Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Over the years, I have collected some pretty crazy T-shirts. Even worse, I’ve worn most of them.

I can remember when I was a teen, and I bought a T-shirt that said, “Just Visiting this Planet” on the front. My mother used to roll her eyes whenever I wore it and say, “Why on earth do you want to draw attention to your chest? Doesn’t it bother you that perfect strangers are stopping to read your boobs?”

“Well, actually I’d never thought about it until you just mentioned it!” I answered.

So to please her, I bought a T-shirt that said, “If You Can Read This, You’re Too Close,” in small letters on the front.  She wasn’t amused.

As the years passed, my love of unusual T-shirts never died. When I gained weight, I bought one that said, “In Training to be Tall and Blonde,” and another that said, “I Love Long, Romantic Walks…to the Fridge.”

Of course, every Christmas and birthday, my friends would buy me T-shirts to add to my collection. Most of them had places on the front, like states or countries they had visited. But some were more…um…adventurous.

In fact, there were times when my husband drew the line and threatened to divorce me if I wore certain shirts that people had given me. One of them, for example, had two teddy bears on the front – one on each breast – and said, “Stop Staring at My Teddies!”  Another one he disliked was, “Don’t Flatter Yourself – It’s Just Chilly in Here.”

There were a couple T-shirts I bought that actually turned out to be beneficial. I remember when the Pembroke Police were selling T-shirts with their department’s logo on it at Old Home Day one year. I bought one, and every time I wore it after that, strangers seemed to respect me more, and I even received free cups of coffee in restaurants. I also bought one that said, “WMUR TV 9,” on it that made people think I was a TV newscaster. Whenever I wore it and something newsworthy was happening, everyone assumed I was a member of the press corps covering the event.

I remember when my mother-in-law used to complain that I wore too much black all the time.

“Can’t you buy something turquoise or purple for a change?” she’d constantly ask me. “I’m so tired of seeing you in black!”

As luck would have it, I just so happened to see a T-shirt that said, “I’ll Keep Wearing Black Until They Invent a Darker Color.” Naturally, I just HAD to buy it. After that, my mother-in-law never nagged me about it again.

There was a show on TV a couple years ago called, “The Sons of Anarchy,” about a motorcycle club of that same name, and they wore shirts, jackets and vests with their club’s logo on it.

Well, a few months ago, I happened to see a T-shirt that was a humorous take-off on the show. It had the club’s logo on it, but instead of Sons of Anarachy, it said, “Sons of Arthritis – Ibuprofen Chapter.” I happened to mention how funny I thought it was to my online friend in Connecticut, Charlie, a Harley rider I’d never met.

Not long thereafter, a package from Charlie arrived. It contained a gift for me – the Sons of Arthritis T-shirt! I really loved it. It had long sleeves and was black (my favorite color!) with white lettering.

Unfortunately, it was so small, I barely could get it over my head. And when I finally did, I couldn’t even pull it down over my chest.

When Charlie wrote to ask me how I liked the T-shirt and requested a photo of me wearing it, I had to be honest. I told him it was much too small.

A week later, another package from him arrived. It was another Sons of Arthritis T-shirt. This one was bright neon yellow and was so big, it looked like a dress on me. And I was pretty sure the sleeves had been made for an orangutan. I found myself wondering how I was going to break the news to poor Charlie that this shirt didn’t fit, either. 

As it turned out, I didn’t have to.  Charlie passed away right after I received that second shirt.

So now, my desire to wear the “Sons of Arthritis” shirts he sent to me is stronger than ever, for sentimental reasons. All I have to do is either lose a lot of weight so I can fit into the small one, or grow a lot so I can fill out the large one.

Rest in peace, Charlie.

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