Saturday, January 29, 2011
When Ugly is TOO Ugly...Even for Me
It's Saturday evening as I type this...what do you think I wore today?
Most of you probably know there's not a whole lot of variety in my weekend wardrobe. I pull on a pair of baggy shorts, lace up my worn-out two-year-old Jordans -- or "kicks", as they're colloquially known -- and toss a t-shirt over my emaciated torso.
There are some days when I embrace irony. I am, of course, as much Mexican as the 200-some Taco Bell reviews I've written.
But, I own a couple of "Mexico" t-shirts (one from the World Baseball Classic, one from soccer's World Cup) and wear them just as much for the ethnic paradox as I do for the shout out to my Hispanic friends and their glorious culture. Full disclosure: I wore this shirt a few times before realizing I couldn't pull it off.
I own more San Diego State University apparel now than when I actually attended SDSU in the mid-1990s.
This is due to the simple fact that SDSU merchandise is grotesquely overpriced for most starving college students. The best selection is only available on campus, online or at ONE retail outlet here in America's eighth largest city. And, yes, that IS a t-shirt celebrating my alma mater's appearance in a third-tier bowl game! It's still better than your rock concert t-shirt with the tour dates on the back or your pro sports team's "division championship" (or worse) t-shirt.
And, then there's this t-shirt -- the oldest and most loathed by my wife in my entire collection.
Ironically, Mrs. Bootleg bought it for me before we got married. Today, however, after more than eight years as my comfortable, 100% cotton conversation starter, she's ready for me to retire it. Yes, the color is faded and the collar's a tad frayed. But, I wore this t-shirt on my honeymoon to Cabo San Lucas where more than one local mistook it for a tribute to Cameroon. I've lost count of all the small children who've pointed to this t-shirt and excitedly exclaimed "That's my name!". When I wear it, fans want to talk Duke hoops with me or assume I'm an alumnus. And, it has my last name on it!
In hindsight, I should've worn the "Cameron Crazies" t-shirt on that 66-degree Saturday in early February 2004.
Instead, I wore this shirt on the day my son Jalen was unexpectedly delivered nine weeks early. Mrs. Bootleg hated this shirt when I first bought it. The color was once akin to pumpkin pie. Whenever I wore it, my wife would roll her eyes and sanctimoniously sniff, "I can't believe you're wearing that again." (Harsh judgment from someone who was regularly photographed in bike shorts, pirate blouses and shoulder pads from 1988-1992.)
Once the Jalen connection was established, she never said another word about this shirt.
The entire point of this post has to do with the recent announcement that my beloved Oakland Athletics will be debuting new "alternate" jerseys for the 2011 season. As an A's fan, the overwhelming majority of my t-shirts are green and/or gold -- the team's subtle colors -- and advertise the team.
For whatever reason, I get more compliments on this t-shirt than any other one I wear.
When I visited Cooperstown in 2009, I wore it on the day before the induction ceremony and someone offered me $50 for it. That's only my second favorite moment while wearing this t-shirt. Years earlier, someone walked up to me, looked at the design and asked, "Is that Dennis Eckersley?"
These new alternate jerseys? Awful. The thick green piping...the bland "A's" logo...even our ubiquitous elephant on the left sleeve seems out of place. In baseball, "old" is the new "new". The A's should've brought back the "Oakland" vests from their inaugural 1968 season if they were looking to move a few more $169 jerseys during home games this season.
And, before I hear it from a few of my friends...yes, I own the below item.
It's brightly colored with thick green stripes and the familiar A's logo. But, it's a long-sleeve shirt and NOT a jersey.