Some people believe you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear. I believe you can tell more about a person by the t-shirts they have worn. This is the story of my life, as told by the t-shirts I have worn.
Originally posted as T-Shirt of the Week: WEEK 7 (July 22, 2007)
When I first started publishing BadAzz MoFo as an actual magazine—or excuse me, as a ‘zine—back in the mid 1990s, there were a lot of other publications that were inspiring me. Keep in mind this was before the internet explosion, so if you had something you wanted to say, you were publishing something. In those days a lot of people gathered at the annual Alternative Press Expo (APE), which at the time was in San Jose. That’s where I got to meet a bunch of other publishers, including the guys that put out a magazine called LIFE SUCKS DIE.
This is one of the official LSD shirts, and it was one of my favorite designs. Honestly, I can’t recall if I bought it, or they gave it to me for free. Even though I really like the shirt and the design, I seldom wear this one out in public. Of all the shirts I have ever worn, this one rubs people the wrong way more than any other. The last time I wore this one was the day Ronald Reagan died. Maybe it wasn’t the best choice, but I felt the shirt was making an appropriate anti-authority statement that was in keeping with my celebration of Reagan’s death.
No other shirt has ever instigated so many fights, but this one led to several confrontations. The scenario was always the same. Some jackass would walk up to me and say something like: “What’s up with the shirt, dude?”
I would respond, “Oh, this is a shirt for some magazine called LIFE SUCKS DIE. It’s the only clean shirt I could find.”
JACKASS: “What the fuck? You trying to say cops should kill themselves?”
ME: “ No man, I don’t think cops should kill themselves. In fact, I don’t think anyone should kill themselves. This just happened to be the only clean shirt I could find.”
JACKASS: “What’s your fucking problem, dude? Why do you think cops should kill themselves?”
ME: “Look, I happen to find the design of this shirt to be aesthetically interesting, and I think I may have mentioned that it is my only clean shirt. Granted, the fact that I have no other clean clothes may say something about my character, but seriously, I’m not saying cops should kill themselves.”
JACKASS: “Maybe you should kill yourself.”
ME: “Unless the zombie apocalypse happens, and I’m bitten by a zombie and about to turn into one, I doubt I would ever even consider killing myself.”
JACKASS: “You’re a fucking asshole.”
ME: “You know, your mother and girlfriend both say the same thing about me.”
JACKASS: “I should kick your ass.”
ME: “You can try, but think about how humiliating it will be for you when you have to explain to the emergency room doctors that are removing my shoe from your ass that you got beat down by someone simply because he was to lazy to do his laundry.”
That’s when the jackass stares at me blankly, trying to decide what his next move will be. By now a crowd has gathered wherever this little confrontation is taking place, and everyone is waiting to see what happens next. My friends are waiting anxiously for me to fuck someone up so bad that someone else will need to come fuck them back down. And the wife or girlfriend of the jackass is starting to freak out because she knows some shit is about to go down. That’s when I throw down the final gauntlet. I look at the girlfriend or wife of the jackass and say, “You might want to call 911 now, and tell them your old man is getting beat like he’s a runaway slave, that way they can be here by the time I’m done. Then I can give you the number of a good therapist to help you with the trauma and grief you’ll be processing when this is all over.”
After that, I either wind up slugging it out, or the whole thing blows over. But I got tired of the whole scenario, so I just stopped wearing the shirt in public.