A Wearable Autobiography
I was cleaning out my clothes closet the other day, frankly, so that when I die, someone else won’t have to do it, and I counted 127 T-shirts, some going back to the 1950s. As I looked through them, I thought to myself, “Geez,” this is the story of my life; it’s all here: ships I was on, colleges I attended, places I’ve been, sights I’ve seen, causes I supported, concerts I attended, automobiles I coveted, friends who deserted me, women who dumped me – my whole existence reduced to three-color screen printing, recorded on cotton, guaranteed not to shrink.
Here’s the big and small moments of my life as recorded by T-shirt, a “bildungsroman” novel (dealing with a person’s formative years) on cloth; a moveable montage of events in several sizes; a wearable history of a life ill-spent.
Remember that old TV series, “The Naked City?”
Almost every literati knows it was a take-off on the works of Damon Runyan, the newspaperman and short-story writer who wrote about the world of Broadway in New York City during Prohibition. Each episode ended with the narrator speaking the iconic line: “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”
Well, there are 127 stories in my clothes closet, and here’s just a few. My life in T-shirts. By anyone’s calculus, not much to show for three score and ten.
For example, here’s my Jerry Lee Lewis concert T-shirt, but it makes me mad. I had anted up my last few discretionary dollars to attend his concert at the Jackson, Mississippi, coliseum, and he didn’t show up.
No bus, No pumping piano. No great balls of fire. No Jerry Lee.