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Shirts and Stickers

Pumping gas in a small town not far from home, I watch a man emerge from the store. He’s 40-ish and wearing a tee shirt that reads I bust my ass so I can bust yours but he doesn’t like much of an ass-buster, frankly, either of himself or of others. He’s tall and very thin, and as he comes closer I can see clearly the sallow hue of his face. I must be staring, because he nods to me, a not unfriendly nod, then climbs into an old Nissan sedan that starts with a mufflerless rumble and accelerates through the parking lot a good bit quicker than seems strictly necessary.

I myself am wearing my Smith’s Grocery: It’s where I get all my shit!! tee shirt, which was a birthday gift from my sons, along with a hat bearing the same slogan (I try to avoid wearing them simultaneously). Smith’s is our local general store, about three miles down the Mountain Road, and while it’s not strictly true that I get all my shit there, I do get at least a goodly portion of my shit there, and therefore I feel ok about wearing the shirt. Besides, I like the slogan. It’s not so much clever as simply correct: This is how people actually talk around here. Why sugarcoat it?

One pump over from me there’s a big F350 pickup, huge and new-ish and gleaming black, and on the tinted rear window there are two big stickers. One reads Fuckin’ Mint and the other (of course, quite naturally, it only stands to reason) says Nipples Matter. And I try to run through the scenarios – any scenario would do – whereby a reasonable-thinking adult might put Fuckin’ Mint and Nipples Matter stickers on their truck. I mean, Fuckin’ Mint, now I’m down with that. Totally. I could rock a Fuckin’ Mint sticker all day long. But the Nipples Matter one throws me – is as sexist as it seems? And is it not the very pinnacle of toxic masculinity to drive around in your jacked up F350 sporting a Nipples Matter sticker for all the world to see? How might you expect the world to respond?

Or is it possible the guy’s a dairy farmer, a consideration that offers an entirely new layer of context? Because in dairy farming, you can bet your bottom dollar that nipples matter. Indeed, they’re about the most important goddam thing in the world. And how ’bout this: Maybe it’s not even a guy driving that truck; maybe it’s a woman dairy farmer! Yes. That’s it. Gotta be. Or could be, anyway.

My pump clicks off and I round up to the nearest quarter dollar (that old habit). I’m moving slowly now, for no other reason that I want to see who’s driving that truck. But the day’s a’wasting and I’ve got better things to do than obsess over the identity of whomever owns those stickers. So I hop in my car, turn the key, and get on my way.

22 thoughts on “Shirts and Stickers”

  1. Maybe I mis-read it in a way that reveals something entirely unflattering about my subconscious mind. Maybe it was actually “Nettles Matter.”

  2. I would have HAD to wait to see the driver of that truck. But, that would only have brought more questions, I think, no matter what type of person jumped up into the cab. I think there’s a story there.
    I have my fair share of slogan shirts and I sometimes wonder when we all started wearing our personalities on our person. I think it may have started with the happy face T-shirts in the ’60s or ’70s. I think I read that somewhere. I am all for happy faces, personally, though I don’t have one of those. I think my favorite is one I never even wore but I learned of right here – the Homegrown shirts with the tractor on them my boys wore for as long as they could squeeze in them. I will have to see if they are still being made. I should have bought one for myself years ago. Still have yours?
    Thanks for another great peek into the happenings in Vermont. Sounds familiar.

  3. Rounding up to the nearest quarter is …….who taught you that?!?!?
    Love this post. Wanna see you in both hat and shirt, simultaneously

  4. I don’t wear anything on my shirts or hats, unless it’s Primal Woods; a lesson learned, fortunately, before I left for boot camp. No sense putting a target on your forehead when going to a place a thousand miles from home, and fixin’ to live with a hundred men you’ve never met under trying circumstances for 8 weeks. But, I still have some labels on my truck. Most are the business, but a few others…I wonder myself, what’s the point?

  5. Even the most obscure bumper stickers make more sense to me than the Bulls Balls Truck Nuts. šŸ˜„ Thanks for the morning chuckle.

  6. And that’s the extent of politics for so many in Vermont. Don’t get your panties in a bunch you liberal, “its just a sticker”

  7. Ben….Let’s hope that the owner of that sticker is a dairy farmer. If not, it may be harboring some insecurity issue.

    Have a great Fourth of July weekend, Ben. Looks like a wet one here on Cape Cod. But like I’ve always said, “Never turn down rain.” Which seems more and more appropriate with global heating and drought.

    Thanks for this entertaining post!

  8. Ummmm, nipples absolutely matter…..how can anyone deny this??? Especially if your penis is only 2 inches long, you had better know the magic of nipples. This man is clearly a very humble, brave soul who openly displays his vulnerabilities:}

    1. How would female mammals nurse their offspring if they didn’t have nipples?
      Other than that single important use, they are just ornamental, right?

  9. Can the average New England dairy farmer afford to buy a newish F-350?

    Corn is currently selling for around $6.70 per bushel here in Nebraska, so people who have corn to sell are happy, while those to sold their corn on contract for less are sorry that they took the safe contract route. More farm income trickles down to the communities where the farmers spend their personal and business goods.

  10. What’s the deal with the “FKN LOCL” tee shirts that look like Vermont vehicle registration plate/tag in the Smith’s Grocery facebook pages?

  11. Nicely written post. And Iā€™m going to go out on a limb here and post a contrarian opinion. Why is everything F— F— F— these days? Or shit. Come on folks, the dictionary has lots of other words; to use those shows no imagination IMHO.

  12. I am certain the driver of the mint condition F 350 was a newborn mammal. Perhaps a possum. Cuz yeah, nipples are everything.

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