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Shirt Happens


Can a guy have too many t-shirts?


The last time I swapped winter clothes for summer clothes, my t-shirts didn’t all fit in my closet. I have 80-some short-sleeved t-shirts and about a dozen with long sleeves. That seems like a lot.


To be fair, though, many of these shirts I’ve had more than 25 years. Several were freebies from the blood center, where I donate every eight weeks. Most are from discount racks and flea markets, because I don’t like paying more than $3 for articles of clothing. Quite a few were gifts, so they didn’t cost a lot of money. Some I wear just for sleeping, and some I’ve never worn.


Some of the ones I don’t wear are my most prized, but I think that’s a mistake. For example, two of my daughters were in another state on Father’s Day, so they sent a shirt with their hand prints painted on it, and two sisters added theirs later. I was so proud I wanted to keep it forever, so rather than wearing it, it’s been in the back of my closet since 2005, where none of us have enjoyed it.


The same for one of my Big Smith shirts. My son Bradley and I bought it together at one of their shows, but neither of us ever wore it because it was a cool souvenir. I finally put it on for one of the band’s last concerts, and now wear it regularly. Of course, when you have nearly 100 t-shirts, regularly doesn’t necessarily mean often.


Some of my favorite shirts came from the John Lennon tribute concerts we have in our town, like one that has an original image drawn by Lennon and used with Yoko’s permission. I guess I had 10 or so Lennon shirts, but I wore most of them out, and I gave my favorite one to a beautiful woman who made it look better than I did.


So I need to cull some of the shirts, but don’t really know how to decide which to give away. I can’t get rid of the Mighty Mouse shirt, because, hey, it’s Mighty Mouse, and I wore that one while watching World Team Tennis the night Kristen Schlukebir autographed it. One hand on my shoulder, the other holding the pen to my chest, her fine face inches from mine. I am keeping that shirt.




From I Have No Accordion: A Mishmash Memoir of a Life Sometimes Gone Askew.

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