It seems that every t-shirt comes with a message. Many of the messages are moralistic - they tell us how to live or what to do. Some are more direct about it than others.
A couple of days ago at REI, I bought a t-shirt at REI that urges one to “Live Simply.” I don’t really like the message. Living simply is boring. I think it is better to live passionately or extravagantly or adventurously or dangerously, but it is a good sturdy shirt that looks good. It was made by Patagonia from organic cotton, so expensive, but it was on sale.
I considered another t-shirt from Green Label that says, “Roam,” on top of a background of mountains and trees. The injunction to Roam is ironic when considered morally. Moralists don’t roam. Moralists have such strong feelings about which direction one should head and when. I like to roam. I wish the shirt had fit.
I also recently ordered a t-shirt from Life is Good. Deep discount. It says, “Home, Sweet Home.” It has a buffalo on it, and mountains and trees. To me, the message is ecological or mythical or sentimental or animist. Home, home on the range.
I like to go light in the mountains. It can be dangerous and extravagant and adventurous to go light. Maybe that is what “Live Simply” means against a background of mountains and trees.
I saw a couple of interesting North Face t-shirts at Adventure16. One said, “Blood, Sweat and Elevation.” Another said, “Know Pain, Know Gain.” The messages are strong. They are immoral, if used to bully. But they express the feelings one may have when one has climbed high and long in the mountains and is feeling tired and sore. They express the danger and injury that goes with adventure, with climbing high in mountains and in life.
What does your t-shirt say? What does it mean?