A Tee Shirt’s Eye View Of The World And Talking About Things That You Shouldn’t Talk About

Hi folks,

fig tree, fig as a symbol, FitOldDog's fig tree,

This is FitOldDog’s fig tree, planted as a tiny little stick about four years ago, and here it is generating lots of lovely figs, in spite of losing all of its leaves the first frost.

Display appears to be a constant characteristic of mating behavior in most species, probably even in bacteria on a chemical level, for all I know. In humans, such display comes in some bizarre formats. These formats vary from generation to generation, with long skirts or short skirts, tuxedos, ironmongery or Birkenstocks, and sometimes even tee-shirts. The one example of tee-shirt display that I remember most vividly, for reasons that will become clear below, was ‘on display,’ literally, in a park in California where I was walking with my 4-year old son on my shoulders. There was a young woman proudly walking along with a plain yellow tee-shirt, with a tiny little ‘bill board’ in the form of a sentence in letters about quarter of an inch high in the middle of her chest, and clearly intended to attract readers. This young woman was well endowed, or as they say in French, “Il y avait du monde au balcon” (Google translate won’t help you with this one, I tried and I’m still laughing). Not being a ‘boob guy,’ and thus not being discomboobulated, and having a 4-year old on my shoulders, I boldly walked up to within a few inches of this lady’s chest, and she stood proudly and waited while I read the display, which said, “Don’t just stand and stare, go grow your own.

god hates signs,

It seems odd to put GOD and HATE in the same context, not that I ever did understand the GOD thing, except in the context of Richard Dawkin’s Gene Organizing Device, but tolerance is key on all sides if one hopes to understand the universe.

Tee-shirts as signs can, therefore, clearly be used as a form of mating display by the human primate. My son said, “Dad, who was that lady,” and I replied, “Just an interesting person with something to get off her chest,” but his attention was elsewhere already. Ever since then I have taken notice of tee-shirts, and their relation to human behavior – it is actually quite intriguing. In fact, tee-shirts have come into my life in a big way recently, with two of my sons (not the one on my shoulders in California, interestingly enough) marketing tee-shirts of their own design, and very different designs they are. I suspect that tee-shirts provide a way to say things that you are not supposed to talk about, these being the things that cause the most trouble on the planet and that we really do need to talk about, such as religion, sex, money, and politics, and boy, are these all tangled up together in the most interesting ways. I like to approach such topics on this blog because they interest me, but I sure have to be careful how I do it, especially when it comes to religion, which I consider to be extremely weird and incomprehensible.

Chez Ollie If Jesus turned water into wine, why does the local church so hate us selling wine in our little grocery store, I wonder? The world truly is odd.

At one of my business interests, Johnny’s Gone Fishing, in Carrboro, NC, USA, a welcoming hand has been extended to local churchgoers in the form of a tee-shirt. Some of these neighbors have expressed considerable resistance to the existence of our little grocery store and local hangout. So this tee-shirt, while being à propos, is really an invitation for them to come in and enjoy our store, which has some of the best coffee around.

Chez Ollie My son, Duncan, overheard me saying “I’m not dead yet!” the other day, and before you know it it is on a tee-shirt at redbubble.

One of my favorite sayings, which actually comes from a Monty Python movie, ‘The Holy Grail,‘ is “I’m not dead yet!” I said it the other day, in the presence of number 2 son and artist, Duncan, and abracadabra it’s on a tee-shirt at redbubble. This is the beauty of art, it enriches our lives, but more importantly it makes us think. The message here is, “Life is brief, don’t waste it.” Images, even on tee-shirts, can convey messages that just do not come across in words, and so onto the next set of tee-shirts, made by my eldest son, Nick, of kite-boarding fame, and very different tee-shirts they are. Nick has two sons, and they love all forms of transport devices, such as trucks and cars and planes and trains. Nick noticed that there were no tee-shirts available for his sons (my lovely grandsons, or two of them, anyway) that expressed their particular interest.

Fighter jet tee-shirt, Shirts That Go, FitOldDog's son,

Fighter jet tee-shirt, by FitOldDog’s eldest son, Nick, at Shirts That Go.

So, Nick, being enterprising, and having just read ‘The Four Hour Work Week,’ by Tim Ferriss, set about to create such shirts himself as a secondary business interest. After three years of hard work, these tee-shirts are doing well on the open market, and the business is apparently paying for itself with some profits to spare. I am impressed by Nick’s enterprise and dedication to this task, as he continues to be one of my best SEO advisors, giving me just the amount of input I need at the right time. Interestingly, Nick’s recent creations visually express support for our troops in harm’s way, and lest we forget the tragedy of the Vietnam veterans and their homecoming reception, Nick’s shirts provide an important reminder. These shirts can also provide a great segue into explaining to kids what wars are all about, and how they need to be prevented whenever possible. This is what a strong military is all about, negotiation from a standpoint of strength and reason.

retirement, arthur, United Airlines, travel,

As he boarded our flight, Arthur seemed happy, and gave me permission to use his photo. Thanks, Arthur.

I love the way tee-shirts can be used in this constructive way, and here is one final tee, worn by Arthur, a fellow passenger on a flight from Hawaii, who gladly agreed to let me use his photo for this blog. I explained that my goal was to encourage people to stay in shape through my mantra of safe exercise for better health. He liked that, and even though retired from his job, he had no intention of retiring from life, and he was fit as a fiddle. Thanks for being a great role model, Arthur, and I enjoyed your tee-shirt. Let’s try to keep on talking about the things that are important, but that we are ‘not supposed to talk about,’ because it is through such conversations that understanding and tolerance are created, ‘if you’re lucky!’

-k @FitOldDog



  1. If the tee shirt above asys: “I’m retired don’t ask me to do a damn thing” them when the house is on fire, or something nasty threatens do I remain silent and not say “get out, save yourself”?

  2. No, I think you are expected to suggest it to him politely in a round about sort of way that the heat is on. I had similar thoughts running through my head when I saw the shirt, but then, I don’t actually consider ‘retirement’ to be a viable approach to life. Great for death though, so maybe your scenario is part of the plan? -kevin

  3. PS Did you have a great time with the Grandkids? -kevin

  4. PPS Is my landing page a little more appropriate? Or at least moving in the right direction? -kevin

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.