Sunday, April 09, 2017

Lake Carmi, for real

My very own body of water
London, ON
April 2017
I have this thing about old t-shirts: I just can't get rid of them. Much to my incredibly patient wife's consternation, I keep them around long after they're no longer wearable. They may have yellowed with age, or simply been worn down to mere threads from overuse, but still I keep them in my drawer. I guess I do so because t-shirts can often be signposts of the lives we've lived so far, triggers to memories that would otherwise be lost to time.

Exhibit A, the Lake Carmi t-shirt you see here. I've had it for decades. I couldn't have been older than 5 or 6 when my parents detoured the car off the highway and found this out-of-the-way place that magically shared my name. As a child with an incredibly off-mainstream name, it was a mindblowing experience to get out of the car and walk across a dusty parking lot where all the signs pointed to me. Being the baby of the family, it was the one time I got something uniquely mine, not a hand-me-down.

I wasn't really a fan of my name when I was a child. It singled me out, gave bullies something to hang onto, and was even a point of contention for friends when we had our inevitable children's arguments.

As a journalist in the Age of Google, my attitude has softened somewhat. It's helped me build a brand in a way that simply wouldn't have been possible had I been given a more common name. Everyone knows who this guy Carmi is - and most of the time in my line of work, that's a pretty good thing. Except, of course, when they disagree with me. But it's a risk I'm willing to take - and it's all part of the fun of being me.

Sometimes I wonder if that moment in the parking lot marked the inflection point where I began to change my mind, where "Carmi" became more of a benefit than a liability. Either way, the t-shirt may be yellowed with time, and so small that is barely fits the teddy bear I bought my wife when we first started dating. But I just can't leave it behind.

Your turn: Got an old piece of clothing that you just can't bear to get rid of?


1 comment:

Snaggle Tooth said...

That is so cool! I save old Tees n have heard of someone who cuts squares from them to make uniquely personal quilts. Maybe you have enough for a throw-quilt? Just a thought.
I once gave away some with my pic on them n wonder if they got tossed...