Later in eleventh grade, I was invited to participate in some sort of Students Night at the Albany, NY City Council. Nobody told me it was a formal affair, so I dressed in my civvies and got a ride to City Hall. It was kind of fun - each student impersonated an existing council member and debated real life municipal issues - but at some point I was pulled aside and discretely but firmly reprimanded by one of the town elders. He smelled like pomade and seemed genuinely enraged that I had disrespected the concept of civic government. Oddly, a different kid who'd come dressed like a Scandinavian pot dealer (mullet, teen 'stache, JC Pennys sweater) received no such rebuke. I think it was my shirt. At the end of the night, we took a group photo;
Yes, that is "Good Morning America" anchor Chris Cuomo in the middle row, 4 teens to the left. My left.
Last December I decided to sell it on eBay. Back when I was in a band, I had the foresight to wear the shirt on an album cover, so I figured I might make enough money to cover one utility bill. In the interest of fair disclosure, I included a disclaimer with the auction;
Elephant in the room. This shirt will only look good on you if you are a superbly athletic guy with Tom Of Finland abs or a super hot petite chick with a great rack. If you are a 39 year old man who weighs 178 lbs., this maybe is not the t-shirt for you. More importantly, the shirt itself is not in great shape. It was a thin garment to begin with (Hanes, 75% cotton / 25% polyester, L42-44, which must mean children's large) and time and countless washing machines have worn it threadbare. Although you could easily slip it on and wear it around, the shirt is slowly growing holes around the neckline (see photos), and has the slightly brittle feel of a family heirloom. So buy at your own risk.
After five days, bidding only reached $3. I realized a global economic meltdown might not be the right time to part with the shirt. I paid $6 for it in 1986, after all. It's only fair that I cover my expenses. I pulled the auction and put it back in my trunk. Someday maybe this'll make a nice gift for a friend's grandkid. Or maybe the Smithsonian will want it. Whichever.