The simple colour scheme caught my attention first, its faded black block-letters on eggshell white. Then its centre-aligned stacks of text balanced on top of one another created a visually appealing, top heavy image similar to an erect nipple or a pedestal for holding what was bound to be a powerful sentiment once I got close enough to read it.
THE WHOLE WORLD
Those seven words sat undaunted on the face of the t-shirt. There was no effort made to hide it in the safety of the clothing rack––this machismo war flag, weaved with the sinew of a hundred beer-bonging bros, hung face out, challenging anyone who looked its way. This was not the vintage novelty t-shirt of a coward (or anyone with taste or morals). I noticed a few words faded beyond legibility at the bottom of the shirt’s bold proclamation. Was this an actual quote? Who the hell said it? It must have been someone of relative celebrity for it to make it onto a t-shirt––I had to know. The shirt was well worn, nearly translucent from use and age, which made it look like it could have come from the ’70s, ’80s, or even ’90s. I tried to decide on some likely quotable candidates from those eras and their reasoning.
’70s: John Lennon upon breaking up with The Beatles.
’80s: The alternate title to Lionel Ritchie and Michael Jackson’s smash humanitarian hit, “We Are The World.”
’90s: President Bill Clinton after getting impeached.
“That one’s forty-bucks.” The grizzled shop-owner said, nodding at the shirt, and interrupting my speculation. At forty-bucks, he was obviously taking the quote to heart.