Novelty T-Shirts and Why I Love Them

A great/possibly the best thing about being confined to a hospital unit (for seven months, as of yesterday 😐) is feeling justified in wearing whatever the h-e-double-hockey-sticks I so desire.

As it turns out, what I so desire, at least 90% of the time, are sweatpants paired with a novelty T-shirt.

I’m well aware that I frequently sport this particular combo in “regular,” nonhospital life. The difference is that when wandering the streets of a bustling metropolis, I occasionally experience some pressure to vary my style. Here? Not so much.

Not to say that I wear exactly the same thing every day. Quite the contrary: I have a several-week cycle of T-shirts, and lest I become bored of the Ts I already own, I’ve become really, really effective at online shopping for perfect new additions to my ever-growing collection.

My shirts could be divided into several categories. The first—a classic—is tacky T-shirts I’ve bought on vacation. The second is shirts with references to things (books, bands, TV shows, etc.) that genuinely interest me. The third is varsity T-shirts from universities to which I have only a tenuous connection. The fourth is a catchall for every other quirky shirt in my possession (OK, I probably could’ve been more imaginative with this one).

I love my T-shirts because they’re comfortable, the quality I prize most in clothing. I also love them, however, because in medical situations that can sometimes seem kind of anonymizing, they make me feel like a real person with a real personality, and I like being able to demonstrate that I’m much more than a patient with a brain that hates her—among other things, I’m a weirdo who collects novelty shirts and isn’t too embarrassed to wear them.

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