acid.
“For the love of God, please, let there be flannel!” Leon Leonwood Bean repeated.
God spoke aloud to the naked, unkempt paddler. “What is this flannel you speak of?”
Leon Leonwood Bean had just passed the Merrill Brook and decided that this was as good of a spot as any to catch his breath and shout at the skies. He laughed at God’s query and said, “You don’t know what flannel is because you haven’t heard my baller-ass, fortune-building plans for it yet. That two-bit Michigan dipshit Hamilton Carhartt claims to be the ‘first father of flannel,’ but he doesn’t get it the way I do. He doesn’t have innovative shirt designs or true-blue Maine grit. If you’ll allow me to wax poetic for a second, I can tell you about a new kind of shirt so versatile, it’ll blow your freaking mind!”
God was intrigued, so Leon Leonwood continued. “Picture a soft, supple, woolen shirt capable of plaid patterns so glorious and mesmerizing that it can appeal to both tough-ass Maine loggers and pumpkin spice guzzling hipsters. Imagine a beautifully brushed red and black plaid patterned shirt that’s so iconic and reasonably priced it can serve as the lifelong uniform for all the world’s Pavement-loving, beard-balmin’, mid-to-senior-level advertising creatives. Envision a shirt that is meticulously woven with long-staple cotton and then brushed eight times (stupid Carhartt only brushes six!) and given a goddamn ‘touch test’ by a master weaver who deems it soft and sturdy enough to be worn, yet still cool enough to get style points from fashion and outdoor magazines. And lastly, understand that this miracle shirt can be thrown into the washer and dryer after a hard day’s work and come out as soft and snuggly as it was on day one, or on day eight, if you, God, would oblige in helping me bring my true vision for flannel greatness to light. I mean, pretty cool, huh, God? Whaddya say?”
God knew he had created man only a few days before, but after seeing this disheveled and naked version screaming shirt company ideas at him, he realized he was unprepared for this sort of business proposition.
So being God, he paused time and thought about what Leon Leonwood Bean had said. He wondered about button collars, yarn-dyed tartans, double-stitched seams, and if the Michigan manufacturer Hamilton Carhartt was a dipshit. God saw the merits of a potential flannel shirt empire, but he also saw an obvious flaw in Leon Leonwood Bean’s thinking; he believed there was more to flannel than just shirts. God saw flannel bed sheets, flannel sleepwear, winter jeans with flannel lining, and even flannel turtlenecks and very cool yet stylishly professional flannel blazers.
“Pretty cool is right, Leon Leonwood,” God said. “But I have a counter proposition for you: If I conjure you up a men’s XL tall Rob Roy tartan flannel shirt that has enough length, strength, softness, and warmth to get you to the end of the Penobscot River, can I have twenty percent equity in your company and one dollar on the sale of every shirt? I’ll even throw in a just-thought-up pair of flannel-lined jeans if you stop bad-mouthing Hamilton Carhartt and grant me the creative privilege to run ideas by you anytime. I think there’s more to your flannel empire than just shirts.”
Leon Leonwood Bean happily agreed. “What? Yes! Flannel-lined jeans!? Whatever you want. Just dress me now, please, God, I’m freezing!”
And so, after this agreement between God and man, the L. L. Bean retail company was born. And then God rested and waited for his order to arrive in three to five business days.