Old T-Shirts

This Shirt is Long Gone

This Shirt is Long Gone

How many T-shirts does one person need?  That is the question that has bounced around my little pea of a brain many times.  The thing is, I have a lot of them T-shirts, not brains).  Occasionally, I weed through them and get rid of a few.  I turn them into rags if they are in really bad shape.  I give them away if they are in really good shape.  I sold one on eBay–a 1986 Dartmouth College Winter Carnival shirt with a Where the Wild Things Are theme in egg yolk yellow–that I had been hauling around for years.  I got 14 bucks for it.

I have too many T-shirts right now.  The problem is, they aren’t just random T-shirts.  I got them from all kinds of moments in my life–running marathons, working at outdoor education centers, time with friends, you know what I’m talking about.  Each T-shirt has a story.  I have one red T-shirt from the Atlanta Olympic games, 1996.  I was working at the University of Vermont and the woman whose desk was next to mine was wearing it.  I really liked it so I said to her:  ” I really like that shirt.  Can I have it?”  She said she wouldn’t just give it to me but would trade it for the one I was wearing (aqua, with a person jumping for a trapeze in the woods).  We both took off our shirts right then (I definitely got the better deal there) and I had a new shirt.

It is hard to give up a shirt with a story like that.  What about the high school program I did as a junior?  I still have the shirt, a one of a kind long sleever, but it is mighty tattered.  I keep it, rarely wear it, and decide to keep it again each time I rummage through the pile.  I have shirts that are over 20 years old.  That just seems silly.  I managed to get by just fine twenty years ago without twenty year old shirts, so why do I hang onto these?  Good question.

Nostalgia, that’s why.  I don’t need them all.  I mean, I have a whole drawer full of T-shirts.  So again the question:  How many T-shirts does one person need?  I know there isn’t really an answer to that question; at least, there isn’t only one answer.  But I think I may be ready to pare at this point.  I need to come up with a number so I can make some hard decisions.  I want some to wear around.  They are good summer wear, after all.  They aren’t all 20 years old, so keeping the newer ones seems to make sense.  I also sleep in them sometimes.  And I want some to wearing painting or weeding the garden or even just going for a hike.

Five clean ones and five for messing about?  That sounds good.  But I may have some trouble ditching the memory garb.  Maybe I can try for ten and give myself a maximum of twenty.  That might work.  Maybe I would end up with fifteen.  Last night I wore a marathon shirt from 1998 to bed.  I love that shirt.  Maybe I’ll keep that one.  And get rid of the marathon shirt from 2002.  I have two of those.  And I might be able to sell that Olympic one on eBay, but I like that one.

I don’t miss the Where the Wild Things Are shirt.  I can’t imagine that, once they are gone, I will miss any of the others.  But crap, kids, this could take a while.

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