Blue Water Healthy Living



T-Shirts & Coffee Mugs

By Contributing Writer, Terry Pettee

Originally Published on December 7, 2017

String a few words together in a snappy sounding fashion and you get art.  I’m not talking about poetry and literature.  I’m talking T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs.  Bumper stickers are a bit passé but they count too.


A long-ago bumper sticker still lodged in the trivia section of my brain dates back to the late 1960s.  It read – General Custer Wears Arrow Shirts.  I was several steps past that parked car before I got the punchline.  

I have always been two pickles and six french fries short of a full happy meal.

Another bumper sticker I remember went like this – Whoever has the most stuff when they die – WINS!  

That one is not so much a knee slapper as an astute, but sad, observation of what many in our society think important.

I don’t see many bumper stickers any more.  It must reflect the trend toward leasing vehicles.  I have had to dumby-down to reading personalized vehicle license plates.  It’s not the same high level of artistic reflection but it beats listening to rap radio.

Unlike bumper stickers, T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs are not destined for virtual extinction, like the actual extinction of the Dodo Bird and internet security.

I have a goodly number of T-Shirts conveying momentous messages.  Here are just three in my cotton message-board inventory.

PAPA – The Man, The Myth, The Legend

I have another favorite featuring the face of Snow White’s dwarf buddy Grumpy scripted with the following caption.

Miner League All Star

It Is All In The Attitude

This message is a reminder to me that grandkids do not like Grumpy Grandpas.

My absolute favorite is well over ten years old.  I never wear it.  It is too precious to risk wear, tear and coffee stains.  It has the diminutive hand prints of my three oldest grandsons, now teenagers.  I should put it in an enclosed shadowbox for posterity.  It means that much to me.

On the subject of Coffee Mugs, I have an eerie suspicion something unearthly is going on in our kitchen.  There is a cupboard that is a particular focal-point of supernatural activity.  It is one of the places my wife and I store coffee mugs.  I say one of the places because we have this constant overflow of self-replicating mugs that require continuous redistribution to other locations.

Okay, I confess, Pam and I are Coffee Mug amassers and hoarders.  We cannot help ourselves.  Pam is more into artsy and the sentimental mugs.  By contrast I am entrenched in the bumper sticker humor genre.  

I need not defend my mug genus when these two following examples speak volumes.

Beneath This Drab Exterior Beats The Heart Of A Dashing Hero

I admit, at my age I amble more than dash, but I am a hero to my three-year-old granddaughter.  I am her oldest playmate in the world and enjoying every moment of it.   

Another of my favorite mugs has the head of Donald Duck wearing black horn-rimmed glasses.  The caption reads – Mad Genius.  

I cannot explain why I find that mug so intriguing.  It may be a psychosis or a paranormal thing, like the relationship between a man and his pick-up truck.

Our miss-mash of mugs is an archive of our lives.  We have nostalgic mugs commemorating events, places and things that are meaningful to us and then there is my collection.  

Perhaps your archive is not comprised of T-Shirts or Coffee Mugs.  Maybe it is photo albums or clever insightful wall hangings.  There are many different objects that archive our lives.

How fortunate we are if we have a generous archive of friends.

God has blessed me with a loving wife, two beautiful, successful daughters and a granddaughter full of promise.  At different stages in my life I have been blessed to know brilliant, talented, courageous and caring women.  

Recently the inexcusable abuse and disrespect of women has finally been exposed as the gross moral and social injustice it is.  I am thinking a new adage needs to be engraved in the minds of we men, maybe on a T-Shirt or Coffee Mug.  I speak to all men when I write, we need to remember this adage as a guidepost code of male conduct.

The body of a woman is not public domain.

Is this an all-encompassing adage?

Absolutely not.

Men, we can build upon this adage by recognizing God’s precious gift of womanhood by giving women the proper respect they are long overdue.


Terry Pettee is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University where his undergraduate study prepared him for a career in secondary education. Prior to attending EMU, he was Editor-In-Chief of the Erie Square Gazette while a student at the St. Clair County Community College. Between his community college and university years he was Marysville Editor of the St. Clair County Independent Press where he was a newspaper reporter and columnist. After a brief teaching stint his life’s journey led him into human resource and industrial relations management; a career spanning four decades. Now retired, Terry writes both Christian value based fiction and non-fiction for his own amusement, which is babble-speak for saying he has only a single published book to his credit.

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