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June 19, 2009
Ugly Shirts With Silly
“Nice shirt,” my first wife Sally said the other day as we
were sitting at the breakfast table.
I know, I know, it sounded like a compliment, right? But trust me, she said
it kind of . . . well . . . snotty-like, the way many wives say things like
You see, I have this fondness for t-shirts. I prefer shirts with neat little
messages emblazoned on them.
One of my favorites carries the words “I LISTEN TO THE VOICES IN MY TACKLE
The last time I wore that shirt out in public Sally complained long and
“Why did you wear that hideous shirt today?” she asked.
“I wore it,” I quickly replied, “because I happen to love this shirt.”
Sally shook her head and came back with “Love it all you want, but it’s
certainly not a shirt a normal person would wear to church.”
She told me basically the same thing a few weeks before when
I accompanied her to a shopping mall wearing a t-shirt bearing the words
“I’M WITH STUPID.”
I thought it was funny, but, alas, she didn’t exactly agree
Despite Sally’s negative feelings about message-bearing t-shirts, I have
something like 11 million of them in my closet.
My best shirts, in my opinion, anyway, are the ones that are
faded and stretched out of shape by countless washings. If some of those
shirts also happen to be riddled with holes the size of golf balls so much
The truth is, I’m most comfortable when I’m wearing tattered
and colorless t-shirts. Or, as I told Sally recently, “I like to think my
t-shirts make bold statements about the man who is wearing them.”
She nodded and said, “You’re right about that. Your shirts
scream out ‘Hi, there, I’m Bob the Slob’“.
I wasn’t always a lousy dresser. When I was a teenager growing up in the
1950s I was into all the latest dress-styles.
I had a duck-tail haircut and a pair or two of those pointy-toed “stiletto”
shoes that were all the rage back then. For a little while I even wore
pegged pants, but then my mother told me, “If you wear those pants for very
long they will cut off the circulation to your legs and your feet will fall
I dearly loved those pants, but no kid – not even one as
fashion-conscious as I was back then – wanted his feet to fall off, so I
pitched the pants in the trash.
But I’m not going give up so easily this time around. I’ll
continue to build my collection of “ugly shirts with silly sayings,” as
Sally puts it.
In two weeks we’re going to a wedding. I’ll wear a suit, black shoes and the
t-shirt my son Chris and daughter-in-law Tanya bought me for Easter.
It’s a pretty blue shirt with the words “PADDLE FASTER. I HEAR BANJOS”
splashed across the front.
I can’t wait to see Sally’s face.
Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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