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.

Big difference.


SHough610 said...

1) That Eddie Guerrero picture reminds me that I was shocked (shocked!) that he was found with steroids in his system when he died. Then I watched the DVD that included his match from Halloween Havoc in 1997. I don't think guys in their late thirties put on twenty-five to thirty pounds of muscle naturally. Eddie looked like he could have been batting behind Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi.

2) You can't really blame Mrs. Bootleg for those fashion stylings. I think at the time I was attempting to be dressed in a large amount of clothes that included purple, teal, and florescent colors prominently. Plus, I'm willing to bet she rocked the hell out of those outfits.

3) Have you discovered the foreign jersey "distributors" like and Forty dollars for an authentic jersey? I personally have a Flyers sweater and Cole Hamels 2008 World Series jersey. Highly recommend them.

Lew B said...

That was the best post about tee-shirts I have ever seen. Blew my post about shoes right out of the water. Of course, you HAD to go ahead and tie it in with sports. Lord forbid you just do a weird piece about clothing.

that mexican guy said...

Loved this write-up and can really relate (for reasons that will become clear when That Mexican Wife wakes up and reads this post).

1.) We Mexicans appreciate the "support by T-shirt" campaign. It's just as effective as that AT&T ad imagining a Hispanic-American president in the not-too-distant future. Inspiring!

2.) Hard to believe Eddie Guerrero's heart exploded from rampant drug and steroid use. He looks perfectly healthy and natural in the link.

3.) That Duke shirt is hanging on for dear life. I *might* be with Mrs. Bootleg on this one.

4.) Speaking of your wife: I'm assuming the biker shorts, big blouse and shoulder pads were all part of the outfit she wore to a Bell Biv DeVoe concert in '91, yes?

5.) Take it from me: the cell phone picture doesn't do Aaron's BRIGHT GOLD A's shirt justice. That shit pierces retinas.

Aaron C. said...

1.) I am genuinely impressed by the duel mock shock shown at Eddie Guerrero's untimely demise. RIP, Latino Heat.

2.) Mrs. Bootleg's old school hotness was only slightly comprimised by her tacky clothing. Her late '80s, early '90s hair, on the other hand...

3.) I've done more for African-American/Mexican-American unity since Snoop Dogg's "Vato" song/video. "I was chillin', right around my way..."

LaKisha said...

First of all, I've never worn a pirate shirt in my entire life. My biker shorts were tastefully done..they were a solid color and not some god-awful print. Yes, I did rock the shoulder pads for a while in the '90s, but in my defense, so did everyone else.

As far as that Cameron Crazies shirt goes, it's as good as gone. The picture doesn't even begin to show how bad it really looks. Every time I see TBG in it, I just cringe. He looks homeless when he wears it.

Mrs. Bootleg

Aaron C. said...

That shirt is "distressed". I'm reasonably sure that's "the look", now.

And, I stand by my ill-informed assessment of your 20-year-old fashion.

thai said...

so much to say. sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. much.

Aaron C. said...

@thai -- Sorry, Thai. This post only applies to t-shirts I purchased over the past 10 years.

Your tales of my tattered tees from the early 90s can't qualify for comment! HA!

SHough610 said...

once again in Mrs. Bootleg's defense, EVERYONE wore shoulder pads in the early-90's late-80's. It wasn't just Delta Burke and Oprah, my mom wore shoulder pads.

As for Eddie Guerrero... Sadly, one of the high points of the second semester of my senior year was him winning the title (there is a long, sad story about the second semester of my senior year). I bought his DVD and after he died I rewatched his title win. One of the things that had me wincing was his bacne when he jumps into the crowd.

thai said...

curse on that statute of limitation.

did that defense work with the DA that one time?!?!?