August 12, 2008

The Shirt Off My Back

Kids have blankets, dolls or stuffed animals. People have rabbits' feet, a coin, a picture in their wallet. But everyone has something lucky or something they hold on to out of sentimentality or the perception that it's lucky. A long time ago Beth, as a joke, handed me the cap from a Foster's beer and told me to keep it forever. So that's what I did. Or at least for a very long time. The beer cap was on a small chain which also held a silver elephant charm. Alongside it, everyday, was a rock that Beth gave me. Over the years, I lost each one of these things. They simply fell out of my pocket. I wonder where they ended up. Now, I've got a rock that Mia handed me two weeks ago. And I've got my two lucky t-shirts.

The first shirt is from The Gap because I'm hip like that or at least I was ten years ago when I bought it. It's gray and short-sleeved. And it's as soft as a baby's bottom. (Really. I just rubbed the shirt then rubbed Owen's bottom.) Eons ago, I used it to open a beer (the shirt, non Owen's butt) and it's had two small holes in the front ever since. The collar is frayed, as if it's about to unravel at any second. And it's got a couple of hard to see stains. I try not to wear it a lot because I know that one day it's just going to fall apart. But it's hard because it might be the single most comfortable thing I own.

The other shirt is from Old Navy. I bought it on sale for $5 at the end of a summer five years ago. And despite the fact that I bought it so long ago, I still call it one of my "new shirts" which says really bad things about the state of my non-work wardrobe. It's a lucky shirt because I was wearing it when both Mia and Owen were born. Both of my kids arrived happy and healthy (though, happy is an arguable term since they both proved very early in their young lives how strong their lungs were) so I figure that's a pretty good qualification as a lucky shirt.

Both shirts have been subjected to more than their fair share of abuse. They've spent time in hospitals, ridden in the belly of airplanes to and from Paris, been whizzed up the coast to NYC and driven to the Atlantic Ocean via several states and beaches. They've seen a lot of yard work, been sweated in and wrung out. They've rocked kids to sleep, wiped up tears, been puked and peed on. They are both comfortable and comforting. And so long as they stay together, chances are you'll find me wearing one or the other when I'm not all wrapped up in my suit and tie.

What are your lucky charms, your comfort items, or your favorite clothes?

Posted by Chris at August 12, 2008 6:39 AM

hmmm, this is a good question. i had an old curious george shirt that i loved when i was young. *ha, young. cuz im so old now.* i still have it. minus the sleeves for some reason. i wear a few old falling apart shirts of taylors cuz they're so soft and comfy to sleep in.
i always carry around a few books with me wherever i find myself living. its a comfort thing also i guess.
off topic but, i was wondering if you'd heard of Gentle Giant? They're an old prog rock band from the 70's.

Posted by: Cri at August 12, 2008 7:10 AM

My favorite article of clothing would have to be 2 tee-shirts I have from middle school. When I was in school, I was in the orchestra. And we'd go on band trips to amusment parks to compete, and then we'd spend the rest of the day in the park. Since we were a bunch of 7th and 8th graders, we all had matching shirts. These shirts were cheap, but they are so comfortable. They have the name of my middle school, and the year of the shirt. Then on the back, they say "Tradition of Excellency" with a nifty music design. They are so comfortable, though, and I generally sleep in them. One is covered in paint; the other doesn't have a hem anymore. Those are two shirts I will never get rid of.

Posted by: secha at August 12, 2008 7:12 AM

I wouldn't say it was lucky, but wheneven I am not at work or somewhere else that I have to dress somewhat nice, I wear a red Bubba-Gump hat. I guess you can call it lucky, no one has died while wearing it. If I come home and do not have it on, my daughter will always bring it to me and remind me to wear it.

Posted by: harrylips at August 12, 2008 7:46 AM

My favorite thing to wear? Always my big comfy fluffy bathrobe. As soon as the dishes are done at night and I am getting ready to settle in with a book or to watch some TV, I jump into my robe and slippers and I am instantly relaxed.
Now if we are talking daytime clothes, well, since I have recently gone from a size 16 to a size 8 on Weight Watchers, literally anything I put on makes me happy!

Posted by: Maribeth at August 12, 2008 8:40 AM

I have a bell on my key chain that my friend Giuseppe gave to me over 10yrs ago. Some sort of gypsy custom/superstition, I have the note that my husband scribbled his name and address one when he moved away from SD and before we realized we'd embark on a long distance year long relationship, which would lead to me moving here and this life we've shared for the past 10yrs (that was a mouthful!). I have a few other token pieces... some a little more personal, so I won't share. But that bell, that note, and my cross are constant.

Posted by: varinia at August 12, 2008 8:58 AM

I don't have any lucky charms. My comfort items are pajamas and food (anything with cheese, please).

Posted by: Maria at August 12, 2008 9:04 AM

One of my comfort things is a box of STUFF that went from Conn. to Calif. when I first moved there to live with my soon to be husband. It was a box that contained cards received, poems I liked, random pictures. I would sift through it and add to it. It came back to Conn. in the same box when we moved back but now it's tupperware and was renamed "mommy's treasure box". It's in my attic and periodically when I go up there I'll sit and go through the box of memories.

Posted by: NancyJak at August 12, 2008 9:45 AM

I have a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt that my parents brought back from a business trip to Texas when I was in high school. So it's, um, 19 years old. I wear it ALL THE TIME in the winter...and it's about ready to fall to pieces. So comfy, and comforting.

Posted by: Alissa at August 12, 2008 9:47 AM

I have an old Rush shirt my brother bought for me back in...1996 or 1997, at a show, that has a huge rip in the armpit and is faded from black to a light black/dark gray. I wear it to sleep in sometimes but as time passes, I'm realizing just how worn it is and just how much I don't ever want to part with it. I have a hard time parting with things given to me by my family, regardless of how small or trivial those items may appear. I have a big red plastic lobster (who is missing a leg, sadly) that my grandparents bought me when I was about 10. His name is Louie the Lobster and he is currently residing on the top of my bookcase in my bedroom. It's just a bunch of little stuff like that. The stuff that can never be replaced. Those are my favorite/lucky items.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at August 12, 2008 10:00 AM

Only 3 years old...the t-shirt Caesar's gave us when we got there for our honeymoon...with all the exciting things that happened in 2005 with the bottom one being "We Got Married"

17 years old...a t-shirt from a "former life" that says "American Model Search" and on the back "If you can dream it you can do it"...I got this when I was 21 and was offered a contract in NY...turned down the contract but the shirt reminds me to fight for what I want daily.

Mum Mum's wedding my wedding band. I am probably the only woman who had her diamond reset from platinum to yellow gold because we were using my grandmother's band and it was yellow gold. I've worn it on my right hand since right after she died and D placed it on my hand the day we got married...I don't ever plan on taking it off.

Posted by: Krush at August 12, 2008 10:52 AM

My favorite shirt is my Senior Class of '99 t-shirt that I got when I was in HS. It's black, and it's fading. There's a teeny tiny hole in it in the middle of my chest, and I have no idea where it came from. Part of the hem is starting to come undone, and (magically, I think) it still fits perfectly, even though I've gained a ton of weight since I was a senior in HS. I use it more as pajamas now, but you'll find me out in public wearing it every once in a while. :)

Posted by: Manda at August 12, 2008 11:07 AM

i'm definitely a t-shirt fan. 2 faves. well worn...had 'em since 1998. i had others that i loved that just wore out. had to retire those...way too holey like a pirrhana got a hold of them. both are grey cotton tees....LOVE 'EM

one tee is a NYC souvenir from the NBC store...the Late Show t-shirt. i don't even know if that show is still on that network, but i love the shirt. soft as baby clothes, not necessarily calvin's butt. but the bottom hem has been ripped off, it's got holes from being washed a LOT. wore it in saudi arabia for deployments...running, the day calvin was born. it's my all purpose pajama shirt.

the other is a t-shirt from a college club: Texas Cru. used to have silver lettering. that all washed out. now it's grey with orange and navy circles around the logo. it's got a big hole under the left arm pit. i really don't wear it in public unless i'm doing yard work or gardening...which i haven't done since i owned a house--4 years ago! so, it's my other pajama t-shirt. i have 2...and i love 'em...and i alternate between them.

when i'm wearing my pajamas, and i'm doing calvin's before bedtime nursing, he'll take the edge of my t-shirt and rub it against his face while he's feeding. it's that soft...softer than his fleece blankies.

they don't have much life left in 'em. but none of my other t-shirts are even in the same atmosphere of comfort. don't know what i'll do when the tragic day comes and they have to be retired.

Posted by: Dolly at August 12, 2008 11:10 AM

I carry a crystal in my right pocket. I got it at a Dead show many, many years ago. Every once in awhile, it goes away for awhile, then comes back. But I feel like I'm missing something on non-pocket days. I always have it when traveling.
For clothes, I have my Dad's Pitt sweatshirt. It's big, yellow and awful, but it was his shirt, and I feel he's around me when I wear it.

Posted by: Amy at August 12, 2008 12:33 PM

I personally don't have any such lucky charms, but I have a friend who has a t-shirt that is so loved and lucky that it looks like swiss cheese, only with more holes.

Posted by: Peggi at August 12, 2008 12:44 PM

As far as comfort items go, I have some flannel pajama bottoms that are perpetually hugging my ass when I'm at home. As a matter of fact, if I'm at home and not wearing them, you can bet that I either have company or I'm being held hostage.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at August 12, 2008 12:50 PM

Security item: 25(?) year old Snoopy. Lucky charm: Doesn't have one. Favorite shirts: Two from college freshman year, both XL because there was nothing smaller. One is from Pass the Can event where we passed the cans through the crowd to collect money for a philanthropy program, and the other is an unofficial shirt that said, "Irish I were a Trojan" in the back and Neutered Dame in the front. Heh.

Brandon also gave me a soda tab that was pull off with the lid part. I still have that too.

Posted by: oakley at August 12, 2008 1:03 PM

I have a greenish t-shirt that I bought in 1998 just before I flew to Switzerland.

It now has more holes than you can count, and all the colors of the rooms in my house are on it, since I wore it while painting, installing floors, and so on. It's also 2-3 sizes too large since I lost weight.

But I still wear it all the time while in the house. I'm afraid to put it in the hamper because lovely wife says she'll throw it away, and every time I wash it I'm afraid it'll get suck in the void created by my washing machine.

It's not really a lucky shirt, but it's a shirt that reminds me of all that I've done. That's why I keep it around.

I love that shirt.

Sorry for the long comment!

Posted by: Mike at August 12, 2008 2:08 PM

i have this small plastic Gizmo (from gremlins fame) figurine. i carry it with me always. i used it all through high school for tests and all through college for exams.

Posted by: ali at August 12, 2008 2:16 PM

It is a pillow. I've had it since I was 2. Now you know everything about me!

Posted by: alektra at August 12, 2008 3:37 PM

I had an XXL tshirt from Bucky's Delivery Service in Seattle I liked to sleep on. It was falling apart, half the neck band was not attached to the shirt itself, several holes, some curtsey of my bunny. And it was the softest most perfect sleep shirt ever. Somewhere along the line, it was lost or thrown away. i still mourn it.

Now it's a XXL tshirt from Flight Check, a preflight software for print ships.

Posted by: jodi at August 12, 2008 4:16 PM

I got nothing. Nada. I am the most unsentimental person you will find. I view stuff as ballast. And the ship is going down. I am the one shouting "Throw it overboard! Leave it! Leave it!" Unfortunately, my husband is the opposite. He actually threatened divorce over some worn out handkerchiefs I threw away. You know, something you blow boogers into. They were his favorite? I guess?

Posted by: denise at August 12, 2008 5:45 PM

I got nothing. Nada. I am the most unsentimental person you will find. I view stuff as ballast. And the ship is going down. I am the one shouting "Throw it overboard! Leave it! Leave it!" Unfortunately, my husband is the opposite. He actually threatened divorce over some worn out handkerchiefs I threw away. You know, something you blow boogers into. They were his favorite? I guess?

Posted by: denise at August 12, 2008 5:46 PM

You and your shirts! On the bright side, at least you look good in them. :)

Posted by: Zandria at August 12, 2008 8:22 PM

That's a fantastic photo montage. I dig it.

I'm not a big collector of comfort items. Well unless books count. I have a few titles that are frayed, dog eared, and tattered beyond belief because I've read them so many times and I couldn't imagine parting with them.

Oh, and I have one of my husband's old college sweatshirts (that I think I bought) that I love to pieces, but I think I like it cause it's really his, not mine.

Posted by: Jen at August 12, 2008 10:13 PM

I have a few white teachers I have had since the 8th grade (I am now 30) that are paper thin and so soft. I love them. I wear them around the house and sometimes to exercise. They are hanging by a thread but I cannot bear to get rid of them. I have bought some new white t-shirts to serve the same purpose but they are not even close to the originals in comfort.

Posted by: Sarah at August 12, 2008 10:28 PM

I meant to say white "tshirts" instead of teachers....sorry

Posted by: Sarah at August 12, 2008 10:34 PM

I have a green plaid van Heusen flannel shirt that is very large -- I literally can wrap it around me like a bathrobe -- but it's worn and comfortable, and in the cooler months, I wear it around the house, over whatever else I'm wearing. It's comforting, and soft and snuggly. I would be heartbroken if anything ever happened to it.

Posted by: coolchick at August 12, 2008 11:06 PM

I have a silver dollar coin my Dad gave me ten years ago. I don't know if it has brought me any luck, but IT sure is lucky. I skipped school one day, senior year of high school, and bought a bag of chips from Subway with it. Some dude behind me took pity on my broke ass and bought the coin back, then he dropped it on my table before leaving.

Posted by: Tink at August 13, 2008 10:42 AM

I have worn two pair of Adidas flip-flops (without the point sole, because? yuck!) smack out, as in, super ninga turtle glue will never do the trick and even Jesus couldn't fix these, worn out! I am working on pair numero tres as we speak.

I also used to have a shirt that had an alligator on it and said "Here comes trouble... cute, but still trouble" and then below that "Panama City, FL". I bought it in the kiddo section of the PCB Wal*Mart one night when I was drunk. I know I was drunk because:
A) I was in PCB, and
B) That is the only way anyone could ever convince me to go into a Wal*Mart
Said shirt is now missing, after all of these years, and it sucks!

Posted by: mymilabean at August 15, 2008 7:35 PM