“Havana”…a memoriam of disdain for my doom shirt


This shirt. This shirt is doom shirt.







I bought it in April of 2009 from somewhere.


I hated the first time I wore it which was quite amazing. In the store, when I plucked it happily from the rack, I actually liked it.


Shirts are like appendages. Some are an auspicious extension of your being and they suit you well. These are the shirts that make you feel good. They provide a mental cloak of well-being. Wearing these shirts lightens your mood and injects a confident bounce in your step. Shirts can be magic. They can exude light and strength into your daily life. Such power is dispersed fairly, however, and other shirts bring only gloom and misery. Doom. This shirt is my doom shirt.


I gauge shirts by how much self-confidence they bleed through my skin when I wear them. Self-confidence is very important to me. I realize I have little, aesthetic-wise, to offer the standard issue chick, so the next step, the default self-comfort I allow myself in the face of such rejection, is a dose of self-confidence. When I am self-confident, I don’t care what anyone thinks of me and I am truly enraptured of my wonderful existence. Some shirts are more “cooperative” in facilitating this mindset. Granted, a shirt is just a matrix of threads and colors and my psyche is much more complex than this (or it should be), but never underestimate the power of a shirt!


Owing to the fact that I’m extremely cheap, I refuse to get rid of a shirt simply for the reason it has a tendency to wreck my self-esteem, such as the “Havana” shirt pictured above. I spent good money for this shirt and I will not simply throw it out. I must get my money’s worth and if I feel like utter crap when donning it, so be it.


I remember the first time I wore Havana (I name all my shirts, and this one is naturally named this). The instant I walked out of the house, I felt like crap. Havana never had a chance. It’s not an unusual shirt. It fits well, perhaps a little too loose around the middle and the sleeves aren’t as fitted as I prefer, but it’s nevertheless a good shirt. If anything, it should have a purely neutral effect on my state. Maybe it’s that shit-brown color. Perhaps it’s the loose fit. Or maybe it’s the horrible feedback (self-fulfilling prophecy?) I receive out in public when I wear it. The shirt does not like me and it lays a trail of rejection and invisibility before me when I wear it.


Today I wore Havana and I was resolved to feeling like crap for the day. This shirt is a commitment to doom. It’s an austere devotion to self-disgust. Before I put the shirt on, it occurred to me that I already felt like crap in the morning. I haven’t shaved in a week and I also decided to wear my worst pair of old 501s. They are old and style tragedies; when worn in combination with Havana, the combo is my unspoken gesture of throwing the towel in for the day. It’s as if I’m proclaiming, “I don’t care what I look like today, so in keeping with this downtrodden state of mind, I will further exacerbate my crummy mood by wearing the worst clothes in my closet!”


And it worked. At times, I secretly hope that the shirt rips or gets irreparably stained so I have a reason to throw it out. But until then, I am slave to my stinginess and muddled self-image.



The Asian parakeets

I have an acquaintance who talks about a Japanese cousin who maintains that a predominant “sensitivity” to alcohol in Japanese people is indicative of their racial superiority. Now, I’ve never spoken with this person, so I’m not clear about the chain of reasoning leading to this conclusion. Racial superiority, by its very definition, informs us of that which makes a race stronger in physique and intellect, and all other qualifications that make it more fit to breed. If a substance or trigger has a harsher effect on your biology than that of other races, I don’t think of this as a “superior” trait.

Still, there are many Asian supremacists but most of them would never qualify themselves as such, but they are. In fact, the thinking that leads you to believe alcohol intolerance infers you are superior strikes me as a little dubious if you attribute the nonsense to race.

Perhaps Asians are the superior race. They sure present all the indications of a race of people that has its shit together, no matter where it proliferates. Modern Asian culture resounds with antiquity. In obvious levels of temperance, I think there is little doubt their genetic lineage is “purer” than that of many of its modern Western compatriots who have colonized and conquered exotic racial societies ad nauseam for centuries. In this respect, the “Asian race” might display the less soiled and polluted of cultures. However, the Asian persona has also proven to be the most ferociously sycophantic and adaptable, and in many cases, willingly, at the expense of a solid ethnic diaspora identity.

In 21st Century parlance, Asians are the “parakeets of civilization.” Asians assume exogenous identities most fulsomely, and in many cases, transform these domestic identities into strains of excellence that leave the conquered in awe. The downside of this is that as Asians ingratiate themselves into our Western culture, they embody its dystopian unraveling in smoldering fits of comical and dismaying flurries of Western discombobulation.

As Western culture becomes rushed and manic and clouded with blind ambition, the Tiger Mother spreads her wings. Life is an all-out mad dash for something, but no one really knows what it is other than money, money, and money. But everything that bequeaths money are the tools which are the currency of our surrender. The prototypical Asian psyche is serene. Zen Buddhism, the epicenter of that undiluted (ie, ego void) state of non-attaining movement, is now practicing “Mad Western Capitalist Culture” and the Asian parakeet is flying suicidally into its caged walls. If Asians were truly smart, they would not join the Western consumerist pit of despair, but it’s too late, for they assimilate foreign compulsions as efficiently as they do its materialistic values.

I bring this up because I saw the perfect “street allegory” involving an Asian driver in Monterey Park, California,. The subject in question was a rushed driver in a white Kia Spectra who dashed out from an intersection ahead of me. The driver, stuck just short of a gas station driveway, continued edging up impatiently while the pick-up in front of it moved as far as physically possible. Finally realizing that no further impatient nudging would serve to open up space, the Kia driver desperately mounted the curb/sidewalk with all the self-assurance of a 4-wheel drive off-road vehicle and rushed into the gas station only to discover that Kia’s are equipped with driver’s side gas caps!

The driver reversed curtly before coasting, bewildered, into the next pump aisle. The light turned green and I moved on, but I wondered what became of this forlornly impatient driver.

This is the parakeet American Asians have become. Rushed, impatient, indulging in bits of self-destruction in order to move ahead, and after the dust has settled, still flabbergasted. This is American culture. It is capitalism. We rush to please the man. We do whatever it takes to jump up a spot. To get a head-start. We are confronted with a string of obstacles which were our own doing to begin with.

Yes, life is grand, but fill her up now! Fill my bank account with money and my resume with bullshit. I’ll walk all over your back if I have to. I’ll take every shortcut.