'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
LOGO CLOTHES SAY TOO MUCH
Nowadays the clothing we wear can send some very strong messages. No, I don’t mean messages such as, “I’m obviously colorblind,” or, “I learned my sense of fashion at engineering school,” or the all-too-frequent message of, “I shouldn’t have worn this tight tube top when I was 20 and in shape, let alone now that I’m 50, overweight, and covered with saggy tattoos.”
The messages I am referring to are actual words, slogans, and symbols on our clothing. Our hats and shirts tell the world what we hold dear. Here’s just a small sample of what we proclaim on our clothes: our favorite sports teams, schools, towns, states, countries, automobiles, TV shows, rock bands, vacation resorts, radio stations, cartoon characters, restaurants, brands of beer, political parties, social issues, and our favorite deadly disease. (By “favorite,” I of course do not mean the disease we hope to contract someday. I mean the one that has the most trendy, color-ribboned, slick marketing campaign and Washington D.C. lobbyists.)
And yes, in our coarse and profane culture, our clothes, especially tee shirts, often reveal our favorite swear words and sexual proclivities. (Ah, to live in a society where modesty is valued. I wonder what that’s like?) I’d describe a few of the shirts I’ve seen recently, but this is a family newspaper so I’m afraid I might wear out my asterisk key.
The words and logos on our clothes can produce an instant bond with other people. Many times over the years a total stranger has smiled at me and said, “Go Sox.” I usually pause in confusion for a moment before I remember that I’m wearing a Red Sox hat. But just as often a total stranger has commented, “Boston sucks.” Not surprisingly, these people are usually wearing Yankees hats. Not being the confrontational type, I usually shrug and say, “The way they’re playing, you’re right.”
Then when the other person is out of earshot I’ll add quietly, “…but at least I’m not a ******* ******* Yankee fan.” (Oops, there goes the asterisk key.) I have to work on my passive/aggressive issues. Or maybe instead forcing a confrontation, which might risk a lengthy hospital stay, I should just stop wearing my Red Sox hat. No, if I do that, then the terrorists will have won.
However, sometimes we don’t have much of a connection to the message being sent by our clothes. Sometimes, despite being adorned with a big, blaring logo, our real message is simply: “This was the last clean tee shirt in the house, and just because I got it for a birthday present many years ago doesn’t mean I worship Led Zeppelin, so I’ll thank you to stop yelling, ‘Stairway to Heaven rules!’ in my face.”
Once in a while I meet someone who is stark naked. No, I don’t mean naked naked. I mean his shirt and hat are completely devoid of any logos, words, brands, teams, or causes. When I’m introduced to someone like this, it is very disconcerting. “How will I bond with this guy?” I ask myself. “What is he interested in? What does he believe in?” Instead of spouting a few clichéd comments about his favorite team, beer, NASCAR driver, or snack food, I might actually have to engage in conversation with him. Sheesh, that takes some effort.
So for the sake of those of us who already struggle enough in social situations, please be considerate and wear some logo labeled clothing. And if you’re not sure, a hat with a red “B” is much better than a hat with a white “N-Y.” Because you don’t want to be known as a ******* *******, right?
Bill's suspense novel "Purge the Evil" now available for Kindle download. For info, click here: http://www.boomertrek.com/PurgeTheEvil.htm
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