By Wrapping Paper of St. Paul, Minnesota! Thanks, Tim!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Running on Empty

Possibly the most overused phrase on this blog is something along the lines of "I don't know what to make of this thing."

But today, seriously, I really don't know what to make of this thing:

This sleeveless shirt (with the left shoulder ripped off) is from the 1991 US Olympic Festival, which, coincidentally was held in Los Angeles.

Up until I saw this shirt, I had not heard of the US Olympic Festival, and information about it is pretty hard to come by. I had to consult an Independent Outside Research Firm (JRu's Research, Development & Furniture Destruction Co.) for more information.

During our session together, I discovered this 1987 proclamation from President Ronald Reagan describing the event as such:

The United States Olympic Festival is an amateur athletic competition that enables potential Olympians to participate in events identical to those performed in the International Games. During this Festival, skills are refined and a camaraderie is fostered among our athletes that signifies American unity and exemplifies the spirit of the Olympic movement.

Basically, this annual event (held only during non-Olympic years) was there to help train American athletes to compete in Olympic competitions. That all came to an an end after the 1995 Festival, according to this article that JRu found. Low public interest coupled with bored administrators at the US Olympic Committee seem to have killed it.

What makes this shirt truly frightening (aside from the fact that it is 17 years old) is that in 2001, ten years after it was made, it looks as though someone tried to update it with an iron-on:
One of the things hastily applied to the shirt is the phrase "Enterprise 2001" in runny, smudged ink. Later, the phrase "In Its Infancy..." was added twice and, as you can see, both attempts to do so failed miserably--One resulting in the first word missing; the other showing up completely backwards.

The end result is a t-shirt with random, ill-placed messages that strikes terror in my heart. I can't help but wonder if the owner actually competed in one of the Olympic Festival events. The shirt looks pretty well-worn, and I imagine the owner was a runner of some sort, judging by the sleevelessness of the garment.

But why hold on to this shirt for so long? After the festival was put to sleep, did the runner's sanity also become a distant memory? Is the state of this shirt and its mixed messages an indication of a runner's descent into madness? Or did someone just use this trashy shirt to test out their screen-printing process? If that's the case--were they printing the start of a "bring back the festival" manifesto on this shirt ? Either way, there are some terrifying people Living in Luxury in the Hollywood Hills. And I may not be able to outrun them.

1 comment:

Zak said...

Haven't you heard of the Olympic Festival Killer (OFK)? I can't believe you didn't see the obvious purpose of this shirt. It was clearly stuffed into the victim's mouth, suffocating them. The iron-ons were the killer's taunt to the police.