I wouldn’t want anybody spraining a retina trying to decipher the masochistically minuscule red text at the bottom of this absolute head-scratcher, so I’ll transcribe it (sic) for you.
THE RIDE IN MEMORY OF ALL THOSE
WHO FORGOTT TO LOOK BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT.
AND TO ALL THOSE THAT DID! JUST KEEP WALKING…
AS WE WILL KEEP ROCKING THE INTERSECTIONS
OF TEE CITY.
So, putting all the disparate elements of this design together – and feeling like Sherlock Holmes staring at a table laid out with several pieces of apparently incongruous but abstractly connected evidence – I have eventually arrived at the following harrowing conclusions:
This T-shirt fake-commemorates a made-up event that ran, annually, for six years, between 1978 and 1984, before it was presumably banned owing to widespread public outrage. Said event involved “Dare Drivers” barrelling down “26th Street” with a deliberate lack of due care and attention, often resulting in them ploughing into crowds of pedestrians, leaving behind ghoulish piles of twisted metal and eviscerated flesh (as depicted on the spectral illustration behind the main text).
Those killed were then ‘commemorated’ by the following year’s carnage-filled Dare Drive, which generated yet more deaths, which were then commemorated by the following year’s Dare Drive, and so on and so on, until 1984, when the city’s residents finally decided – after six years of sociopathic automotive slaughter – that enough was enough.
Can that be right? Can it? Like the Koran or the Mona Lisa’s smile, this T-shirt is surely open to an almost infinite number of interpretations. Furrow-browed, elbow-patched, coffee-breathed scholars will be poring over this bad boy for decades.
What’s the thinking behind fake-distressed, erroneously-dated designs such as this? Are they intended to trick onlookers into being impressed that the wearer has stayed loyal to a garment that’s long past its prime? Or are they supposed to indicate that the wearer feels profoundly alienated from contemporary life, and yearns to escape to some long-gone, halcyon era? Or… what?
Whatever the reason, fake distressing is fast becoming the norm for many high-street clothing chains. How long before this practice spreads beyond the world of fashion? How long before new cars come pre-riddled with rust, or new houses have chic rising-damp built into them? Ladies will wear bras that make their tits sag, men will shave bald patches onto their heads, and eventually we’ll all just be lying around in the street, pretending to be dead.
Just as San Francisco has a Department of Water, a Department of Public Health and a Department of Public Works, it also has a Department of Athletics, which is called upon to deal with the city’s frequent athlete infestations and outbreaks of triple-jumping.
1976 (or “Seventy Six”, if you’re numerically dyslexic) was, of course, the year that hurdles pox broke out in Ashbury Heights. A lot of good people hurt their shins and fell on their faces that winter. Let us never forget.
Just look at this. Breaks the heart, doesn’t it? Barely out of the womb and already indoctrinated into a life of adorning senseless garments.
“Mummy, is South Side Sharks Baseball a real thing? Can we go and see it, Mummy? Can we?”
“No, darling, it’s not a real thing. As jaunty and amusing as it doubtless appears to your naïve little eyes, the design on your babygro is as hollow and meaningless as life itself.
“The time has come for you to learn a valuable lesson: Words mean nothing, and nothing means anything. All is lies. Hopelessness reigns. Morality is dead. Chaos is your god now – chaos and soul-scorching nihilism. Your father and I have long danced amidst the sweet, seductive flames of pure anarchy, and soon enough, and forever more, so shall you.
“Do you understand what I am telling you, my child?”
Thanks to Will Jack
Division Middle Field – or the Dee! Emm! Eff! – is easily the toughest of all the vague, made-up sporting leagues. It’s far more competitive than the European Challenge Series, the All-Star Premiere Winners Cup or the Global League Championship Association Tournament Trophy.
Go hard or go home! Dee! Emm! Eff! Dee! Emm! Eff!
Thanks to Alex Sim-Wise