Michael Chabon | Be Cool Or Be Cast Out

One Saturday when I was twelve or thirteen I went to the T-shirt counter at McCrory’s dime store, in the Columbia Mall, and had them print me up a custom one, using heat-transfer letters and a steam press. I chose a light blue cotton-poly blend; the letters were dark blue, almost purple, made from some fuzzy iron-on stuff, in a functional sans-serif typeface like you might employ to put your last name on the back of your baseball jersey, which was probably the use for which the letters had been intended. I think I may have been inspired to communicate with the world in this way by the example of a then-well-known photograph of the comedian Chevy Chase, in which he was shown wearing a T-shirt that said YES IT’S MY REAL NAME. I went in kind of a different direction, though. My shirt said LIBERTINE.

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