The Fascinatingly Uncool World of Coolest Tshirts

Bet Disney was VERY excited to officially license this sweat shirt.

Bet Disney was VERY excited to officially license this sweat shirt.

You may not be familiar with the name, but I’m guessing you are familiar with the ostentatiously terrible products of Coolest Tshirt. They’re the people behind those ads on Facebook for hideous black sweatshirts with chalk-white word salads like 

-BE NICE TO ME-

I HAVE A 

FREAKING AWESOME

MOM

SHE HAS ANGER ISSUES & SHE’S A BIT CRAZY

BUT 

SHE KNOWS MORE THAN SHE SAYS 

THINKS MORE THAN SHE SPEAKS

& NOTICES MORE THAN YOU REALIZE

MESS WITH ME

SHE’L MURDER YOU 

YES, SHE GAVE ME THIS SHIRT

These sweatshirts are hideously ugly but at least they’re also idiotic and nonsensical. They can only be worn by the most unique of characters, people whose idiosyncratic personalities can be summarized on a sweatshirt purchased by thousands, or tens of thousands, of other similarly original people.

The idea behind these fascinatingly clumsy, “attitude”-filled novelty garments is to be threatening and boastful, but in a fun, lighthearted fashion while also establishing your mental illness and rage issues, also in fun, lighthearted fashion. They often also involve murder threats of a fun, lighthearted variety should you mess with the wearer and his or her family. 

Someone sure loves  Tombstone !

Someone sure loves Tombstone!

Sometimes the threat is central to the overall message, as in a charming sweatshirt reading 

THE BEST SMARTASS MOM 

OF A BADASS SON

IF YOU MESS WITH MY SON 

REMEMBER HE HAS A BATSHIT

CRAZY MOM 

THAT WON’T HESITATE TO 

PUNCH YOU 

RIGHT IN THE THROAT 

I’LL DO IT WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE 

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I don’t want to reinforce conventional gender roles when discussing a feminist, progressive organization like Coolest Tshirt but shouldn’t a badass son be able to handle himself? If not, he should wear a matching sweatshirt reading 

BADASS SON 

OF A SMARTASS MOM 

WHO WON’T HESITATE 

TO SMILINGLY 

THROAT-PUNCH PEOPLE 

ON MY BEHALF 

As a rule, Coolest Tshirt sees being a little crazy and scaring the people closest to you as inherently admirable qualities of people who are real and authentic, not politically correct and fake, sometimes in a disturbing fashion. 

Take, for example, a tee shirt of a tattooed angel woman embracing a suit clad skeleton man reading 

I’M A SPOILED WIFE 

I GET MY ATTITUDE FROM MY 

AWESOME HUSBAND 

HE WAS BORN IN AUGUST 

HE IS A BIT CRAZY AND HE SCARES ME SOMETIMES 

BUT I LOVE HIM AND HE IS MY LIFE 

I’M THE LUCKY ONE BECAUSE I GET TO BE HIS WIFE 

YES, HE BOUGHT ME THIS SHIRT 

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Granted, in this image it’s the husband who appears to be dead but in 2019, “My husband’s violent temper scares me, but in a good way” is nowhere near as cute as the cynical idiots behind Coolest Tshirt might think. In fact, it’s super problematic. 

The whole point of novelty clothing is brevity: we glance over at some moron’s torso just long enough to see that they think wearing an “I’m With Stupid” or “Federal Bikini Inspector” tee shirt in public is a clever idea. Who has either the time or the inclination to read the Russian novel’s worth of verbiage splattered artlessly all over these tacky garments of the damned? 

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The folks behind Coolest Tshirt are somehow even more inept when they stray from their trademark attitude-filled explosions of sassy verbiage. A sweatshirt trying to exploit the Baby Shark fad reads “kinda busy being a Mommy Shark do-do-do-do-do”, not “doo doo doo doo doo” like in the song, or the dozens of other novelty garments related to the fad, while a sweatshirt reading “WTF” reps not Marc Maron’s iconic podcast but rather “Wine, Turkey and Family.”

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If you’re the son, or grandson, or nephew of a freaking awesome, badass father, grandfather, or uncle who’s a little crazy and scares you sometimes but who will murder people who mess with his family then Coolest Tshirt has got you covered. 

But what if you’re not some dumb working class cliche of a shit-starting hardass with a heart of gold? What if you’re me? Alas, Coolest Tshirt do not have any sweatshirts that would apply to my own relationship with my mother like 

Buy the sweatshirt that says “My child has failed a lot but is still around.”

Buy the sweatshirt that says “My child has failed a lot but is still around.”

SON OF A 

MENTALLY ILL MOTHER 

SHE ABANDONED ME AS A BABY 

LEAVING ME WITH

A LOT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES 

I’M TRYING NOT TO PASS ONTO MY OWN CHILDREN

Or

GUILT RIDDEN CHILD OF A 

FREAKING AWESOME DAD 

WHO WRESTLES WITH 

POVERTY AND SERIOUS ILLNESS

WHO COULD NOT BE MORE 

MISERABLE IN HIS NURSING HOME 

I WISH I COULD DO MORE 

FOR HIM

BUT I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY 

Alas, these are the kinds of painfully honest messages that will never appear on a Coolest Tshirt sweatshirt and while I do think my dad is, in fact, freaking awesome, I have yet to encounter a novelty tee-shirt that does justice to the depth, complexity and power of our relationship. 

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But I’ll keep on looking, because I’m sure that the novelty tee-shirt that applies to me, and only me, is out there, I just need to keep scouring the Jersey boardwalk and Coolest Tshirts’ website in order to find it. 

I make my living largely through crowd-funding so if you would visit and consider pledging over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace it would be awesome 

OR you can contribute to the Kickstarter for my The Weird Accordion to Al book over at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/weirdaccordiontoal/make-the-weird-accordion-to-al-book-a-ridiculous-r?ref=user_menu