I can’t locate the records as those have all been destroyed by now, so the only recollection is my memory.
Porous memory, at that, not exactly the most reliable, but I can place the T-Shirts themselves to a set of packages I bought at Sam’s Club. This would’ve been between Summer of ’93 and the Fall of ’94, when I was living in a little single bedroom apartment just off the shores of Austin’s Town Lake, with an eye on a certain trailer park, just over the highway. Sam’s was about the only bulk discount store at the time.
I bought cat food, kitty litter, Diet Dr Pepper, and sundry other supplies.
What I can recollect? It was the old South Austin Sam’s — I would have to return the plastic bottle-rack with each bulk 16-ounce case of Diet Dr Pepper or pay a core charge, maybe $3. I can’t recall.
What I can recall, it was when I was getting comfortable with my “day job” in perpetuity? I started buying packs of Hanes, 100% Cotton, Made in USA, black, pocket T-Shirts. 3 pack of shirts was less than $5.
At that price, the t-shirts were immediately subjected to my alterations, got to where I cut the sleeves back to the seam, and the neck, I would trim out the collar. Shirts folded flat, covered more than a wife beater but less than a regular T. I wound up with maybe a dozen, and in recent years, I’ve started using them again, but it’s not like I stopped.
In school, in Arizona, I was exposed to a large number of people of a particular faith, one that favored sacred under-garments — no judgment. Likewise, I developed a similar approach, as a way to protect myself from sitting and doing readings all day. A good day was as many as 20 or 30 15-minute sessions, or could be, when I was able to handle it, and the customers were there.
These days, it’s much less, but I still employ the same techniques for “psychic” protection. Part of the foundation goes back to those old, cut-up t-shirts. Black is an ultimate form of psychic protection, as it repeals all negative. Look at stand-up performers, usually wear black on stage.
My modified T-Shirt collection, they all went back to that universal time, that narrow time-frame, early 90’s, and the T-Shirt 3-Pack at Sam’s. When I travelled extensively, the T-shirts would pack flat, so I could have a fresh one every morning. Goes well under any number of brightly-hued “beach” shirts, which also pack flatly, and deign to show wrinkles. Those T-Shirts also wore well under more formal attire, again, lending that sense of protection even if it might not be needed.
Situations change, but I have a drawer full of those old, black T-Shirts, and they’re only being worn a few times month now.
Heading up to the rock shop in Austin? With the freeze behind us, I’m back to my protection T-Shirts, and then, the sad, sad day? After working the last time, I noticed that the pocket was starting to show signs of wear. Two minute holes in that particular shirt, a couple of pinholes. The leading edges of the pocket were beginning to come unraveled.
Pulled the shirt off, put it in the trash. Recycle, really, but trash, nonetheless. It’s just, well that’s a small, personal tragedy, an indication that this starting to wind down. Unravel? Like the thread around the pocket?
Sad Sad Day
Over the years, I’ve replaced a few of the shirts, and one is used as a cleaning rag, but this time? I thought it was time. Time to let it go.
What I remembered, most of all, after finding an “outfit” that worked so well? I could carry that kind of a shirt with me when I walked around the lake, fished, whatever, and pull the shirt on when I walked into a store, or to eat, but otherwise? Just flat and unobtrusive. For working conditions, winter, spring summer, fall? There was time, and those shirts served well. Think I got my money’s worth out of that deal, less than two buck per shirt?
Sam’s and by extension, its corporate progenitor are now the evil empire, and to be avoided when possible, child labor, dubious business etiquette (allegedly), &c.
Back then, though, it was edgy and cool, and still, Made in the USA. So these T-shirts are maybe more than a quarter century old, and still being used as a form of protection. It was sad, to let one go.
It was? “A Sad Sad Day.”