Thursday, July 28, 2005

A tale of two t-shirts

Men, by our nature, tend away from the sentimental, at least publicly. Most movies or shows that are self-described "romantic comedies" direct the former towards the fairer sex and the latter towards us, the slightly-less-hairy-than-gorillas-but-still-pretty-hairy people. We have only recently been exposed to the fact that we too can groom ourselves beyond shampoo and soap.

It is my asserted, though, that every man has a hidden place, deep within his soul that holds the candle of love. That candle is lit in remembrance of the Favorite T-Shirt. Every man has one- it's a piece of clothing that transcends mere mortal comprehension. It's the same shirt you wore on that beach in Mexico as when you scored 3 straight shots in that pick-up basketball game, or when you made out with that chick whose name you didn't know and never will. It's magic- nothing bad can ever happen to you in that shirt. In fact, you may just want to be buried in it. Even threadbare, ill-fitting and faded, there's no other garment that completes you like that shirt.

I have had many Favorite T-Shirts in my life. When one is unwearable, you move on with great regret and sadness to the next. Many have faded into the mists of time, the details forgotten but the love still apparent and true. Then there was my Volcom shirt (my eyes are misting right now).

It was summer of 1998, and I was teaching at a summer camp. Actually, it was computer camp, which is like summer camp, but for dorks or children whose parents foisted them upon us in the vain attempt to push their children into a future job. The camp is not important- it was during that summer in Miami that I bought myself my grey Volcom shirt.

It was a light grey, the color of early morning fog just before it dissipates in the sunlight. It featured a stylized "Volcom" in a darker grey on the front, and a smart-looking "Volcom" on the underside of the sleeve as well, so that upside-down people could easily determine who made my shirt.

In 1998, Volcom was nigh unknown on the West Coast. So when, a year after I was wearing my shirt they began shipping different shirts to my area, I felt good knowing that it was no doubt caused due to my shirt-wearing.

Wherever I went, that shirt was there. I graduated from college, and came home and changed into that shirt. I met my then-future wife, and it was there. Rugged and comfortable, I imagined myself in the far future, my wife and children gathering around me as I wore that shirt. Then I'd be buried in it, with an awesome laser light show as my casket was lowered into the ground.

Then, tragedy: Our cat, Coco (hereafter referred to as "The Destroyer", "The Defiler" and "Black Cat Unit #31223" alternately) got loose in the backyard. Immediately, I girded my loins and donned my Volcom shirt to protect me from the bitter midsummer night San Diego weather, and headed out to retrieve my cat. And retrieve him I did, and until about 5 feet from the back door, he was fine, purring as I mumbled gentle words of comfort.

Then, he became a whirling fury of claws and menace. Dropping him, I crawled back into the house, the deep gouges his claws had dug bleeding profusely. It was then I noticed my shirt. Tattered and torn, it was the worst thing I've ever seen, and I believe I can say without exaggeration that the horror was worse than when a kid jumps on one of those big trampolines and gets caught in the springs at the edge. Oh, and the kid is on fire. Times like...I dunno, 30. That much horror.

I still have that shirt, shredded as it is. It will live again, and when it does, I will re-enter the bright and dreamy world that once existed for me. Not to be dramatic, but it wasn't until after the shirt was victimized that September 11 happened. That's all I'm saying.

In spite of this, I have found a new Favorite T-Shirt. A gift from my wife, it is green with a yellow clover and the words "O'Hurley" splayed across the front. When she bought it, they asked her, "Oh, is your husband Irish?", and she responded, "No, he's a Jew!" and they laughed and perhaps if I were more of a devout half-Jew or perhaps had no sense of humor I would have been upset at that, but things being the way they are, it's funny. Also, the shirt is miraculous in that it somehow makes me look much more in shape than I am. Perhaps my Volcom shirt's spirit managed to find a new host?

Some people have treasured possessions like stuffed animals, heirlooms and jewelry. I have my t-shirts. And my bank card blanket. But that's it. Oh, and my train lamp. The point is the item doesn't matter- it's what it means that does.

Oh, and my old computer parts....


At 9:46 PM, Blogger paddalumpakins said...

I definately a t-shirt woman myself. They don't have quite the same connection for me as they do for you - but I'm known for owning good t-shirts. My favorite t-shirt comes from the blog She sells male versions of the t-shirt too which I highly recommend to all.

btw, thanks for leaving such a nice message on my blog. It made my day:)

At 4:40 PM, Blogger ChickyBabe said...

Nice to know that not only women hold on to clothing that reminds us of happy moments. I keep a dress that miraculously ripped while I was in Venice as souvenir of that embarrassing moment...

BTW, you've been tagged !


Post a Comment

<< Home