How the whole ‘t-shirt thing’ got started.
The short version: I was PHYSICALLY ATTACKED (no kidding) for “Impersonating a Liberal.”
The Back Story: Summer 1996, Downtown San Diego:
The Republican National Convention was just a few days away, and the Gas Lamp District of Downtown San Diego was an absolute zoo.
NOTE: This was back in my long hair days. Bleached by the sun from years of sailing and salt water, tan and basically looking like your typical Sothern California surfer beach bum dude. (I was probably even wearing puka shells.)
It’s early evening and I’m sitting out on the sidewalk patio of one of the downtown restaurants with some friends, enjoying a few adult beverages and smoking cigars.
This was before the Smoking Nazis outlawed cigar fun of any kind.
Coming towards us were two couples. As they approached, one of the women kept giving me the “Evil Eye”.
When they got right next to our table the women stopped dead in her tracks.
She looks over at me (probably trying to focus on the ‘me’ in the middle as she was very obviously shit faced) and said in a really loud, slurred voice, “What the hell is a guy like you doing in a place like this”?
I look over my shoulder, acting like she’s talking to someone else. I look back at her and say “Excuse me ma’am, are you talking to me?” “Yes you”, she shouts, “Why are you here?” “These assholes are all a bunch of fucking republicans”? [her words folks, just being accurate here]
I stood up, and with my sweetest (sarcastic) smile said, “Madam, obviously you’ve mistaken me for one of your Tree Tugging, Seals Saving, Otters Scrubbing, Whale Watching, Clinton Loving Buddies”.
She went ballistic. Now she’s screaming at me as she leaps (ok, tries to leap) over the 3 foot metal rail that separates restaurant patrons from passersby (and me from certain comical death).
She so wanted to get her sweet, loving, diversity celebrating hands around my evil ‘posing as a liberal’ throat.
Everyone watching this drunk broads antics were laughing hysterically. If YouTube had been around back then, this would have gone viral in 15 minutes.
I felt sorry for the husband.
Her husband, the poor S.O.B., has his arms wrapped around her waist, holding on with both hands and for dear life (mine or hers, I’m still not sure).
He looks at me… she’s still screaming incoherently… and with a look of utter exhaustion says, “Thanks pal, now you see what I get to put up with every day?”
The ‘Tree Hugging, Seal Saving Otter Scrubbing’ rhyme came from an old comedy bit I used to on stage. Everybody at the restaurant thought it was funny as hell… and it gave me an idea!
I get my 15 minutes of Talk Radio fame
The next morning I sat down, pen in hand and with a yellow legal pad, comprised a lyrical version of all the ‘jabs’ I could come up with from the years of all the Clinton scandals.
A friend of mine suggested I send one of my shirts to Roger Hedgecock. As most of you know, Roger is the former Mayor of San Diego and (then) local talk radio host in San Diego.
(This was several years before Roger became nationally syndicated)
It sounded like a good idea to me so I sent Roger a shirt.
Two days later, Roger opens his show by reading the shirt on the air and the switchboard lit up like a Christmas Tree. (his producers exact words)
Rogers producer calls and asked if I could bring some shirts and do a live remote with Roger downtown at the Republican National Convention, the next afternoon… and of course I said yes.
“Not everyone can have a Talk Radio Show, but everyone can have a Talk Radio T-Shirt.”
That’s Roger on the left holding up the shirt for everyone to see. “Not everyone can have their own radio show, but everyone can get a shirt.” Roger told his listeners. “These shirts are a great way for regular folks to be able to get their voices heard”.
From that one show alone, I had hundreds of people contact me about the shirts. People were calling in from as far away as Australia. I guess we could call this one, “The Shirt Heard Round the World.”
So if you haven’t already done so, go here to register for The FREE T-Shirt Give-A-Way!
“Taking America Back One T-Shirt At A Time.”