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Monday, March 4, 2013



It is Cranky re-run Monday.  This post is from March 2012

Nothing upsets a woman quite like her man ruining a perfectly good shirt doing dirty chores. Why do men wear a good shirt to do gardening work, change oil, or paint a room?

Sometimes, I admit, we just do not think. If we see something that needs fixing while wearing a good clean shirt our one track minds go right to the task without even thinking of the consequences of dirt or grime. Often, however, the fault lies at the clean freak gene that makes up every woman’s DNA.

Women do not save dirty shirts. When a shirt gets a stain it gets thrown away. Often it gets thrown away as a penalty to her man for soiling the garment in the first place. Dig in the garden in a clean shirt; it will get thrown away. Do a quick paint touchup and drip onto your new shirt; it gets thrown away. Fix a sticky door and get grease on your shirt; it gets thrown away. Spaghetti sauce on your new shirt? Bye bye new shirt.

“Look what you’ve done! Now I have to throw it away!”

The next time the man plans to do a dirty job he cannot find a dirty shirt to work in. They have all been thrown away.

While I was married to the unstable wife, I had a beautiful pair of overalls. They were 60 years old. They were my Dad’s. They were broken in and comfortable. Paint and oil stains covered 80% of these overalls. The overalls had multiple pockets and hooks to carry hammers and screwdrivers. I loved those overalls. I kept them in my smelly basement on a hook by my tools.

When I prepared to work on a dirty job, I always put on the overalls. Even if I wore a good shirt underneath, the overalls protected everything. If I got paint on my hands, I could just wipe it on the overalls without guilt. They were perfect.

One day the wife assigned a painting project to me. I bought the paint, purchased new clean brushes and taped off all the molding. I removed everything that could be moved and covered everything else with a tarp. Fully prepared to start the job, I went into the basement to pull on my overalls.

They were gone!  They were not on their hook by the tools!  I went into panic mode. The wife noticed.

“What is wrong with you?”

“I can’t find my overalls.”

“Where were they?”

“In the basement on a hook by my tools.”

“That dirty old thing?”

“Yes, that dirty old thing.”

“I threw it away; it was covered with oil, dirt and paint. It could never be cleaned.”

“What!! Being dirty, oily and paint covered is what made them perfect. They could not be ruined. Plus they were super comfortable, and they were my Dad’s. They were covered with my Dad’s dirt, my Dad’s oil, and my Dad’s paint. I loved that pair of overalls!”

“I’m sorry; I’ll get you a brand new pair.”

My wife did buy a brand new pair of overalls. Crisp, clean, shiny and starchy. They even smelled brand new. They were about 100 washing machine cycles away from being comfortable.

I never wore those new overalls. I couldn’t do it. I could not bring myself to get them dirty, and they reminded me of losing my Dad.

I painted that room in a new clean shirt. It was a shirt that my wife had bought me that I never liked. I wiped paint drips all over it. When I was done with the room that shirt was an unclean-able mess.

When I was through cleaning up and putting the room back together again, I tore that shirt off and threw-it-the-fuck-away.

When the unstable-one left me for her "Big" several years later, those new overalls remained in the basement. I never wore them and refused to take them with me.

That is why I ruin good shirts doing dirty chores.


  1. I remember this from the first time round Joe - it touched my heart then as it does now.

  2. “Look what you’ve done! Now I have to throw it away!”

    I kinda-sorta heard the same thing when The Second Mrs. Pennington threw away all the love letters I'd saved from other wimmen. They were gonna be the basis of a book, but alas.

    It's MY story and I'll tell it the way I want.

  3. My dad had a really worn pair of overalls. When he passed I gave them to our son, who wears them proudly when he works on his cars.

  4. My dad was, or at least professed to be, incapable of doing ANY chores. He never touched a paint brush, oil can, or hammer that I can remember. overalls.

    But I have a closet full of old, stained T-shirts and shorts that I use for dirty chores. In fact most of my wardrobe looks like old, stained T-shirts and shorts. I have a very understanding wife. :)


  5. You never cease to delight me.

    "The next time the man plans to do a dirty job he cannot find a dirty shirt to work in. They have all been thrown away."

    Another absolutely perfect blog. I laugh, I cry. Sigh.

    (being that I have to be the one to do all the dirty chores around here, I have a closet piled high with all the stained shirts a person could ever need in one lifetime...let me know when you need some)

  6. My husband had a pair of coveralls that he kept in the barn for doing dirty work in cool weather. One fall he put them on and reached his hands into the pockets. He pulled out handfuls of hairless pink baby mice. According to his teenage sons, he "squealed like a little girl" and peeled off those coveralls as fast as he could. "I thought he was going to cry."

    He burned the coveralls himself.

  7. my college kids buy overpriced tshirts of their colleges for my husband..they look so nice and new and clean...and he wears them to the gym!!!!! or for a run! or to clean the garage. i told him he has to "save" them so he looks nice for when we go somewhere, but he doesn't listen, so it's not my fault he never looks nice.

  8. This is a great post. (No wonder she's an EX-wife!)

  9. I can't believe she threw them away... a pair of stained overalls next to your tools... how could she not put that together?

  10. I must be some sort of weird woman - every shirt I own has some sort of stain on it. I can't throw them away. Instead I save them thinking they will be my work shirts, but I still manage to get new shirts stained. I've taken to buying vets to wear when I go out to cover the stains.

    I love overalls - my dad was famous for his.

    Great post.

  11. Man, I really would have been pissed too! You should have took your dirty shirt and stuck in her underwear drawer when you were done with it!