"Damn!!!" It was ten to nine. I wasn't late though. I had slept well past late and was now in a time zone somewhere way beyond late. I had to be down by the train station, about ten hill and dale blocks away, by 9 am. It's not like I had to be anywhere important but I told my buddy, Guttermouth (his name sounds and looks much nicer in Japanese - Higuchi or 樋口) that I'd meet him and I didn't want to leave him hanging there - again.
I grabbed a pair of pants and a shirt out of my dresser drawers and was fully suited up by the time I reached the front door about five paces away. Running into the streets as if I had a mad bull on my heels, I could feel my cardiac muscle swelling to the point that is was pounding so hard against my rib cage, it was only a matter of time before one or the other would burst to smithereens. Luckily the overworked organ pumped just enough blood through my legs to get me to the station in the nick of time before they collapsed beneath me upon my rendezvous with Guttermouth. After dragging my fatigue-ridden body into the just-arrived rail car, Guttermouth began to interrogate me. It was as if he didn't even notice that I was on the death's doorstep. He was, in fact, blinded by my sartorial style.
|Guttermouth (left) and I (right)|
"What do the words on your shirt mean?" he asked. I hadn't given my chosen attire a second thought before leaving the house. Gifted to me by a union brother in America, I wore the t-shirt on only a couple of occasions. More of a mobile billboard than an article of clothing, it bore a bold and time sensitive labor rights message that screamed out for attention. It fit in perfectly on the picket line during a strike but not so well on the grocery store checkout line a year or two later.
Now years and miles away from the the period and place the shirt was designed for, I wear it often. It fits right in here, where the more words a t-shirt has emblazoned on it and the less sense they make, the better. Compared to many of the t-shirts I see on the backs of people across this island nation, the volume of words printed front and back on mine seems scant even. I didn't think anyone would even notice, especially Guttermouth and especially considering the shirt he was sporting at the time.
|Me (left) and Guttermouth (right)|
I had to ask him. "So what does, 'Acts of valor lifeguard raise rampant nature conservation keep trying' mean," I queried.
"I don't know," he replied and then asked, "Don't you know?"
I had to admit that I didn't and chalked it up to a lack of fashion sense.
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