Thursday, April 09, 2009

T-Shirt Retirement

By "retirement," of course, I mean an inelegant throwing away of said articles of clothing. When I "retired" a pair of pants of mine over the summer, before I left Berlin, said motion involved stuffing them into a street-level garbage can in Prenzlauer Berg--it was a good pair of pants, too, in terms of years of service, having lasted from September 2006 all the way until June 2008 (although I mostly wear work pants (with a pair of khakis in reserve for the rare occasions when I need to look "presentable"). I was both concerned for the image that leaving a pair of pants behind in the garbage can of the flat where I was living last summer would make for my Gastgeberin, and also, I suppose, in retrospect, there's some chance that my pants are now enjoying their retirement attached to some garbage-lucky homeless person.

I switched to green work pants when I returned to the States. A change of pace, and a color, perhaps, more appropriate for Miami--it turned out, luckily, also, that it was the same make and color of pants as those favored by the maintenance staff of the office building in Manhattan where I worked in July (this, I suppose, reveals a certain problematic element of my fashion sense, in that, clearly, just because I wear "work" pants doesn't mean that I "work"--I do, however, tend to wear the same pair of pants everyday (I think this fact is already mostly public knowledge), so the sturdier the better, so there's something disingenuous about my pride in appearing working class, since, even though I am just a poor graduate student, I'm still just a bourgeois motherfucker). I made a New Year's resolution (I don't really believe in New Year's as a holiday, but was forced into making one) to switch back to dark blue pants this year, but the green pants are holding up so well that I haven't gotten around to getting a new pair of pants just yet (my disbelief in New Year's, perhaps, can be seen to be the same as a belief, in that the result, the breaking of a resolution, was the same).

But I'm not here to talk about my pants; I'm here to talk about my t-shirts. Specifically, the fact that several of the t-shirts that I've accumulated in my life (the bulk of which, actually, date from high school) are no longer wearable. I have a lot of t-shirts, so this doesn't really affect my ability to dress myself on a daily basis, but part of me is rather sad, since, back in 9th or 10th grade, when I first became aware of the t-shirt-as-affectation (as opposed to t-shirt as that-thing-that-I-wear-most-days-anyway), my arbitrary decision, re: t-shirts, was that to qualify as "vintage" it had to be 10 years old, but now, 9 years since my graduation from high school (13 years from the decision-making), most of the t-shirts that I've had since then, due to abject mishandling in various laundromats over the years, have deteriorated to the point where, even in multiple layers several are no longer wearable (don't worry, though, the double-layer Planet Hollywood t-shirt is still alive and well). The following list is a representative sample of the t-shirts which I've had to retire in the past month:

Mississippi State (maroon ink on grey t-shirt): 1998, Cotton Bowl, Dallas
Cotton Bowl (white t-shirt, corporate logo prevalent): 1998, Cotton Bowl, Dallas
Cherry Blossom Festival (white t-shirt, pink logo): 2000, Cherry Blossom Parade, Wash., D.C.
Medieval Times (white t-shirt, tournament of champions logo): 1998, Medieval Times, Dallas
*Wild Toucan Restaurant (hot pink t-shirt, colorful logo): mid-'90s, family vacation to Arizona
...

There's more, but again, that's representative. Perhaps the moral of this story is that the biggest perk of being in the marching band in high school is that you wind up with a bunch of t-shirts. The bright pink "Wild Toucan" t-shirt is really the biggest lost, here. I stole the shirt from our father in Senior High, and it featured prominently in my wardrobe up through this year, when it finally became too threadbare and hole-ridden to be affectable, even in a decrepit way. The only remaining t-shirt evidence that I was in marching band is the still-large accumulation of Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood t-shirts that I have (though most of them require an undershirt, due to holes), though they're less distinguishable as marching band t-shirts than as a fashion affectation that I think only I ever "got," in terms of the "joke" that it was to me to wear them everyday (I'm pretty sure there's a shitty Simpsons episode where some old man always wears a Planet Hollywood jacket, that at least somewhat informs the aesthetic at work (beyond just the "be inscrutable" kind of thing that's probably present)). As for t-shirts taken from Dad, I've still got an electric blue Mercy hospital t-shirt that has held up incredibly well and is close to occupying the "favorite t-shirt" spot in my heart, now that the pink t-shirt is dead and gone. For the record, I no longer have any Boy Scout related t-shirts, only three Carnegie Mellon t-shirts (none of which ever occupy the top layer of my clothing). The bulk of the t-shirts-as-such that I have left are beer related, all of which (everything from Coors Light to Saranac to Smuttynose to Rogue) are in good shape and years away from retirement.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jack said...

I don't think you should assume out of hand that a homeless man would think he was lucky to find your discarded pants.

Pete getting new t-shirts for his birthday this year: check.

4/09/2009 7:49 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

For the record, I do not need or want any t-shirts for my birthday. Thanks.

4/13/2009 11:49 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Pete getting t-shirts anyway: check.

4/13/2009 11:51 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

ARGH!

4/13/2009 12:18 PM  

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