subtitle of this post: the fleshing out of a concept.
john mccollum offers various products, including a couple of kinds of t-shirts, via cafe press with the following self-designed logo:
i’m not one for christian tchotchke but i bought the t-shirt. i wore it yesterday on my day off. reflecting on the day’s experiences yesterday evening, which included a trip to the zoo, the library, and the doctor’s office, i concluded that the shirt should really only be worn under limited circumstances in the presence of pre-selected company, and removed before any general outing into the larger community.
first of all, i’m a librarian, right, and i have a library card through my place of employment. my card number is also registered at a local consortium of various other libraries. these two registrations are separate: i can renew my card and borrow materials at my place of employment without such activities ever being apparent to the consortial catalog with which i am also registered, and vice versa.
the point is, i finally updated my driver’s license to reflect my new city of residence, and the time had come to stop into one of the many member libraries of the above noted consortium to update my card, one of which happens to be the library of the city in which i live. you follow? i already mentioned that i was wearing my t-shirt.
although it’s admittedly a bit confusing to show a library card from one city and ask to have it updated with an address from another city (updated from, i should add, an old address from a third city), it’s not unheard of and in no way against the policies of this consortium, but the older woman at the circulation desk blatantly refused to do anything except issue me a second, completely new library card in response to my request to do the same (update address, etc.). “i’d really rather keep the library card i already have. couldn’t you simply update the address on my existing account?,” i asked.
“no. if you have a (city name) address we issue you a (city name) card.” (withering glare)
“okay, well, i don’t want a new card, so i guess i’ll go to another (name of consortium) library and have it updated there.”
“why don’t you just do that.” (or something to that effect and, i may add, in that tone)
it didn’t take me but 10 minutes in the car to realize that, however pleasant my personal demeanor, my t-shirt was shouting “satan hates you” to the poor circulation associate during our entire transaction, and may have influenced her willingness to go out of her way for me (or not, as it were). i pulled on an overshirt before attempting the same transaction at the next library, which transaction went much better and effected the address update i sought.
i personally believe that any thinking person, regardless of belief, could unpack the message behind this t-shirt. i.e., “oh, yes, well, though i don’t believe in satan per se, i understand that if such a character existed, he would of course want the worst for me, or if not me specifically then all created beings more or less equally, which equates with hate, i can see the logic in that statement. what an interesting idea, something to think about, if satan exists and he hates me what does that mean for me, maybe i’ll ask this pleasant young gentleman, etc. etc.”
zena, however, has pointed out to me more than once that the alternative interpretation is, “satan hates you. and i hate you. which is why i’m bothering to tell you with this shocking and rather confrontational t-shirt.” and indeed, i noticed that my interactions with other people yesterday were somewhat more clipped, terse, and strained than normal, if they bothered to interact with me at all, which many of them simply glanced at my shirt and then studiously avoided eye-contact. because however admirable my character and general personality, if i’m wearing a t-shirt that screams “satan hates you” in your face you might miss my other, less belligerent qualities.
plus, at the zoo and especially at the doctor’s office, i was in the company of large quantities of children and their parents and/or teachers, many of whom (the children) were definitely of the age that would suggest they could read the text on my t-shirt, but not yet old enough that i would necessarily ascribe the higher-level thinking skills needed to parse the text in the way i’ve described above (though zena’s aforementioned interpretation may not have been beyond their powers). and i never intended to cause consternation to unknown children.
so. while it’s true that satan hates you, i intend to wear the t-shirt only in company likely to interpret the news correctly, perhaps already equipped to employ the best defense of that news. which is the blood of christ.
it is still my absolute favorite t-shirt, though. thanks john.