The Gossamer T-Shirt and the Old White Guys

Posted by By at 29 February, at 07 : 09 AM Print

By any reasonable standard, the shirt is a disgrace.

Over the period of the three or more decades I’ve owned it, various women with whom I have shared my life have insisted that it should be thrown away, or consigned to the rag-bag.

No dice.

I am in my 60s, a white Baby Boomer, and therefore I am a god. I will have my way.

Wait. That’s not quite right. Sorry…I forgot myself. I was talking about my Gossamer T.

That’s my shirt. Not in the way that any of my other shirts are my shirt, but in a way that is hard to describe. Maybe impossible to describe.

I think maybe it’s important to me in much the same way that certain celebrities are famous; simply because they are famous. Paris Hilton comes to mind. Or any of the cast of Jersey Shore. I have the shirt because I’ve always had the shirt.

Or something like that.

The Gossamer T used to be a medium gray. At one time it had a name on it advertising something, a type of running shoe, perhaps. I don’t remember. The word is long gone. Even the label is now a simple tag of white cloth.

The shirt is, to be frank, mostly hole. Once a blend of cotton and something synthetic, all the cotton has since dissolved, sacrificed to time and the abuses of sweat and untold hundreds of hours spent in washing machines and dryers. Nothing is left but the mesh of artificial threads, which for all I know will last for an eternity.

If I hold the Gossamer T up to the light, I can see right through, as though peering through a window on a foggy day. I swear I can read through it.

Sometimes you just keep a thing because you’ve always had it. Sure, the logic is circular, but sometimes it’s nice when familiar things stay around. Change can be scary. I think we’re seeing a lot of that sort of fear in today’s political landscape. Just look at the hullaballoo, again, over women’s reproductive rights. Notice that the drum-beaters who are “agin it” are almost entirely from my own demographic; Old White Guys.

Or look at the “concern” over the so-called “browning” of America. There is a lot of yammering from certain quarters over the mathematical certainty that within a few decades, Caucasians will be a statistical minority in America. Again, it’s the OWGs doing the yammering.

Funny, I always thought that America was more of an ideal than a synonym for “male white folks.”

Well, it’s a concept, for sure. One that had some currency, some years ago. Now, however, it’s a lot like my old T-shirt, mostly holes, kept around out of habit and nostalgia, without much of a future.

Photo by Vivian Chen
This post was written by:
- who has written 28 posts for Rock The Capital
T.W. Burger was born in western Pennsylvania but spent more than 30 years growing up in Athens Ga., with a two-year side-trip to Greenville, Mississippi. He has lived in the Gettysburg area since 1985. Before becoming a newspaper reporter at 35, he was an apprentice mortician, concrete mixer driver, garbageman, salesman, laboratory technician and all-around roustabout. He has written professionally since the late 1970s. He lives along Marsh Creek near Gettysburg with his partner Sue and a loose affiliation of cats. He is the author of the “Burger to Go” blogsite at - Email tburger

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