I Love Being A Turtle

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Not For Sale

Once upon a time, I lived for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I was ten years old and my family had just moved to back to Oklahoma from Norway. It was a culture shock to say the least. I had trouble fitting in with the kids at my new school and I seemed to be out of the loop on what was “cool”.

However, I wasn’t exactly “cool” myself (check out the Hammer Pants).

When we moved back to the states, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were just starting to make waves in Europe and were my new favorite toy of choice (sorry Rock Lords). However, while the Turtles were new in Norway, they were already OLD NEWS in the States.

So many memories in these toys

So many memories in these toys

My initial conversations with new classmates went something like this (condensed for effect):

“Hey guys! Do you like Ninja Turtles?”

“No. Go play with Zach. He’s a dork like you.”

Zach was my only friend in fourth grade. He had severe ADHD. However, back then, it was just called “being hyperactive”. The only thing we had in common was we liked the Ninja Turtles. That was enough for me to want to hang out with him (for a little while anyway). When we played Turtles at his house, he generally wound up eating too many fruity pebbles which turned him into an uncontrollable flailing lunatic. I think I saw his eyes roll into the back of his head a few times. This would prompt his mom to come in and give him a good dose of Kick In The Ribs. This would bring him down long enough to have April O’Neil’s action figure make out with Shredder, only to lose his sanity again to the fruity pebbles.

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April O’Neil. What a babe.

Needless to say I couldn’t bear the thought of staying friends with Zach even though we shared this love of the Turtles.

So, I became a lone wolf. I was that kid sitting in the middle of the playground playing a game I called “Throwing Tiny Pebbles At Other Tiny Pebbles” to pass the time. In retrospect, as silly as this may sound, the Turtles were perhaps the “friends” I needed to push through that transitional time.

Donatello was my favorite. I think because a makeshift bo staff was more readily available than twin katanas or nunchucks. We lived on a 300 acre farm so I could find a long stick, journey into the woods around my house, pretend I was Donatello and imagine countless scenarios where trees were foot soldiers and I was kicking the shit out of them.

I loved being a Turtle. It was my escape from the trials of being a kid transitioning into a new country, a new life and new asshole kids who wouldn’t accept me because I liked something they didn’t.

This story reminds me of why I LOVE what I do. It’s the memories associated with T-shirts that make me reminiscent and melancholy. Sometimes the memories are good and sometimes they aren’t so good. But they are mine and hold a special place in my DNA makeup. They’ve made me who I am today.

Which is why I love this vintage Donatello T-shirt:

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It reminds me of a different time. A time before my hot wife and beautiful daughter, when I wasn’t sure what would become of me. Would I be okay? Would I ever make friends? Would I make it through recess without breaking into tears? Life is a journey and in some roundabout way, T-shirts remind me of that.

Which brings me to one more point: Don’t let your kids be little assholes. Little assholes grow up to be big assholes. I remind my daughter all the time to be nice to everyone. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t remind her to be kind. You never know what effect your words and actions have on other people. Thankfully, through strong faith and an undying desire to do good, I moved past the negativity in small part to the Ninja Turtles. The funny thing about life is, you never know what’s gonna pull you through.

I love being a Turtle.

 

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My Limp Bizkit Goatee

I love picking vintage tees because of the memories they bring along with them. Chances are certain T-shirts will invoke thoughts you hadn’t explored in a long time too. Take this particular story for instance:

Whilst I was out searching for my next grail the other day, I happened upon this Limp Bizkit tee:

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Click to see in eBay store

In another lifetime, I was a founding member of a fraternity at the college I attended. I loved to party and hang out.  If it involved cheap beer, sorority girls and general craziness I was in.  I was the fun-loving, happy party guy to hang out with.  I never started fights, lit bags of poop on fire on someones front doorstep or said hateful things to anyone. I lived the best overall college experience with no regrets.

Well… almost none.

I’d never been one to be overly fanatical about music, but at the time I was really into Limp Bizkit. For some reason, I REALLY liked them. Maybe it was all the Christian music I’d been forced to listen to growing up? Perhaps it was the rock/rap hybrid music? Or maybe Limp Bizkit’s front man Fred Durst and his penchant for cuss words and Playboy models was someone I wanted to be like because he seemed cool.

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He always wore his hat backwards, had pierced ears and was covered in tattoos. All things I was never allowed to have living with my parents. However, now that I was out on my own, I could do whatever I wanted! So, I wore my hat backwards, pierced my ears and started getting tattooed.

Now, I had a rather sad-looking goatee that more closely resembled a patch of pubic hair than anything else. Sorta like Fred Durst and his goatee. Being part of the college crowd and always looking for a way to differentiate myself, I thought it would be a good idea to color my chin pubes like Fred had done from time to time.

So I did:

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Here’s a little closer view:

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This is the only known photo in existence of my bleached goatee. RIP.

I’m sure Fred had his professionally done but I did mine all by myself with regular bleach. I wanted it WHITE so I bleached it about SIX times. Subsequently, I was successful in my pursuit of a white goatee but burnt the living shit out of the skin on my chin. With my chin pubes now white, these burns were clearly visible.

I managed to pull it off for a while until my roots started to grow out and my skin started to scab over. This resulted in a half black and white goatee complete with scabby undertones.  Eventually, I shaved it off and was forced to look like I’d slid down a gravel embankment with my chin.

It wasn’t until several years down the road when Fred pined after Britney Spears and sang with Christina Aguilera that I started to realize he wasn’t as cool as I’d thought he was.

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Poser

I don’t know how much stupider I could have felt for bleaching my goatee to a point of nearly burning it off but I can tell you that after Fred’s fall from being a tough guy to a teen bop fanboy, I was done. It was time to move on and finally chalk that mistake up to insecurity and just being a dumb college student.

However, I must admit, whenever “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit comes on in my car, I roll up the windows and blast it hard. It never gets old. Even without the bleached goatee.


 

What tees do you have that stir up particular memories?

And, as always, feel free to browse the current vintage tees I have any stock to see if any bring up any long forgotten memories: http://stores.ebay.com/Holy-Idea-Tees

 

 

 

I’m A Toys “R” Us Kid

Growing up in Norway, there was no Toys “R” Us. Only IKEAs on every corner and supermarkets where fresh fish smells filled the air in my nostrils to a point where I can’t stand the smell or taste of fish anymore.

However, the absence of a supermarket full of toys made it all the more fantastic when we visited the States and my older brother would take me there. Nothing beat the rush of serotonin upon entering that place and getting the feeling of… well, never wanting to grow up:

What makes being a picker of vintage T-shirts so fantastic is that you never know what you’re going to run into and the memories it will bring to the surface. That’s why I love doing what I do. Being able to attach myself and other people to their past is something that never gets old.

Which is why, when I found this sweatshirt (yes, I’ll pick things other than tees if it peaks my interest), I was transported back to that time before deodorant and pubes when things were much simpler.

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In an adult size too! A miracle! (Click image to view in store)

Needless to say, Toys “R” Us had everything that Norway did not. Most importantly, to me, they had… ROCK LORDS:

What’s that? You never heard of ROCK LORDS??? Powerful living rocks? C’mon, they were the coolest! No? Well… to me they were my toy of choice. Sure, they weren’t as cool as Transformers or GI Joes or My Little Pony but they were unique, different and not everyone had them which made it all the more desirable to me. I had every character and played with them endlessly.

Unfortunately, when I grew up, I sold them all for beer money. At that time, beer was more important than toys. A decision I’ve regretted for a while. The good thing about the internet is that you can find things like Rock Lords and vintage T-shirts with only a few keystrokes. Speaking of… look at my store when you get a chance. You never know what kind of memories my collection may invoke and if you have any Rock Lords, maybe we can do a trade 🙂

 

Urgent Delivery Leads To Lifelong Memories

“Your Buyer Opened A Case Against You”

These aren’t words I like to see in the header of an email.

Usually, someone hasn’t received their vintage T-shirt (thanks USPS) or their tee arrived damaged (thanks again, USPS). Things happen. What can I do? Quite simply, I handle it as politely and as professionally as I can.

On this day, I quickly reviewed the case and found the buyer hadn’t changed his mailing address when ordering his vintage tee. It had been sent back to my P.O. box. The email was wrought with panic: “Definitely need this by Saturday!” it said.

This wasn’t the first time a buyer needed something urgently. However, Saturday was less than 48 hours away so I’d have to get it out quickly. Vintage tee in hand, I rushed to the post office a little before 4 p.m. and got it sent out with expedited shipping. It was almost a guarantee to get there on Saturday.

I messaged the buyer to let him know all was well and his package was on its way.

This was the item:

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In my business, I get thrills from a number of things. Finding valuable tees in unexpected places is one. Giving old T-shirts new life is another. Getting a handsome return on an investment is a monetary thrill. But making someones day is priceless.

This is the message I received back from my new friend Patrick:

“Chris  — what an awesome, comforting response.  U r dealing with a 75 year old IT novice.  I am blown away by ur response, chris.  cannot thank u enough.  This is a brothers four tee. U r probably too young to know of them, but they are my all time favorite group, and my grandkids know all their songs.  We are going to a brothers four concert on sunday, and they were going to sign and present this tee to my granddaughter. U literally saved the day, Chris!!  So very refreshing to deal w/folks like u!!

I don’t why, but good customer service is rare. However, I pride myself on it. I’ve lived my whole life around the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” By taking the extra steps to ensure Patrick’s vintage T-shirt got to him on time, I literally “saved the day”. I gotta say, that’s an unforgettable thrill.

Patrick kept me up-to-date and gave me a little more background once the tee got to him in time for the concert:

Hi, Chris. Some background– at a prior concert, one of the brothers four– Mike Mccoy– took a liking to my grandson, who knows all the words to all their songs. During the concert, grandson Luca was singing along in his usual animated fashion. The bros 4 noticed this, and wanted to make a guitar for my grandson.  Since they are a vintage folk group from the 50’s– 60’s, it was highly unusual for one so young to know their music. So, Mike Mccoy wanted to make and present this guitar to Luca. That blew us away, but we did not want my granddaughter, Magda, left out.  Hence, my quest for the T-shirt.  Everyone, esp. the bros 4, were blown away by the shirt.  So, Chris, many many many thanx for ur considerable part in making this happen!

 

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Luca, Magda, A Really Cool Vintage T-Shirt, and the Brothers Four

The great thing about selling vintage tees is that the buyer often has an emotional connection to the shirt. I hardly ever get to know what that connection is, however. In this case, because of the care I put into it, I got to hear a wonderful and heartwarming story of a simple T-shirt literally bringing people together.

When I started this little vintage T-shirt company three years ago, I did it with a goal to show love in what I did. I know that sounds silly when talking about selling old T-shirts, but it’s true. What I’ve come to see is the love in every emotional connection with a T-shirt. The buyer “loves this band” or “loved that TV show” or “loved this brand when they were a kid”, etc. So I treat every package with love and as if it’s going to someone like Patrick every single time.

Matt Holliday Doesn’t Shatter My Testes, I Live To Find Vintage T-Shirts

I picked this 70s/80s vintage St. Louis Cardinals tee the other day:

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Click image to see product in eBay store

And, it reminded me of a story….

I’m a lover of baseball. I have been since I was seven years old. In fact, I’ve mentioned several times that my penchant for meticulous organization came from my previously undiagnosed OCD tendencies to organize and then reorganize my baseball cards as a kid.

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Pictured: Dork

Inevitably, if you’ve been around me when I’ve had a few drinks and we’re swapping stories then this will escape my lips:

“You know, I struck out Matt Holliday in high school!”

Matt Holliday, for those of you that don’t know,  is a professional baseball player who currently plays with the St. Louis Cardinals.

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“Seriously Chris? You’re telling this story again?”

See the connection with the Cardinals tee now?

Anyway, I was the starting pitcher for the Ponca City Wildcats in our home opener my senior year.  Our opponent was our cross-town rivals: The Stillwater Pioneers.

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I imagine that ball is headed straight for the batters head

Among the Stillwater Pioneers was the legendary Matt Holliday himself.  Everyone on the team knew back then the kind of skills Matt possessed.  We faced Stillwater often and every time we did there were Major League scouts with radar guns in the stands.  They would come to see Matt exhibit his God-given gifts.  

The lesser, more inept players like myself (whose future consisted of rummaging through old T-shirts instead of playing baseball for a living) saw this as a chance to knock down the golden boy of Stillwater and steal some of his glory for ourselves.

Despite being naturally amped up because this was the first game of my Senior year in front of our home crowd, my adrenaline hit it’s peak when I saw Holliday step into the batters box after the first and second hitters grounded out.

Feeling good at my chances of at least getting out of the first inning unscathed I threw my 82 MPH heat right down the middle.  Obviously a mistake pitch.  You weren’t supposed to throw an 82 MPH meatball to Matt Holliday because he’d more than likely hit it right back through the back of your head.

Luckily for me the bat never left his shoulder.

“STRIKE ONE!” the umpire yelled.

I realized that I was INCREDIBLY lucky not to have a baseball shaped hole going through the middle of my face.  I tried to be a little more accurate on the second fastball…. but I pretty much accidentally threw the same pitch a second time.

Again, the bat never left his shoulder.

“STRIKE TWO!” the umpire screamed.

I was slightly confused because Holliday wasn’t swinging. I knew that I probably looked like an ant throwing a bowling ball to him because his natural talent and immense size dwarfed all of us regular peons. I was merely a stepping stone for this kid to walk all over with his giant, size 200 cleats! Why didn’t he swing at my 82 mph gifts? Regardless, I stepped on the rubber and prepared my final pitch.

The catcher called for a curveball.

I threw the curve.

What materialized out of this pitch was probably the worst curveball I’d ever thrown.  The minute it came out of my hand I knew it wasn’t right.  Its trajectory would put it in the general vicinity of the last two fastballs I had thrown… only much slower and easier to track.  This kind of curveball is called a “hanging” curveball.  Not exactly the kind of pitch you’d want to throw to a behemoth like Matt Holliday.

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“Let’s see what happens if I throw three pitches right down the middle”

As the ball headed right for the future Major League Baseball All-Star’s wheelhouse I imagined one of two things:

1.  He would hit the ball straight at me and it would shatter my testes into a million unintelligible pieces, or

2.  the ball would go down in history as being the furthest ball hit at our baseball field

Luckily for me, neither of those happened.

What I assume happened was that I surprised him with such a tailor-made pitch to deposit somewhere between home plate and the planet Pluto that he wound up swinging with every ounce of strength he had and completely missed.

Strike three.  Inning over.

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The look of shame

Matt Holliday went on to be drafted by the Colorado Rockies, played in the World Series, played briefly for the Oakland Athletics and eventually became a superstar who agreed on a contract worth $120 million to play in St. Louis.

And I got this really cool article:

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Suck it millionaire Matt Holliday

These days, while I’m digging for more cool tees to talk about on this blog, I think about Matt Holliday from time to time and wonder to myself, “Does Matt Holliday even remember being struck out by my skinny little punk ass?”

Quite frankly, the answer is, “Uh… hell no.” He’s too busy navigating around his jumbo-sized muscles to give a meaningless high school strikeout a second thought. However, what he doesn’t realize is that his ineptness to connect off any one of my pitches has given me a story that would make Uncle Rico proud.

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“How much you wanna bet I could throw a football over them mountains?”

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For more baseball and/or sports related vintage tees simply go to my eBay store, click “VTG Sports Tees & Apparel” under the categories section and choose what sport you’re looking for.

 

 

Star Wars Memories

My sister is talented. Not only in her writing ability, but in her life ability. She’s been able to overcome so many things in her life and has conquered many more. Part of her healing process is to write and when she does she illustrates so well what its like to be her. So, when I asked her if shed write a nostalgic piece about this t-shirt I’d found, I was ecstatic when she said, “yes!”

My sister with her 1983 Return of the Jedi t-shirt :)

My sister with her 1983 Return of the Jedi t-shirt 🙂

Without further ado:

The summer I turned nine years old was not particularly memorable, looking back. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. My siblings and I spent the sweat-soaked Oklahoma days making our own fun: catching toads to save them from the sadistic little boy down the street, who had a penchant for throwing them into the outdoor air conditioning fans. When we weren’t adding to our amphibious menagerie we were running around the neighborhood with friends, looking for Bigfoot in the hills behind our house, or working with our father on the family home he was building just outside of town. We didn’t expect much from life, and most of the time we were right not to.

Every day was much like the last, until, out of the vast reaches of a faraway land known as Hollywood, there came something that worked like a shaft of brilliance into our black and white days. One day, my brother was invited to a birthday party. The entire passel of ten year old boys trooped off to see something called Star Wars. When he came back home, he was changed. Altered in his DNA somehow. Full of excitement, he tried to relate to us, his younger siblings, just how incredible this thing was that he had seen, but it would never do. We had to see it for ourselves.

So, one sweltering afternoon, my mother carted us to the cinema to see for ourselves this phenomenon that was sweeping the country. The line of people waiting to get in wrapped around the shopping center, all the way to the double doors of the Safeway grocery store.

The world was black and white back then

The world was black and white back then

Everyone was abuzz. I could feel the mounting excitement as the line began to move, and within the hour I was plunged into an experience that would forever change my expectations when it came to movies, and life in general.

Epic space battles and fantastical creatures came to life before my eyes. The line between real and fantasy was forever blurred. An adorable young desert-dweller known as Luke Skywalker churned my wee burgeoning heart into knots. By the time I left the theater, my imagination was set afire. Who was to say what lay just beyond the reaches of my own, small life? Like Luke, perhaps I had a destiny that belied my modest beginnings.

I saw Star Wars more than once, and when The Empire Strikes Back came out I did the same. The wait for each one to be released was interminable, yet the reward was so, so sweet. I developed the world’s largest crush on Luke Skywalker and his poor, orphaned soul, spent hours daydreaming about meeting Mark Hamill, had posters of him papering my walls.

By the time Return of the Jedi appeared, Star Wars was a Brogdingnagian enterprise whose effects were felt around the world. My anticipation for how the series would wrap up was through the roof. Would someone die? Would Luke defeat Vader once and for all? Would Leia and Han put aside misunderstandings and get it together?

I was not disappointed. The movie appealed to me on every conceivable level and I went home feeling as satisfied as if I had just dined on a seven course gourmet meal. I saw it again and again.

It’s funny to think that something as simple as a T-shirt could bring so much happiness, but as I wear my Return of the Jedi T-shirt from Holy Idea Tees, I am reminded of simpler days and the genuine joy that comes from something as wondrous as spellbinding story. I can imagine that I am that young girl again who didn’t mind sweating for an hour in a line that stretched around the block to sit in a darkened theater and forget about her mundane life for a while.

After all, in a galaxy far, far away, Luke was waiting.

Thanks for the guest spot sis 🙂 Love you 🙂

Did You Know Vintage T-Shirts Make Great Stocking Stuffers?

Christmas is coming.

Have you thought of any unique gifts? Something… different?

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Click photo to see these vintage tees and more in the Holy Idea Tees store 🙂

Stockings are my favorite part of the gift-giving Christmas process. I think it’s because you receive so many small items at once. Its an exercise in immediate gratification many times in quick succession. Each item you pull out is observed, talked about and studied before moving on to the next. Whether you like the item or not, it can be quickly pushed aside and you can move on to the next thing.

Which brings me to this point: Vintage T-shirts make great stocking stuffers!

A vintage T-Shirt is malleable. It has that pliability to fit between the crevices and gaps of the shaving kit or restaurant gift card and make themselves an excellent addition to any stocking!  However, it isn’t its ability to fit in small spaces that make them an attractive addition, it’s because of these things called “memories”.  I’ve been known to drum up a memory or two on occasion.

For example, I remember when I was 19 and got alcohol poisoning on Southern Comfort and woke up with a really weird rug burn on my forehead. I’m reminded of that experience every time I see this vintage tee:

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TEE SOLD! Click to see other liquor related vintage tees

Oh, wait. Maybe that’s not a memory worth revisiting.

Lets try you! Maybe your mom really likes Bull Terriers. She even wanted one when you were a kid but your dad hated dogs and she never got one. If you just insert a vintage Spuds MacKenzie t-shirt into her stocking, it’ll make a memory!

Click to see in eBay store

TEE SOLD! Click to see other vintage Beer related tees

Remember how you always used to pretend like you were surfing every time “Surfin’ USA” came on the radio? Maybe this tee would bring a smile to your face:

Click to see eBay store

TEE SOLD! Click to see other vintage band and concert related tees

How about when you went to that Iron Maiden concert and passed out in the bathroom before the concert even started because that wasn’t candy that one guy gave you:

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TEE SOLD! Click to see other vintage band and concert related tees

Perhaps one of these scenarios isn’t one of the 5689 Septendecillion possible scenarios out there that bring you seven degrees from a vintage t-shirt from the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow (because I have that too) but memories run deep and you never know what may spark a powerful, nostalgic emotion over an old t-shirt.

Which brings me full circle: Vintage T-shirts make great stocking stuffers!

Everyone has memories. Chances are there’s probably a t-shirt for it.

Maybe I have one here.