MY HISTORIC BREAST
31 August 2002
I have rediscovered t-shirts. Now that I can not only squeeze into a
size 1X but it actually fits like...well...like a t-shirt instead of a clingy evening
dress, I've been checking the deep recesses of drawers that haven't been opened since Bush
was president. The first Bush.
I've discovered a good part of my life history in the designs on the
t-shirts I am now able to wear again.
This was all prompted by the wonderful Cafe
Press, where I've designed a t-shirt for Funny the World (as
well as recently one for Steve's show because I wanted one...not realizing that he was
designing his own shirt
for the show). I've also purchased shirts for The Last Session, BOOBS, and one of an oil
painting done by my friend Alec
However, the Cafe Press shirts are just the tip of the iceburg.
One of the oldest shirts is a Scott Family reunion shirt from the
mid-80s. This was one of the first big family reunions, held in Quincy, CA, and it was
notable for the fact that my cousin Dave got drunk and decided to throw everyone in
the pool, including then-80 year old Aunt Marie. There were those who thought it was
funny, and those who were less amused. Among the latter was our newly arrived Brasilian
student who, over the three weeks he spent with us, never forgave us for the indignity of
his having been thrown in the pool.
Another of the "old" shirts is a black
shirt with a picture of Bill Clinton playing the saxophone on it--this was sold in DC the
weekend of Clinton's first inauguration and my friend Melody sent it to me.
I've lost count of the number of Lawsuit shirts I have. They are in
all colors, including "that faggy aqua that K.C. likes so much." I think my
favorite, though, is a black shirt with a red rose on it. It's from the "Thousand Red
Roses concert," which was held shortly after David died as a fund-raiser for the
Davis Art Center. Emotions were running very high that night and bounced back and forth
between happy and sad. The saddest moment was when Paul looked up into the sky and
dedicated a song to David. The happiest moment was when Walt snuck on stage to sing a solo
and do a dive into the audience, into the waiting arms of Tom and his friends. It was the
first (and only) timeI ever saw Paul struck speechless on stage.
There are the inevitable Wizard of Oz themed shirts--several
designs with "Dorothy--hate you, hate Oz. Taking the shoes. Find your own way home.
--Toto" I think I bought one and I've had two given to me as gifts--the nice thing is
that they are each different designs. There is also the huge, ostentatious picture of ruby
slippers on a black t-shirt I bought at the Smithsonian. And there is my recent
acquisition--Judy Garland as Dorothy, which I bought at the Garland exhibit in Hollywood a
couple of weeks ago.
I have a whole collection of Texas-related shirts, not all of which
are actual Texas shirts. The year before I went to Texas, my friend Mike got me a Texas
shirt for my birthday, and he gave me another one the year I stayed with him and his
partner for a month. He also went out on that trip and bought me a Betty Boop shirt. He
was so tickled with that shirt that I didn't dare tell him, when I looked at the
"L" label that it wouldn't fit with a shoehorn. Instead, I went to the store
where he bought it, discovered they had it in an XL size, and bought it for myself so I
could wear it for him. He never knew that I went home with two Betty Boop shirts!
I drove from Houston to Austin with my friend Lynn and her husband.
It was the height of wildflower season, especially bluebonnets. We took lots of pictures
and I had to buy myself a wildflower shirt. In fact, I bought myself two--and a third
shirt at the Ladybird Johnson wildflower park.
Of course there are theatre shirts--several from different shows at
The Lamplighters, a few from the Davis Comic Opera Co. (including one from its recent 30th
anniversary show), and one I bought in Buxton, England, when we traveled with The
Lamplighters to the second International Gilbert & Sullivan festival (which The
There are the gay themed shirts--my PFLAG shirt (in "that faggy
aqua color that K.C. likes so much"), and a shirt for each of the last two years I
marched in the San Francisco pride parade. I also have a shirt designed by my friend
Gabi to remember her son's death and to promote safe schools for all kids.
Of course there are the chocolate shirts. David Gerrold and I have
had this running fight about chocolate and so I bought a shirt to wear when I was meeting
him once. It says "Will work for chocolate." Then I was in Sausalito once and
saw shirts which were dyed with chocolate. Really. They were kind of a hot-cocoa color and
they smelled of chocolate (the smell left after a couple of washings). I bought one for me
and one for David and we wore them to the first (and only) Gerrold Forum meeting at
Universal Studios several years ago.
I have a few shirts from Australia. Two with
"Perth" on them and one--my favorite--with paw prints of different animals
unique to Australia--like the frilled neck lizard and the emu (as well as the more popular
kangaroo, koala and wombat).
And most recently, I find myself with an inordinate number of Steve-related
shirts. There's the aforementioned Last Session shirt. There's another one for
his new CD, "Beyond the Light." I bought a shirt when I saw Last Session
in Baltimore and I now have the two shirts for his latest show, The Big Voice.
One shirt of which I'm very proud is my very own sporting event
shirt--the red shirt I received after I did my first organized bike ride, the Bike for
Hunger earlier this year.
There are a lot of chapters in my life which are not represented by
t-shirts because I knew I couldn't wear them (I'm sorry I don't have an Orkney t-shirt,
for example--how many people have t-shirts from Orkney??), but as I open drawers and blow
the dust off of the contents, I realize that I can look back over the messages scrawled
across my chest and read a moderately complete history of the high points in the past 20