This I Believe

Kate - Dayton, Ohio
Entered on January 28, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in the value of t-shirts.

Many people are indifferent to their t-shirts; t-shirts are for dirty things like undershirts or exercise apparel. T-shirts are cheap, unflattering, and definitely not professional. They are what you put on when you feel like crap or are too tired to find “nicer” clothes. T-shirts are what the bums cleaning out your recycle bin wear, in the same size as their 6 year old kid that is helping them.

But t-shirts are also what CEO’s wear under their dress shirts. T-shirts are what many athletes wear during competition. Ever had surgery? Bet the surgeon was wearing a t-shirt. And what do you get in thanks for volunteering? Usually a t-shirt.

I believe in t-shirts because they don’t discriminate. Boys and girls, young and old, fat and skinny, rich and poor, everyone wears t-shirts. And if you ask any small person – “the size doesn’t matter, all we have left are extra larges.” Everyone shares t-shirts too. How many times do we borrow t-shirts from a friend, a significant other, or a little brother? I dated someone who was 6’5” – I sure as hell couldn’t have ever borrowed his pants or shoes, but I still have one of his t-shirts.

I believe in t-shirts because they are practical. Besides being comfortable, affordable, and machine washable (huge value there), t-shirts are ready to go in every situation. You can even make other things out of t-shirts, such as a quilt, a pillow, a hat, a rag, or in the case of my neighbors, a replacement window?

I believe in t-shirts because they signify respect and promote sportsmanship. In rowing, it is tradition to bet shirts, meaning the losing team (or teams) gives their shirts to the winner after the race. Unlike medals which are awarded based on objective rules, receiving a shirt from an opponent shows they respect your performance and have no complaints, such as regarding the fairness of the race. Giving shirts can be disappointing, but how often do you get to congratulate someone for doing something better than you were able to? If everyone were rewarded based on their opponents opinion of their performance, I think it’s safe to say there would be significantly less ethical problems going around.

Finally, I believe in t-shirts because they contain memories. Everyone has their grade school soccer jersey, their fraternity t-shirt, their sports team shirts, those shirts that were borrowed from a friend and somehow never returned. There’s always a favorite t-shirt, the worn out one you won’t throw away, and the one that is forever lost. You remember the little guys though, because one day, you were really excited or grateful to get that shirt.

If my house was about to burn down and I could only save one thing, I would save my t-shirts.