What The Three New T-Shirts I Bought Mean For My Legacy

Two things I worry about too much are my legacy as a writer and what I wear as a writer. Clothes, as a part of my identity, have always been a struggle for me. Back in elementary school and junior high my clothes marked me as a nerd and the harder I tried to dress like the other kids the worse I looked. In high school my clothing choices had multiple personalities. I was preppy sometimes and scruffy some times and “fashionable” some times and there were two years I wore cowboy boots with everything. All of those styles fit me in some ways and but really none of them did. At my core I am a jeans and t-shirts kind of guy. It’s the best mix of comfort and style I’ve ever known but I’ve never been able to stick to it for very long without trying to be someone else.

As I prepared to go on tour for Riot Load I had a really hard time deciding what to wear. For a long time I debated taking several sport coats and button up shirts with me but seeing as I would be talking about a book about a sperm bank robbery that seemed like overkill. Two things saved me from making a colossal blunder and packing a wardrobe that would have made me look like a traveling gavel salesman: space constraints and the weather. It was going to be over 100 degree in Phoenix and Houston and I was only traveling with a single carry-on suitcase. That made sport coats incredibly impractical.

So I thought about polo shirts. They rank a close second in things I like to wear with jeans, but they’re also very boring. Even my striped ones. And every time I wear them I can’t help but think I look like Alan Harper from Two and A Half Men. So I went shopping to look for something that would be easy to pack and was more professional than a t-shirt but still had some style. I settled on two Hawaiian shirts.  There were great in the heat and I love the designs and I will wear them a lot, but they still reeked of trying too hard not to be who I really wanted to be.

Which brings us to last night when I was at the store exchanging a pair of shorts I bought for a smaller size. They were having a sale on their novelty t-shirts and I had to take a look. At first it seemed like nothing but superhero shirts which I am SO over, but I found a few gems I had to have. I got a Schoolhouse Rock one, a Fallout one, and, my favorite, a Duck Tales one. I will be wearing these to Bouchercon and to Noir at the Bar in Minneapolis and to Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee and possibly even to the wedding I’m in this weekend (note to my sister-in-law if she’s reading this: I’m kidding). I don’t care if anyone thinks I’m a stooge.

This is who I am and if you don’t like it you can suck it.