2 Vivid Memories – The Last GAP T-Shirt

The Last GAP T-Shirt
The Last GAP T-Shirt

Imagine for a moment that you are waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square on December 31, 1990. You await the new year not so patiently . You already have three new year’s resolutions on your list, knowing that if history is any predictor of the future, you will keep none. You watch the rowdy-and-slightly-lush crowd seethe into one barely-controlled wild animal prowling the streets. You take a sip from your flask, hot ginger tea, perhaps—it is winter in New York—and reflect on a year that didn’t make much sense to you. It’s a memory that appears vividly in your mind as one faulty scene after another in a crude documentary film.

The Simpsons begin their first season. Milli Vanilli run into a brick wall of karma. General Noriega loses a fight in Panama. Yugoslavian Communists are ousted from power. You can see the writing on the wall for the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Nelson Mandela walks out of prison after 27 years. The Cold War ends. Oliver North is in the headlines again. Iraq invades Kuwait, and the horror stories are not pretty. The two Germanys unite. Margaret Thatcher resigns. Lech Walesa becomes President of Poland. San Francisco wins the Super Bowl. Wimbledon cheers Navratilova and Edberg. Seinfeld debuts its first episode. Dances with Wolves is playing in your neighborhood theater. The space shuttle launches Hubble into space. And you purchase the last GAP T-shirt. LastGap 0323 E1SM Fast forward to the present: you peer into the mirror, and notice that a T-shirt you have worn and loved for 25 years is beginning to look its age. You bought this T-shirt on a journey in 1990 in a GAP store in Baltimore, Maryland. You remember thinking at the time that it seemed expensive. But it was a perfect fit. It felt truly comfortable. The sleeves were precisely the right length. The cotton was smooth and supple, a perfect heft. It had double stitching. Well made. Sturdy. And most importantly, it had a chest pocket. You don’t go anywhere without a pencil in your chest pocket because that’s who you are. This is the perfect T-Shirt. And it is slowly going the way of the buffalo: still awesome, but disappearing.

Today’s Bad GAP News: they no longer make these T-shirts, haven’t for years, maybe decades. You cannot buy another one like it. All their T-shirts now have gaudy stripes of mismatched colors and design. The material is weak, inferior. The stitching, shoddy. Today’s shirts are even way more expensive. And none of them have pockets.

The world today does not need a new religion, a new war, a new hero, or a new pop song. The world today needs a new GAP T-shirt. No—an old GAP T-shirt: where the bottom line was quality, not money. __________________________________

See other DP Challenge Photos here: Vivid

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                         Photos taken with an iPhone 6, No editing

109 comments

  1. I agree!
    I search endlessly, and fruitlessly, for all-coton T-shirts for wearing in hot climates. Synthetics are sticky and stinky.
    I’m sad it’s so hard to find good quality cotton T-shirts and all that that implies 😦
    Great history lesson! Really. I enjoyed it.
    Alison

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A great take on the vivid theme badfish and a very neat piece of writing – you’ve made me quite nostalgic! Sad that despite all the advances in technology we see as time goes on, important things like quality and durability don’t seem to count for much any more, and I don’t just mean products, same goes for people, experience, life, love, family………………..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane, I think you are right. It seems they make things these days not to last, but to last only until a warranty wears out. Then…kaboom! And you may be right about people doing the same kind of thing–quality, integrity, relationships…only for so long. Then kaboom. I hear that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this! Our only GAP store, close by, closed several years ago and I miss it so. I have an old GAP T, also. Dark green. It is now relegated to ‘yard work only.’ Sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha…thanks for the sympathy. BUT…this shirt has another few years to go. It’s not dead yet. Just compromised. It’s now an around-the-house shirt. Still very comfortable. Sad part is knowing you can’t buy another one, anywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Whatever you do, don’t throw it out! I would take it somewhere to be mended. They don’t make them the way they used to (as you know) and that one might have been made in a real factory with actual quality materials.

    We learned that lesson the hard way when a TV guy came to the house to “repair” our big screen TV and told us it wasn’t worth doing — chuck the 1k TV and repair the older tube tvs. He told us the same about refrigerators and probably every other new item we have bought in the past 15 years — the older ones are better and worth hanging on to.

    Loved the reminder of Times Square and the year and its events.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beth, thanks. And, Right…I’m not tossing it yet. It’s gnarly maybe, but it’s still wearable. I’ve got it on right now, along with some cotton shorts made out of t-shirt material that I’ve had for lord knows how long, also. And I agree, new stuff you buy is not what it used to be. Fancy and does stuff, but it’s going to break down real soon…so you then MUST buy a new one.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well THAT post was spot on! And not just for t-shirt manufacturing either. “The world today does not need a new religion, a new war, a new hero, or a new pop song. The world today needs a new GAP T-shirt. No—an old GAP T-shirt: where the bottom line was quality, not money.” Your post is a sad reminder, I think, of how the hay day of our world is long past. We’ve traded everything (or pert near) quality in for getting by as cheaply as possible. Even relationships. We need to get back to that quality of caring for each other, though, I think before anything else is going to change. Super post! {{{BF}}}

    Liked by 1 person

    • Calen, thanks so much for your insight. And I’m afraid you are spot on…”Even relationships.” That’s the sad thing. And maybe it’s all this technology that is making life too easy. Or maybe it’s just that time in evolution (or, OK, God’s plan), that we do this to our planet and ourselves? I feel I would have liked life better had I been born 200 years ago. But perhaps, as royalty. Or just rich.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lex, HA! That’s a compliment coming from you, dude. Because I want to write like you do. I want to travel and write about it. But I get lost in my head—no staying on track for me! Thanks much. Where are you now…out the door, on the road yet?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heading out the door in less than two days! And thanks, but all that getting lost in your head makes for some awesome posts! In between trips, I’ve written a number of rambling, stuck-in-my-head posts, but am not brave enough to publish them!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I LOVE, love, love the time between the time I’ve finished packing and finished all preparations and the time just before I leave the house. It’s exhilarating. Such…what?…anticipation of the unknown, knowing there will be traumas and sheer joy in your life soon. I am the very best “me” when I am traveling.

          Happy Trails. Good Luck. And I hope you meet some great travails (that you live through) because what else is travel about? Where are you going (I think you said once, but I’ve forgotten)…Jordan was it?

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, the simple pleasures! Clothes that fit, and are comfortable. Seriously, Dude, I feel your pain. I can’t remember the last time I went to look for replacements of clothes I’ve worn to a frazzle, only to find nothing even resembling what I have always worn. I literally DO wear my clothes out, because I find them comfortable. So when I go and look for something akin to what I wore, I find that the manufacturer’s have changed everything about them, and there are at least a dozen different choices, none of which is a choice I would make. It seems to me that as we grow older, they think we should begin wearing very expensive, dress-up clothing. I don’t go places where I need to wear anything more than a pair of jeans – that fit ME – and a – say it with me – cotton t-shirt, and YES with a breast pocket. Oh, and get this… women’s pants don’t seem to HAVE pockets (except for those dozen kinds of jeans none of which fit me). I’d say, conspiracy, at the very least, and discrimination, at the very most…

    And there’s the problem with shoes. My feet have carried me many miles and for long years, and I need a nice cushion in my shoe, the way they used to have them. Instead, I find almost no cushion, and sneakers, aka walking shoes, aka tennis shoes – another dozen choices – in more colors that a rainbow. I’m looking for plain black sneaker- like shoes, with laces. And I want there to be those lace thingies, which don’t require me to use hooks. I’ve had the laces from one hiking boot latch onto the other boot, and there I go head over heel, and I’m in that age group which can break things like hips, knees, ankles, and etc.

    Okay, enough kvetching…. As always, I so enjoy your posts, the way you write, the depth of your thoughts.

    Awaiting your return.

    Fim

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I get behind in responding to comments, which is every time I respond to comments, I begin with the oldest comment and work my way up to the most recent. But when “spooky” is involved, I feel I must reply to the most recent first. Because…it appears that while you were crafting this comment to me, I was at the same time commenting on your most-recent post. Spooky, but not the spookiest thing we’ve run across in cyberville.

      Yeah…comfort is what it’s all about for me. I wear loose, light nylon pants. T-shirts, Merrell sandals. And on hiking boots…yeah, none of those hook thingys. They are dangerous.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Too funny! Do you remember that song, “Spooky?” By The Classics IV… Anyway, that led me down a wild chase into youtube and just got back… Wonder if I can us the excuse, “blame it on my ADD?” The song that line if from is on my can listen to it forever without getting tired of it….

        Now, let me get back to How COOL is that, answering at the same time?

        Just took a look at Merrell com, to see what their footwear looked like… Nice. Though I’ve considered holding out for SAS shoes, but I don’t know when I’m getting down to Texas.

        So, how long do you think this sojourn back into your blog will be? And may I point out, that you’ve got a major following. Happy trails!

        Peace out!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sure I remember “Spook-aaaee.” Light tune, not my one of my favs. But you are serious spooky.

          I’ve got two months off from work. If I travel, I’m not sure I can keep up with blogging—unless I sit in one spot somewhere, like Bali or Timbuktu. (side note, I wrote Timbuktu as a joke, but I would like to go there, but I’m afraid). If I stay home and not travel, I’d have time to blog my heart out, learn tricks, SEO, etc. I’m waiting for the cosmos to speak to me. Happy trails, indeed.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Two months off from work is nice. When does it start? Going somewhere and hanging out, would give you the opportunity to do both, go and blog, or blog on the go. But even if you decided to travel, and give blogging a rest, we’ll still be here waiting. I’m not sure what I’ll do about my badfish fix, but hey, been in that predicament – doing without something – before, and look I’m still here. Of course, Alison and Don have the hang of blogging while traveling, it seem. Pointers, perhaps, can be found there? 🙂

            So, what about Timbuktu gives you the phoebe heebee geebies? OR is it afraid you’ll go and never leave? Is it one of those places that refuse to let you go?

            The main thing is, what ever you decide to do, you should have fun, enjoy yourself. If you make that a main focal point, then the decision is made.

            Oh, just wanted to tell you I started watching a series, and one of the characters goes and prays to Lord Ganesha! Made me think of you and your “Broken Lord” post! It’s fun to have people from here, show up in places I least expect. Spookish, to an extent.

            Aloha
            Fim

            Liked by 1 person

          • The two months officially starts next Thursday. But I’m finished work. I have to move my office today, one story up. And talk to a student who failed her Final Exam, poor thing. I’m sure she’ll be trying some “negotiating.”
            Timbuktu: my mom used to say something like: “I don’t care if she lives in Timbuktu, you…” I don’t remember exactly. But Timbuktu has always been a place in my mind that seemed exotic. I imagine it is. Fear. It’s Africa in general. One of those spooky things, again. No reason, just fear. Like when I peer over a bridge or cliff. Sinking feeling. Why? I’m not going to fall. Past life shit, perhaps. Scientists now say you can have “memories” of ancestors through your DNA. Now THAT is spooky. But maybe that’s what Timbuktu is. I don’t have this fear for Pondunk, CT.

            Liked by 2 people

          • One day at a time, then. Do you always plan specifically ahead? Maybe, if you decide to go somewhere, you’ll just wake up in the morning, and you’ll go. How much do you need an itinerary? I’ve often just set off, perhaps with a destination in mind, but with not specific route. I just drove, and stopped off places over night, and drove some more. I went all back roads once. Just to see the little places we never hear about. It was cool.

            I personally don’t discount the possibility of ancestral memory. I have known people who will arrive in a place they’ve never been to before, but knew their way around, as if by a memory. If the body can have memory – I took a jazzercise class back in 2009, for a whole season. Then I just kept doing it myself at home. Everyday. Then one day I stopped, due to some stuff that was going on. Years had passed, and one day I put the music on, and my body remember the routine. I figure if we can have that kind of memory, why not have memory of previous lives, or memories, passed down to me like heirlooms.

            It sounds like Timbuktu has something you may need to learn about. At the very least, if you go and nothing happens, you at least got it out of your system. Don’t know if that makes sense.

            You say that it has always been a place which seemed exotic. But you’ve seen so many exotic places. How different, and in what way do you imagine it to be a kind of exotic you may not have come across before?

            Off to early sleep… doctor’s appointment tomorrow.

            Aloha!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Is this a vocabulary lesson. I have no idea what these words mean: “always plan specifically ahead.” Does not compute. I’m a seat-of-the-pants planner. One travel blogger posted his planning strategy (two more words I don’t understand), and he had about 20 possible places, and he was crossing them off his list, like a tournament where he would have two final options. He had a photo of him with all these travel guides. Me—someone passes me on the street, I overhear a word…Costa Rica. And two weeks later, I’m packing my VW camper and heading down the Pan Am Highway. So yeah, I guess I do plan. I plan for a miracle, and wait for it. I used to love traveling with no set plan. I would stay on one island for four months.
            Timbuktu. Scary. You’re right. But do I want to learn what it has to teach me? And I don’t know what I imagine. No clue. Darkest Africa.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. We must be kin. For me … two Gap tee-shirts … one green, one blue. Maybe vintage 1999 or so. Wore them for every lab class when I was in massage school, so little oily bits stained on them like memories. But, still soft and wearable. Pretty thin in places and the hems are saggy here and there. I will never give them up even if they give up on me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kin…or just plain lucid and practical, and comfort driven? I also have a black one in a little better condition, but I spilled a couple drops of bleach on it.

      I have a friend who went to massage school. I love visiting her, I get a great massage for free (if you don’t count the cost of dinner). A masseuse is a good friend to have.

      Like

  8. So many memories hold by GAP T-shirts! My father shares your thoughts, he wonders why t-shirts nowadays have no pockets anymore – he needs to put his glasses on the pocket! 😀 Awesome post with history – love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your father is not only smart, he’s right. Why no pockets is all I’m saying. I have to go to Bali and have them make me T-shirts with pockets…get this, modeled after my GAP shirts!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You are an excellent writer BF. Great post.

    Love the trip down memory lane … I blinked at a few of them – like Noriega, Thatcher, and Lech Walesa. It feels like that was in another lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Gee Badfish – see what happens when i am late coming to your posts to comment – there’s just too many comments to read! And I’m peeved with wordpress/internet/the price of eggs in china/ lord ganesh whomever you want to blame for me not being able to press ‘like’… geez.. i had to resort to ‘likeing a like’ before the ‘like’ buttons magically appeared ( lena or lina might be wondering why i ‘liked’ her smile .. simply because i couldnt ‘like’ the comments that came before.)

    one nice thing about coming late to comment is that i get to read one of those juicy conversations between you and fimn. man, you should turn them into a book.

    now, back to the post… trust you to vivid up vivid. all i could come up with was some tropical scenery photos :)… love how you bring the badfish badness into vivid and completely ignore the colour scheme.
    very badfish indeed.

    now, i was looking for some fish and chips somewhere….. 🙂

    oh, and i really had to throw the word “dude” in here, somewhere, dude. i mean i never use the term.

    see – you are badfishing the universe, one blogger at a time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chips Debbie,
      Hahahaha…I wondered what happened to you! And I laughed out loud at your last line. “Badfishing the universe, one blogger at a time” …that should become my new header byline or whatever you call it below the title.

      Why couldn’t you “like”? Is it only on my blog, or others? I find if something isn’t working, I restart the computer, and things work. Try that next time. It beats screaming at the laptop. Which I do. Often. I had to buy some screen cleaner fluid to wipe the saliva off the screen. Am I getting to personal here, showing the dark side of Badfish?

      I don’t use “dude” in real life. Unless I’m being facetious…the same here in cyberville. I also try not to use “awesome” in real life, or here. But if something is really awesome, what else to say…far out, cool, hot, bitchin.

      Like

      • heyya,
        oh, you laughed out loud before ( or after) it became lol, lol….. the ‘like’ thing is due to the internet connection and the need to use vpns ( virtual proxy server – makes my computer thinks it someplace else) so often the likes dont come up. not just yours. many places. i get too impatient to wait…..

        okay you keep saying you gonna use my oneliners – ill have to start charging commission! not!

        roll on the holidays 🙂 enjoy your summer, wherever it is taking you.

        will you still blog thru the break?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have never written the acronym “lol.” And I wanted you to know that I actually did laugh out loud. VPN…I knew what they did, but never discovered what the words were, so thanks for that info! And good luck with that. I haven’t heard of anyone here having that kind of slow down using a VPN—is yours made in Canada, or China? Kidding.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. What a fabulous post. Love the way you take us and plop us into a very specific time (which I remember well) 🙂 I had a similar thing for Diamond T-shirts. They were wonderful and soft, but disappeared before the public use of the internet, so no trace of them can be found these days. I didn’t keep mine because they would no longer fit me. 😉

    Like

    • My only guess is that it has nothing to do with what they “love.” My guess is that it simply comes down to “profit.” I guess they love that. The old T’s were made in America. The new stuff…China, I’d guess.

      Like

    • Hey…haven’t seen you for a while. I’ve been a bit offline, and I haven’t been real good at looking at other blogs, though I’ve tried to post once a week, but sometimes haven’t. Thanks for visiting and commenting. And your father is right: it’s not a T-shirt without a pocket.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post! Love the photo and commentary. Have a pair of 10 year old GAP cotton pants I have split the seat out of twice and sewed back together. When they finally go it will be like losing a friend. Thanks for stopping by my site!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey badfish – I really enjoyed the way you gave us a snapshot of that time in 1990! In fact, the timing is spot on for me because I have a few songs on playlists that really bring me back to summer 1990 – especially this one song and i was joust telling someone that it played all summer in 1990 – and I liked it so much that I would not turn the car off until the song ended (and by fall it was worn out of course) – –
    and speaking of worn out – the shot of your seasoned t-shirt and story was the best. I fully agree that the cotton, design, and quality have not been the same at the gap for a long time. Growing up – the Gap jeans were the ones to get because they lasted! BUt in the late 1990’s – my husband officially decided he would not buy Gap jeans anymore because they sucked – zipper probe and all that. and I do not mind of they a store wants to try new trends (like stripes and all that) but forgetting to keep the basics of their t-shirts and jeans in good quality really was like missing the mark for their company – and was like they became Old Navy – hm….
    and speaking of Gap T’s – this post reminded me when Sharon Stone came out in her black Gap T – and shocked the world with her casual attire at a formal event – but I am sure her T was one of the better made ones – before the decline…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Prior! Thanks so much. And you are spot on, stripes is fine, but why not keep the stuff we want…and made in America! Maybe sometimes when you’re only looking at a bottom line, you miss reality.

      I’m wondering what the song was you were listening to in 1990??

      Sharon Stone in a GAP T…I missed that one. But I have worn mine under a sports coat, once! Usually I don’t wear a sports coat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • oh that is cool with the sports coat! and the song – well it was a cheesy Keith Sweat song – I do not love all his music – but this one “I’ll give all my love to you” – well honestly, the first few notes bring me right back to the summer of ’90! And so did reading your snapshot details of culture/social stuff.
        and with this:
        “sometimes when you’re only looking at a bottom line, you miss reality” – I totally agree – and it misses the whole point!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I missed the 90’s at home. I was for the most part, traveling, or making money to travel. No news, no TV.
          I do not know Keith Sweat. Don’t know any of his songs. But I’ll google this one.

          Liked by 1 person

          • well it is just a memory song -ha! and the 90’s was a unique decade for me – a laborious and soul searching one for sure – and speaking of remembering things from the 90’s – that was when I moved to CO – and I sure do miss the glistening Aspens in the fall. I bet you miss them even more – from the years you were in Aspen….

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m listening at this moment to Keith Sweat…”Nobody.” I like it.
            ANd right…I do miss aspens in fall in Aspen, along with mountain tops, and that dark blue sky. And snow. Thanks for the introduction to Keith Sweat! You gotta wonder if that’s his real last name. And if not, why didn’t he choose something with little more charisma, like Keith Armpit.

            Like

          • well this is funny – but “don;t stop your love” is another one that brings me back to the 1990’s – reminds me of my sister – she LOVED it. I do not know the “Nobody” one – but do check out the “I’ll give all my love to you” one – it just has passion. and the funny thing is I guess KS worked on wall street before his singing career took off.
            and laughing pretty good with the keith armpit! you are hysterical

            Liked by 1 person

  14. Love this reflection. Clothing is a disposable item now. Don’t even try to use it a lot because it each wash, colors fade away and all imperfections pop out.
    That said, what really made me stop was this: “You already have three new year’s resolutions on your list, knowing that if history is any predictor of the future, you will keep none.”
    Thanks. I will make a new list, master!

    Liked by 1 person

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