Sunday, March 1, 2009

Death of a T Shirt

Like most men if I like an item of clothing I'll wear it till it literally falls apart. I've been known to keep pairs of underwear until the elastic bands have completely separated from the body of the briefs. So I was upset to discover that one of my most comfortable t shirts was no longer suitable to be worn in public. Two large holes appeared in the armpits and in the design, presumably from the stress of the last wash. This shirt will now be taken out of the rotation and be retired.

There is an unusual story behind how I aquired this particular shirt. Back in 1999 when I lived and worked in Abilene, Texas, an aquaintance working for the U.S. Border Patrol boarded a Greyhound bus that had just arrived from El Paso on it's way to Dallas. The Border Patrol agent discovered an unclaimed suitcase in the cargo compartment which when opened was found to contain fifty pounds of marijuana. There were several throw away t shirts in the suitcase used to cover the bales. The agents seized the marijuana and I kept the t shirts.   

OMNH-Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. I've often wondered how this shirt went from the museum gift shop, to El Paso, and eventually into a load of weed.

My poor shirt. It will serve it's new purpose as a shop rag.

Now, I don't know the exact age of the shirt above but I'm guessing that it's not as old as this next shirt which appears to have held up much better after having been washed about an equal number of times.

Nice design

This was my first race.  It was cold, rainy, and generally miserable. I made the rookie mistake of taking too many pulls at the front burning too much energy in the first fifteen miles of the thirty two mile race. I struggled to the finish.

The shirt below is the grandaddy of all my shirts. It was for an Air Force Security Police competition in Las Vegas in 1987. I was stationed at Bergstrom AFB in Austin from 1986 through 1989. The base was shut down some years ago and turned into the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

You can't tell from the photo but this shirt is practically see-through now.

The thing I noticed about my old shirts is that the two oldest, the Security Police and Primavera t shirts are 50/50 cotton polyester blends where as the OMNH shirt is 100 per cent cotton. Maybe I should start printing on 50/50 shirts, or does anybody really need a 20+ year life span from a t shirt?

 Since I started screen printing I can appreciate the work that went into the design and printing of these shirts, especially the shirts that were made before the availability of computers, Photoshop, and everything else that makes life so easy these days. If anybody has any really old t shirts around I like to see them. You can email photos or send me a link. 


  1. I feel your pain,it's like losing an old friend.An old friend with a great story to tell.I just retired a bunch myself,looks like it's time to aquire some new friends--any suggestions?

  2. Yes, I might be able to help you with your unfortunate t shirt shortage. Hopefully I'll be back up and printing by next week.