It’s Saturday. Praise cheeses! I am desperate to blow off a little steam. My friend Simone and her husband are hosting a “stupid t shirt” party later tonight, and it think it will be a lot of fun. It is a pretty great idea, if you think about it. Everyone will have a conversation starter draped across his chest.
Todd is presently wearing a “Coors Light – The Silver Bullet” t shirt, and I am going to pretend he has it on because he remembered about Simone’s party, though to be honest, he may just be wearing it in earnest because he thinks it is awesome. I have decided to wear the cheesy t shirt pictured (having forgotten to pick up a black, wolves-howling-at-the-moon shirt at the gas station as I’d originally planned). What I’d really like to get my hands on/chest in, though, is the t shirt my mom had back when I was in junior high; the one she wore for working out.
My parents ran an auto insurance agency when I was growing up. They often went to conventions and returned home with arm-loads of marketing paraphernalia from insurance companies. Coffee mugs. Magnets. Calenders.
One year my mom was given a t shirt that said “Insurance Salesman’s Wives Make Premium Lovers,” and she wore it! She put it on one day before taking a walk. I remember it like yesterday’s nightmare.
“You’re not wearing that, are you?” I demanded to know. “Not out of the house?”
Mom looked down and kind of laughed. She proceeded to explain to me what an insurance premium was. The message on the shirt was a play on words. It was suppose to be funny, she said. I assure you that I didn’t find it funny in the slightest.
At that age I was learning on an intellectual level (and with no frame of reference, no schema) what a “lover” was. What sex was. What it meant about my mom and dad, who had been parents twice over.
I called Mom this week and asked her if she remembered that shirt. She was mortified. She said “barely.” She thinks she may have worn it once on a walk, if that. She is sure she threw it away when she discovered how much I hated it. She had only worn it because it was the only t shirt she owned. She didn’t want to get a nice work blouse sweaty. That is her recollection.
The way I remember it, Mom told me that she was a grown woman, thank you very much. It was not my place to tell her what to wear (and I will have to check with my psychoanalyst to be sure, but I think this was the same year that Dad drove me to school in the El Camino rather than the Toyota specifically because it made me indignant). Those parents of mine. Quite the character-builders.
In my memory, Mom marched out the front door and took the long way around the neighborhood to announce, by way of wardrobe, her sexual prowess. Every child from school, every girl turning cartwheels in the from yard, every boy riding his bike down the street, surely saw her pear-shaped silhouette power-walking along the horizon. Every one of them must have read the shirt.
I’m so glad that junior high is behind me. Praise cheeses.