Appendix 1.22 – Shotgun Eddy

Today we have a grey ringer from Shotgun Eddy, featuring a picture of what one must assume is a lumberjack with huge biceps and apparently atrophied forearms carrying an axe and riding a log. I will assume that the rest of his legs are under water in this rendering, and not that he is also an amputee. He does have the one most important feature of any lumberjack, however—that of course being a majestic moustache.

Surrounding the picture which was evidently drawn by a thirteen-year-old are the words “Shotgun Eddy”, “WOLF RIVER TRIPS”, and “WHITELAKE, WISC.” From this I gather that Shotgun Eddy is a person or organization that will facilitate you floating down the Wolf River in the north woods of Wisconsin, near White Lake (not Whitelake, my thorough research—googling it—concludes). Whether that is something done on a log is unclear, as is how it involves shotguns. I would hope it involves canoes or rafts of some sort and is done voluntarily and not at gunpoint. But I’ve never been there so I wouldn’t know.

Day 169 – ETC Addition 2008

The day I started the job where I still work today, I went over to visit a construction site of a building that was at that time just a shell; mostly a foundation with the metal skeleton of a structure on it. That was the beginning of the building I now sit in every weekday. I helped move the company, or at least the IT parts of it, from a series of disconnected buildings spread around the area into one, big, central office and factory that housed everybody. It was pretty cool, actually. Still is.

Then a few years down the line, as it is with pretty much any move I have experience with, you’ve settled in and realized even though it is bigger and better than what you had before, you still don’t have as much space for all your stuff as you’d like. If it was your house, you’d clean out your closets and take stuff to goodwill or have a garage sale or maybe in an extreme situation rent a storage unit. When you’re a moderately-sized manufacturing business, you can’t just sell your manufacturing equipment in the parking lot to free up space. But that’s a good thing, because it means your business is expanding and things are going well. So you add on to what you have. In 2008, that’s exactly what we did.

My role in this was actually fairly minimal. I coordinated a small portion of the IT needs for the new addition (mostly overhead paging). But, as I have said before, my employers like giving employees clothes with the company logo on them, so I got a T-shirt nonetheless. It is a dark gray short-sleeve shirt. The front has an LBT with the company logo with a steel girder in front of it, and it says “BUILDING ADDITION Expanding our future 2008”. The back has a moth-by-month timeline of the project with some months crossed out and labeled “SNOW” to reflect the many delays caused by heavy snows that year. I remember at one point to get the roof finished and sealed, they actually had people up on top of it with snowblowers clearing off the unfinished roof. I think there was some discussion of bringing in a helicopter to act as a giant snowblowing fan.

It is now 2012 and once again I am specifying overhead paging for yet another new addition. No word on T-shirt designs at this stage.

Day 169 - ETC Addition

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Day 131 – Hello, Israel

Funny, because just yesterday I was talking about how I usually didn’t think much of the souvenir T-shirts I got from my parents’ travels, with some exceptions, and here we have today probably the biggest exception. My parents took a trip to the “holy land” several years back, and when they returned, they brought me today’s shirt. And I love it.

It is a gray short-sleever which says “HELLO, ISRAEL 22 BASIC HEBREW LETTERS TELL…” and then proceeds to list the Hebrew alphabet, each letter in blue outlined with gold, and featuring a scene of some type on each. Then below it says (I think) the name of the letter in English, something which I cannot read in Hebrew, and what I think is some Israeli location that is somehow related to that letter but I’m not absolutely sure. My guess is that they are place-names that start with that letter in Hebrew. But that is mere speculation as everything I know about the Hebrew language I learned from this T-shirt—which is to say, absolutely nothing.

The printing is starting to flake and the shirt has a few holes in it; I’m sure part of this is due to its status as a cheap souvenir shirt, but make no mistake that the majority of it is because this, unlike yesterday’s shirt, has been loved and well-worn. At some point I decided that this shirt would be my concert T-shirt. And I have worn it to many, many concerts. As everyone knows, you must not wear the shirt of the band you are seeing to the concert (there are some rare exceptions to this rule but I will not delve in to them at this time) but the choosing of a good shirt to wear is just as important. It must be comfy, something you like but not so much that you aren’t willing to get it all sweaty or potentially roughed-up, and of course you must anticipate how it will reflect on you when viewed by judgmental fellow concert-goers (which is to say everyone). This one does well in all those categories, most importantly because I could wear it and be fairly secure in the knowledge that no one else there would have worn, owned, or even seen this shirt before. I cannot even begin to enumerate the concerts this shirt has experienced, but pretty much every concert I went to between when I got it and when my concert-going days slowed down post-fatherhood—a good decade at least. I guess I consider this shirt semi-retired, in the sense that I reserve the right to bring it out of retirement in the event the right tour comes through town and a babysitter can be retained.

Suggestions for further discussion: what was your concert T-shirt and why?

Day 131 - Hello, Israel

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Day 128 – Monticello Physical Education

In my middle and high schools we were always required to take a gym class. I was never especially athletic then, but I never really had a problem with it either, I suppose. It was just something we did. In the later years of high school, all the regular P.E. (that is, physical education) classes were scheduled in the same periods opposite band and choir. So if you were in band, you took P.E. during the choir period (5th), and if you were in choir, you took P.E. during the band period (1st). If you were in neither, I suppose you had your choice. But if you were in both, as I of course was, as well as most of my friends, you got put in to a special session of gym class which was called “Music P.E.”. Since it was exclusively filled with band and choir geeks, you can imagine about how that went. Even the gym teachers, not a group well known for their laid-back attitudes, could muster any enthusiasm for this class, much less the students. Nobody cared. Ninety percent of the class was taken up by one of these three things: tennis (warm months), Bowling (cold months), or just plain study hall. The good news for me and my fellow band-choir friends was that while none of us were what you would call exemplary physical specimens, relatively speaking we were above average or better athletically in this group. We were pretty competitive at tennis and bowling, anyway. When we weren’t trying to hit tennis balls over the fence in to the pool, or lobbing eight-pound balls down the lane so that they didn’t actually touch the ground until they were halfway to the pins. All to the resounding apathy of our gym teachers who were clearly taking this period to be their break.

Anyway, there were theoretically some rules that applied to gym classes; e.g. you were supposed to wear a certain uniform, consisting of appropriate athletic shoes, gym shorts, and a school-issue T-shirt that you had to buy. The logic behind this was apparent other than just trying to foster general uniformity; when teenagers, who already stink of sweat and tightly-wound sexuality, spend an hour in the middle of their day running in circles playing games completely fabricated for the purpose of high-school gym (can anyone out there confirm the existence of a sport named “Sacket” outside my high school P.E. class?) you want them to be at least wearing a different shirt than they do the rest of the day so they don’t make chemistry class in the afternoon even less bearable from the B.O. Wait, I hear someone saying, why didn’t you just take a shower after gym? Because, my good and logical friend, there wasn’t possibly enough time to do so. They gave us like five minutes before and after P.E. to change and get to and from our surrounding classes, and with the gym on the far end of the school building, it wasn’t physically possible. Never in my six total years of attending that school building for combined middle school and high school—never—did I ever see or even hear of anyone actually taking a shower after gym. The showers existed, I believe, but I have absolutely no memory of them because they were never used. Granted, I don’t think most of us would have used them even if they gave us the time to do so, because the specter of standing naked and therefore completely vulnerable in a communal shower in high school—much less middle school, when you were already as ashamed of your body as possible while fully clothed—would have been pretty much unthinkable, and tantamount to an invitation to sexual traumatization. Other than prison, I think high school would be about the least comfortable place to take a shower.

I’m getting off topic. So the rules for changing for gym class existed on paper, but in practice, as I’ve said, our teachers couldn’t be bothered to care, so mostly we just wore whatever. Sometimes if they were already pissed off at someone for being a douchebag in an earlier class (Douchebags? In high school gym classes? Shocking!) they would get militant and start enforcing the letter of the law. But in most cases they didn’t care, and as long as you had a different shirt, really any shirt, as long as it didn’t have profanity or advertise alcohol, you were OK (although our gym teachers could wear shirts that openly promoted religion, which I always had a problem with inherently but never was stupid enough to actually make into a thing). But technically you were supposed to only wear the school-issue shirt. Which is kind of going against the spirit of the thing, because with two or three P.E. classes per week, there is no way those things were getting washed as often as they should have, if they got washed at all, and so they were likely just compounding the problem, and not helping it, but whatever.

So this shirt is not my official high school P.E. shirt. This was AN official high school P.E. shirt, but it was not MY official high school P.E. shirt. Mine will be coming up later in this project. This one is one that was not available as an option when I originally got my official P.E. shirt back in seventh grade. But somewhere along the line, someone left it in the locker room or something and I ended up with it. As you can see, it is designed and drawn by a student who was at the time quite well known for his drawings of this style.

Let’s first acknowledge that the design of the “panther” (our school mascot, natch) is a blatant rip-off of Chester Cheetah of Cheetos fame. Chester had only recently become a popular spokes-cartoon at that time, I believe, and so the influence is obvious. The panther is sporting (see what I did there) a red tank-top that says “Physical Fitness #” and weirdly bulgy pants, which I am not sure if are supposed to be bulgy because they are, like, football pants, and therefore filled with pads, or just panther-Chester’s unique beefy musculature, despite his tiny, tiny waist. He is holding a baseball bat (not to be confused with a Sacket bat as that is flat and notched at the end) and a tennis racket, and at his feet are lots of various balls (insert your own testicle joke here), although not one for bowling that I can see. The most baffling characteristic of our mascot here is that he appears to be wearing a pirate-like eye patch on his one visible eye. I do not know if that is in fact what it is intended to be, and if so, why; perhaps to make him look tough? Perhaps because some sport caused him to get his eye poked out? Perhaps because he has a lazy eye? Perhaps it is because Chester Cheetah is always wearing sunglasses, and this was our student artists’ fair-use inspired take on how to make it his own while not significantly departing from the model outset?

Anyway, it says “Monticello Physical Education” or actually “MoNticeLLo PhySicAL EdUcAtion” in balloon red lettering with a drop shadow. And the shirt itself is gray. And that’s about it. I do not own a red tank top that says “Physical Fitness #” on it, but I wish I did. Ideally in a technical fabric so I could wear it running.

Day 128 - Monticello Physical Education

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Day 125 – State Street Mile 2006

Usually State Street Mile T-shirts are fairly interesting compared to, say the Crazylegs T-shirts, but this is the exception to that rule. This shirt could not be much more boring. This shirt is so boring they forgot to even put the year on it. I had to do the math to figure out what year it was from based on the roman numeral and another shirt that said it was the 25th anniversary.

It is a gray shirt that says in block letters “PROPERTY OF SWEDISHAMERICAN XXII STATE STREET MILE ROCKFORD, IL”. It has the normal sponsor logos in the usual places. That is about all. I can’t think of anything else interesting to say about it. It’s that boring. The charm of the “property of” shirts with the size on the front is that it’s supposed to look like you stole them from an institution with a bunch of uniform shirts. But this doesn’t even accomplish it well. In addition, I can’t even think of anything interesting to say about that race. So I’ll stop trying.

Day 125 - State Street Mile 2006

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Day 121 – Class of 95

Today’s shirt is my Class of ’95 shirt from my senior year of high school. On the back, it says “MONTICELLO 1995” and lists in alphabetical order the names of the entire graduating class (more or less—if I recall correctly, there may be some names there that did not, technically, graduate. But that may be just rumor and innuendo). My name is right there in the middle column near the top.

The front of the shirt shows a thin, wild-eyed cartoon man struggling to hold aloft a large stone spelling out “CLASS OF 95” while standing on a (ahem) “grassy” hill and amongst three mountains with black peaks. The picture on the front of the shirt was designed and drawn by one of my classmates, and approved by the faculty to become our official class T-shirt. I mention the faculty approval and official status because upon viewing through the lens of a teenage boy, one might question if it would be. I know when I first saw it, questions in my mind immediately popped up, such as why the mountains were dark on top and light below, opposite of the snowy white and dark rock one would normally expect, and didn’t the grass he was standing on look not very grass-like, and, much more like, say, hair? I later confirmed my suspicions when I was told by the artist himself that the design was intended to have an alternate interpretation, inasmuch as if you were to cover the man and the words entirely (and one of the mountains in doing so) the image was intended to evoke (particularly jagged) breasts and the hill on which the man was standing to represent the hairy pubic mound of a woman. I suppose that it was non-sexual enough to avoid being suggestive to the censors, while also being completely non-erotic, but of course eroticism wasn’t the point, and putting one past the school administration was, and in that, I guess, it succeeded. A fitting tribute to my senior class.

Day 121 - Class of 95

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Day 119 – Crazylegs 2006

OK, I know, I know, I said last time that it was the last of the Crazylegs shirts. I was wrong. I forgot about this one. Maybe there’s more. I can’t keep track. This one is from 2006, which I think was my first Crazylegs. This was before I took up serious distance running and probably was the longest I had ever run up to that point. I remember being pretty nervous about the distance. Whenever I talk to newer runners or runners who don’t do much distance I like to think back to how nervous I was about this race because it grounds me to remember a time that five miles seemed like a huge challenge when I now do runs longer than that multiple times per week. I also like to remember how it felt at the end, and what a huge sense of accomplishment I had when I finished. I felt like I could have done it again because I had such a positive experience. That is why I decided to form a team to encourage other people to participate and hopefully get that same sense of accomplishment.

The shirt itself is, like most Crazylegs shirts, excessively boring. It says “CRAZYLEGS” above a start with a “25” in it, to indicate that this was the 25th running of the race, and below says “YOUR LEGS SUPPORT BADGER ATHLETICS”. I don’t typically show the backs of Crazylegs shirts as they are just a mess of sponsor logos, but in this case I will, just to give an example, and because the most interesting design elements are actually on the back of this one.

Day 119 - Crazylegs 2006

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Day 118 – Vinyl

Way back in the first month of this project I wore and consequently wrote about a shirt with a 45 adapter logo on it that my wife got for us back when we were first together. We actually got two shirts that day, and this is the other one of them. It is also record-themed; it says “VINYL” in letters surrounded by black circles below a line drawing of a minimalist representation of a turntable. Like the other one, it is one we have both shared, and it reminds me of the time when we were first dating and in love with records and each other. I think the first Christmas we were together I got her all records as presents. Which is to say I selfishly got presents for myself, because I knew that by giving them to her, they would get incorporated in to our mutual collection, which I knew would not be separated because we were going to stay together forever. A week later I proposed to her.

Day 118 - Vinyl

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Day 117 – Request Jeans Co.

So when I was in high school, I had a girlfriend. We got along OK, I guess. We liked each other, mostly. It never would have worked out—that much is pretty obvious, now—but we had some good times. You date people in high school mostly because they’re there, not so much because you have a lot in common. And we did not really have that much in common. For example, at that time, I was in to ripped jeans and flannels and growing out my hair, whereas she was in to trendy clothes and hated my hair long (while lusting after guys in bands with long hair). Admittedly I was still in that transitional phase, hair-wise, where it’s not long yet and looks like crap. But that’s the price you pay.

There was a point at which I broke down and got a haircut. On the face of it the reason I did this was because I had been cast in a play in which I was playing the role of a military officer, and they aren’t, as a rule, seen with shaggy, bangs-in-your-face, high-school-boy haircuts. But part of it (although I wouldn’t have admitted it to her at the time) was because I was tired of the obvious contempt she had for my appearance. On the one hand, I couldn’t understand why she wanted me to be something other than what I chose to be, and couldn’t accept me at face value. On the other hand, I wanted to make her happy and like me. So I guess the play thing gave me a plausible excuse.

Around the same time, she expressed an interest in taking me shopping, to help me choose some clothes that she thought would improve my image. I reluctantly agreed to this because I wanted to be open-minded. We went to the mall, and she took me with her to various stores so that she might pick out an “outfit” for me. I explained that while I had heard of this concept, it was not entirely clear to me. My understanding of it was that these were a set of clothes that one wore all together, at the same time, and were for the purpose of wearing all together at the same time. She said that basically this was correct. I asked her if that then prohibited me from wearing individual pieces of this “outfit” separately. She said that while that was possible, it took away from the impact that the whole ensemble together would have. I explained to her that this seemed like it was impractical at best, and perhaps even downright silly, to own a shirt that could only be worn with a certain pair of pants, or vice-versa. This argument did not convince her. So, in an attempt to be the boyfriend she clearly wanted, I agreed to let her pick out some clothes for me.

This shirt was the partial result of that shopping trip. This is not a shirt I would have ever considered buying otherwise. It is a grey shirt which says “REQUEST JEANS CO. LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA” across the front. This is the extent of the design. Basically I got a shirt that advertises a company that sells pants. This is something that we paid to have the privilege to do. They did not pay us to advertise for them. We paid them. I do not remember nor do I care to what the other parts and pieces of this “outfit” were. I just know that whenever I see this shirt, it reminds me of the foolishness trying to conform to someone else’s ideal.

Day 117 - Request Jeans Co.

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Day 107 – State Street Mile 2004

And we’re back to the State Street Mile shirts. This one is from 2004. I gotta say that while simple, I like this one. I don’t love all the State Street Mile shirts, but they’ve had a few good ones—certainly more than those boring Crazylegs ones—and this one I like for its simplicity. I think one of the reasons I am inclined to like the SSM shirts is that they tend to be about running up to, and past, the point of pain, which is something I guess I can just identify with.

The shirt is a gray short-sleeve that just says, simply: “run. fast. breathe. hard.” Which is a nice little mantra if you ask me. It also has all the other regular SSM logos and ads and such but I’ve shown those before.

’04 is quite a while ago now. I don’t think this was from my first one, but perhaps the first one I officially ran the open race in (and consequently got a T-shirt). The reason I say that is because the first time I went down to Rockford on race day was when I had just started running again after a while and just coincidentally happened to be visiting my sister on the day of the race. I mentioned that I had started running again and she suggested I should do the fun run—I wasn’t signed up, but she said I could just drop out before the finish. I said I did happen to have my running shoes in the car, so I laced up and went with them. At that point I was doing a mile or two every day or two, nothing major. So I lined up in the middle of the pack for the non-competitive fun run, with the intention of just doing it like my normal everyday training runs.

So the gun went off, and we started running, and pretty soon I found that even though I was going and my usual nice easy pace, I was only behind one guy. Pretty soon, he started running out of steam, and I knew I wasn’t officially in the race, but I didn’t want to run slower than my usual pace just because this guy went out too fast, and the folks in the pace truck ahead of us were waving me forward (even though I didn’t have a race number) so I passed him. And just kept running. In the lead. I didn’t look back at him after that but I guess I put a good distance between us and pretty soon I was near the finish and people were cheering me on, and the race officials were waving me in to the chute. I knew we had talked about me dropping out before the finish, but there was really no opportunity for me to do that. So I went in the chute and crossed the finish line first. And then they asked me for my race number. And I had to tell them I didn’t have one. They were mad. I felt pretty bad about it. But I hadn’t ever run a road race before, at least not as an adult, and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just happened to be the fastest guy in the fun run that day. Ever since then I’ve run in the open where I belong and they’ve since done away with the fun run (which had nothing to do with me being a cheater, I’m sure, but is still a bad idea in my opinion, because there should be an event for walkers and other non-competitive types). Turned out that guy I passed was the official winner, and my sister, who I had just come to visit, got second.

Day 107 - State Street Mile 2004

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