Such is the laughable saga of my former T-shirts, those breezy garments I donned on college campuses during my carefree halcyon days.
Being a journalist and chronicler of mankind's folly, I pulled a few of these stinkers out, photographed and converted them into pixels for your amusement.
Steal yourself, gentle reader, for the images contained hereafter are embarrassing and shocking, even to a jaded 21st century audience.
Keep in mind as you peruse these pathetic photos: I wore these during a particular phase of my life - my early twenties - when my exposure to the wider world was severely limited. My weltanschauung still in its embryonic stages, a paltry adolescent instead of the fully-formed, self-acualized studmuffin I am today.
One of the tamest shirts I owned, a simple Armenian flag with a descriptor for the uninitiated. Armenia's national colors are red, blue and orange. The red symbolizes the blood of the martyrs, the blue the sky and the orange the land of the Armenian nation. At least that's what I tell the rubes who inquired about the shirt. Moving on...
Back in the early 1990s, The Simpsons were all the rage. So anything with Bart Simpson on it became topical, a nod to contemporary pop culture and the zeitgeist of our time. There's officially licensed Simpsons products and there's this unfortunate drek. Bart Simpson is supposed to be Armenia, while that Apu-looking dude is Turkey. "Eat my vardigs, man!" is akin to Bart's oft-abused catchphrase "Eat my shorts, man!"Vardigs is Armenian for underwear. Just what I want on my clothing; references only a fraction of the population understands. I don't think I ever wore this T-shirt. I mean, who would? Armenia beating Turkey at anything is laughable and pathetic. Bart Simpson looks pissed off. He's winning the race! Even when he's winning and beating his ancestral foe, he's still flashing a hateful, glowering stare. I know the Armenian genocide happened a century ago, but ultra-nationalistic shit like this is moronic. If you wear this T-shirt, you're telling the world you like combining cartoons with Third World genocide. I don't get the point of this shirt.
WHO WOULD WEAR THIS UGLY THING?
Ralph Waldo Emerson. Transcendentalist philosopher, poet and intellectual heavyweight. Man of faith, words and ideas. Maybe this is why he's naked and striking a pose a la Rodin's The Thinker. Maybe he's wondering where he put his clothes. Or maybe he's embarrassed to be depicted on a T-shirt naked in the woods. Sit on a tree stump, get a splinter in your ass. Negates your "Nature" essay, doesn't it? One thing's for sure; I wasn't getting any girls with this T-shirt. Don't get me wrong: as a conversation starter, it's brilliant. As a pussy magnet, it's horrible. Women tend not to talk to you when you have naked poets on your shirt. In hindsight, this was a poor fashion choice. Moving on...
I attended Harvard University in the summer of 1993 as part of a summer studies program. Took an expository writing class. Soaked up the collegiate ivy league atmosphere almost as much as this T-shirt soaked up my armpit sweat. I wore the hell out of this shirt, even when I returned home. Studying at Harvard, even if it was one solitary class, was a rewarding and enlightening experience. I'm grateful my parents shelled out the cash for me to attend, almost as much as I'm grateful for this T-shirt.
We end not with a T-shirt, but a sweatshirt. Feeling bitterly cold in this godless, pitiful universe? Warm up with French existentialist philosopher and political activist Jean-Paul Sartre. Yes, the man who wrote "Hell is other people" will keep you toasty warm as Hell in this sweatshirt. In my early twenties, I read a lot of philosophy and fancied myself an intellectual. So naturally, I wanted my wardrobe to reflect these burgeoning heady pursuits.
WHAT THE FUCK WAS WRONG WITH ME?