Some of you may know that I have a site that sells t-shirts and other items. Don’t worry, this ain’t a sales pitch so back your ire right the fuck off. It’s a story. A lovely story. If you like disgusting things.
Some of the shirts are good, well written (if I do say so myself), funny, and actually sell. Then there are those I write while saying,
“There’s no way in hell someone’s going to buy this but it’s funny.”
I’m not kidding when I say these are gutter shirts. Homeless people on fire wouldn’t even use some of these shirts to put themselves out. I do it so people keep reading because, as I’ve found through my decades long comedy career, people may bitch about the ugly but it keeps them around.
So you can imagine my surprise (and glee) when one of these questionable shirts sells. And they do. And they always surprise me.
“Who would wear that shirt in public?”
The latest one (and it’s not the first time) is one that says, “I Have A Small Penis.”
That’s not even the grossest one but I’ll let that sink in.
The first time I sold one I assumed it was a woman buying a joke for her boyfriend. Nah ah. Every time it’s sold it’s been a guy.
Ah, my audience. Ya gotta fear them.
Last week we’re at a party. Actually it was a game night so you can assume how thrilled I was. I dislike things like this for many reasons. None of them that they cut down on my beer consumption. I find just the opposite, thank you very much. There’s always someone trying too hard to be risque. Then someone trying hard to be too offended. Then someone who just doesn’t give a shit (oh wait, that’s always me). Then someone who doesn’t get the risque references. Unless the game has at least the suggestion of injury and doesn’t involve sitting I’m not interested.
But I have to go. Because, I’m told, that’s what adults do.
In this building I know four people. I’ve met four others briefly. I don’t know any others. The owner of the house (someone I know) has two little dogs. So that gives one of the guests the idea that it’s okay to bring along their gigantic dog. I walk in the house and the dog immediately jumps on me. Standing in my face he is two inches shorter than me. Ah, the festivities begin already.
The gigantic dog has one of the little dogs scared shitless. She’s sitting on a chair shaking. So I go over to pet her. Okay, I really did it to avoid human small talk. There. Ya happy? I told the truth. But I also did it to make the dog feel safe in their own damn home. The big dog would come over and I’d push him away. I was like a superhero to the little dog.
“Would you get in here?” I hear my beloved bellow for me. “How come you have to be so weird? Everyone’s waiting for you.”
No they’re fucking not. I can hear them. One guy is telling a hilarious story I’ve already heard three times since I’ve been here about some legendary game night when someone tripped over a double entendre and cracked his coccyx. But the first rule of game night is if you don’t start game night game night never ends.
I go in and, after another ten minutes of reliving the glory days, we begin. The person who brought the big dog is sitting next to me which means the big dog is in my crotch. Good thing I didn’t shower. Gotta give the boy something to live for.
The night goes as things like this go. Someone takes it too seriously, someone is disgusted, someone gets up to get a beer. Can you guess which of those was me?
During the game one person has decided to be the raconteur. While waiting for the next session of the game to begin he regales us with stories. Some of them are funny, some are mildly entertaining, some are only of interest to him but one had to do with me. And he didn’t even know it.
He’s telling the story about having to go to an hideous clothes party with his boyfriend. Oh boy! Game night this week! Hideous clothes last week! Does this guy know how to party or what? I wonder what he does on his birthday? Ceramic duck painting?
He tells this story about how much fun they had at a Salvation Army going through all the racks looking for hideous clothing. And wouldn’t you know it! They ran into another couple going to the same party! And wouldn’t you know it! They’re also here tonight! What are the odds that all of their calendars would be open to enjoy both these events? Hundred? Hundred and ten percent?
He goes on to say that his boyfriend found a perfect t-shirt to wear to the party. After drawing out the story to almost transparent levels he finally gets around to tell us what the shirt said. After which I said,
“I wrote that.”
Even the people I knew probably didn’t know I write. And surely not things like that. People are looking at me in awe. The story telling guy is laughing. A couple I met briefly once is staring at me. My beloved is trying to explain that I write comedy and that shirt definitely is comedic. At this moment I am the center of this parties attention. And not all of it is glowing. I’m like the guy at the party who pulled down his pants and sat in the pudding because he wanted to make a good impression.
It’s like I’ve been outed as a comedy subversive in a roomful of people who like Two Broke Girls. I am now infamous in this room. I’m a comedy car accident they can’t help but rubber neck. But there are so many levels to this story. Level one is I was trying to go out there to find a shirt that was funny in a groaning way. Level two is someone purchased that shirt. Which, to me, shows less couth than my writing it. Level three is the wife, presumably, who put that shirt directly from the envelope to the clothes donation pile. Then there’s level four. The guy who made the final mistake. He who decided, in a room full of Hawaiian shirts; multi-colored golf shirts; shirts of such hideous hue hilarity would have ensued, to pick a plain white t-shirt with six little words on it that I just happened to write. The words from the man’s mouth still ring in my ears.
“Ask Me About My Explosive Diarrhea.”
On the good side, I’ll never be asked to another game night.
So, in the end, it is probably the most useful shirt I’ve ever written.