How many ‘business’ or ‘free’ t-shirts do you have?  I’m a t-shirt freak … I like a good t-shirt, but what really beats me down are the useless t-shirts I get from my company and vendors.  Maybe if I were still a poor college student I’d be less cynical about free useless t-shirts, but now that I’m in the six digit range, I care nothing for these pathetic shirts.

Occasionally I will get a worthy t-shirt and it will remain in my weekend rotation for months.  But the vast majority of these t-shirts are pure hud.  For example, the latest t-shirt I got from my company looks like a cheap United Way campaign shirt … it’s a little darker than powder blue and has red and yellow lettering.  The colors aren’t so bad, but the words the designer chose are dill-weed words … ‘mind’ ‘attitude’ ‘ability’ ‘fitness challenge’ ‘team’.  I can see someone with the intelligence of a 4-year-old wearing it, but not an adult.

An adult might wear this shirt if he were part of a team activity and he could wear it over another t-shirt.  Then, the moment the team activity ended, he could immediatly rip it off and trash it.  It’s the herd mentality … we don’t mind looking like idiots as a herd, but there’s no way in hell we’d be caught wearing one of these t-shirts on our own.  You’d be a zebra separated from the herd, hunted down by a lioness and finished off by a lion.

And so this latest retarded t-shirt may make its way to my closet and if it does, it will endure days of solitude in a corner … forgotten, useless.  Then one day, I’d clean out my closet and I’d need something with which to dust useful stuff.  The useless would finally have a use.  Once used, the shirt would be tossed with the rest of the junk or sent to a charitable donation center.

Eventually it will make its way to Central America where one day it will be sported by an 8-year-old Guatemalan girl who will use it as a dress.  Someday I may see this shirt again on a “Save the Children” TV commercial.  And finally a shirt that served no real purpose in its entire life will now have a legitimate reason to exist.

The first SF story I have comes from the highlands of Guatemala. I was a missionary there. One day a bunch of us were traveling to attend a meeting. The ride was long and there are no rest stops in Guatemala. We were in a packed mini-van. One of the other missionaries needed a pit stop. Miraculously, he was able to convince the driver to stop … something to the effect of “you’ll have to clean up my urine if you don’t stop.”

The minivan had one side-door and the missionary (we’ll call him Chuck) was sitting in the very back. 75% of the occupants had to exit. Once Chuck was out in the open air, the rest of us got back in. I didn’t need to exit and so I remained in my seat in the very back. We all waited patiently while Chuck relieved himself on the side of the road.

When he was finished, 75% of us exited the minivan and let Chuck back in. Soon we were humming down the road again. Meanwhile, Chuck was laughing uncontrollably. I asked him what was so funny. Stage fright. With all those people in the van just two feet away, he couldn’t relax sufficiently to release!

He waited two more hours of driving before he found a private bathroom.