Anyone accepting this blog as their exclusive source of wisdom – modesty impedes me from revealing the exact number – knows, without question, that personal clothing have feelings.
I have written about the apparel who (they deplore being identified as “that”) took understandable umbrage at being left behind when I went on vacation. In the “Clothing Fraternity” that’s a palpable insult.
This one is worse.
“Moving Day” is the “Day of Atonement” for t-shirts. Wait. Before I explain that (as if explanation were necessary)…
We have a rule in our house: You buy a new t-shirt, you get rid of an old one. (This rule is not exclusive to t-shirts. Shoes, underwear, sweat sox… so no knee-jerk attacks about “t-shirt discrimination.”) The reason for this directive is obvious.
Haberdasherial glut reduction.
Okay, where was I? Oh yeah.
“Moving Day” is the “Day of Atonement” for t-shirts.” On that day, it is determined which t-shirts shall live (as essential elements of my wardrobe) and which t-shirts shall be ignominiously tossed onto the “Giveaway Pile”, winding up who the heck knows where. (“My cousin wipes windshields.”)
This is bigger than “You are not going to Hawaii.”
This time, it’s serious.
I bought four new t-shirts on our recent visit to Indiana, a necessity not a pampered indulgence, as I wear t-shirts every day, and some of my “regulars” are fading and shrinking. (Unless I’m getting bigger. No. They are definitely shrinking.)
Over the years – fifteen-plus, or so – I have accumulated thirty-seven t-shirts. With the recent arrivals, it is functionally necessary to “cull the herd”, the determining criteria of “Who shall perish and who shall be saved” less practical than idiosyncratically emotional.
Determining the fate of others: It is an onerous responsibility. (So I know exactly how God feels.) But it has to be done. Otherwise, we face crippling overcrowding in the Pomerantz clothes closet.
(Point of Personal Privilege. I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute to the person who – I don’t know when, maybe back in the sixties – first saw t-shirts as promotional billboards. To me, that person deserves the Nobel Prize for “Seeing White T-shirts And Having The Ingenuity and Insight To Dye Them Various Colors And Put Writing On Them.” And if they don’t have a Nobel Prize for that, they ought to. Who cares about Physics anyway? I mean, it’s something. But does it really compare to the iconic “I’m With Stupid”?)
And so we begin.
There they are, laid nervously out on the bed. Thirty-three of them will remain. Four of them will be history.
The question is…
Two t-shirts are immediately off the eliminational table: The t-shirt presented to me by the Guild for my participation in the last Writers’ Strike, and my commemorative t-shirt from the Camp Ogama reunion, both still in mint condition, from having never been worn.
The rest, however, are under equal consideration:
There is the highly imaginative “Hand” t-shirt, now old and fading. (Not dissimilar to its owner.) The thing is, it’s a classic. Citizens of Michigan – and a few others, perhaps, but not many – know that the state is geographically shaped like a hand. This t-shirt includes the drawing of an open right hand facing straight forward, while the left hand’s “Peter Pointer” finger indicates the corresponding spot where the t-shirt was originally purchased, in this case, the fleshy part down from the baby finger representing Harbor County Michigan, situated in the southwest corner of the state. I can’t throw that away. It is an unerring “Conversation Starter.” I mean, look how long it took me to describe it. And it was worth every word. Wasn’t it?
There’s “The Great Ones” t-shirt – four renown Indian chiefs – Red Cloud, Geronimo, Sitting Bull and one I don’t know, posed like the American presidents on Mount Rushmore. The shirt has an identifiable pinhole in it. But… I don’t know… haven’t we done enough to the Indians already?
The “El Salvador” t-shirt was too small for me from the get-go. But it was a gift from our magnificent housekeeper Connie. How would she feel, I wonder, if, in the course of her labors, she goes into the sunroom and spots her generous present, languishing hopelessly on the “Giveaway Pile”? As a “sensitivity tipoff”, during my selection process, she happened to enter the bedroom and asked, with detectable interest, “What are you doing?” She seemed to intuit the diminutive “El Salvador” t-shirt being precariously on the chopping block. Could I have the audacity to prove this magnanimous woman correct? (What do you think?)
And on it went. Through the daughterly acknowledgements – Anna’s multiple bestowments of a Willie Nelson t-shirt, a Nashville Café Loveless t-shirt advertising “Hot Biscuits and Country Ham”, a t-shirt touting the 163rd Annual Muskingum County Fair in South-East Ohio.
What about the redundancies: Four t-shirts from our visit to Turkey. Would it be fair to the “one-off’s” to hold on to them all?
There was a t-shirt purchased at the gift shop adjoining the Gettysburg battlefield. Could I in good conscience casually toss it away after they gave their lives that that nation might live? I most certainly could not. And a passionate ditto for the Ford’s Theatre t-shirt.
Let me tell you, this was no easy assignment. But finally…
I make my choices. (Which will remain private, sparing the inevitable humiliation.) And the job is completed.
Though not entirely.
I also bought some new underwear.