Fifteenkey

A place to indulge my narcissism... and write stuff...

Does your tee-shirt define you?


About a dozen tee-shirts are currently in my wardrobe rotation, primarily adorned at the gym, but some face public scrutiny. Every time I put one on, I sub-consciously pause to consider its source and meaning. My South by Southwest Music Conference tee from ’99 means a lot to me, but why? It is because it symbolizes some indie-music cool I want to convey? Probably.

Of course that clashes badly with my KISS tourshirt from the 2002 tour I saw with Megan, but I had to have it, OK? It’s strictly worn to bed, but not when I have company, if you get my meaning. (Note: Wearing the KISS shirt to bed is currently on a Ripken-like streak…) So, tee-shirts do give us meaning by associating us with things, places, times, accomplishments, institutions or movements. After Massachusetts was the only state to vote McGovern in ’72, I imagine a tee-shirt proclaimed, “Don’t Blame Us.”

Needless to say, if it’s not 100% cotton, throw it away. One of my favorite tee’s is a faux-vintage Red Sox shirt. It’s really getting old and soft and it was purchased long before the historic 2004 season. It says I’m a long suffering fan, well-deserving of the world championship. Some t’s are like Reeses Pieces, gently dropped in time to mark where we’ve been. Even then, I buy in Martha’s Vineyard, but pass in Cleveland. I don’t care if the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame is there. It’s Cleveland.

I have quite a few old teez from my days with NEC. They came in those pressure compressed packages that take about 3 washes to become unwrinkled. They symbolize a job I was really proud of. My contributions to the AFIS division helped “put assholes in jail,” as one of our former customers put so eloquently in front of 1,200 peers…

Finally, always beware of t-shirt gifts. One I received is a personal favorite for its symbolism, but it misses the cotton test by 2% polyester… The gifter obviously believed the image conveyed something about my personality. I think she nailed it if not for that stupid happy face…

What’s your favorite T?

3 Comments

  1. I guess my favorite is my Teenage Fanclub t-shirt with Casper the Friendly Ghost on the back. It’s from their ’92 show in Cleveland where Uncle Tupelo opened. Both were superb! The shirt remains in my regular rotation.

  2. My Happy Lizard/Key West t-shirt, from ’93. It has permanent grass stains from the year I dug and planted my first garden, and that makes me love it even more. It makes the kids laugh, because of the funny drawing of the lizard.

  3. If the Red Sox T is the blue (bluish-grey?) one – I’m partial to that one too. -M.

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