For an explanation of the 30 Stories in 30 Days, start at Day 1.


The Truth About Eatin’ Shirts

Has this ever happened to you? One of my best friends likes to take things that I say to her as a joke and then repeat them to other people as if I was serious. She thinks that it’s HILARIOUS. I would probably agree, if it didn’t make me seem like such an an idiot.

The most famous of these incidents occurred sometime around 2000, when I was living in Greenwich, Connecticut. I had just bought a car, so it only took me about five minutes to get to my office in Stamford. I started coming home at lunchtime whenever I could. And one day, while home for lunch, I called her (in Seattle) for a chat.

She asked what I was up to and I told her I was eating leftover spaghetti. Later, as I was ending the call, I told her I had to go so I could change clothes. She wanted to know why, so I explained to her that I had worn a nice, white blouse to work, because I had a client meeting later that afternoon. When I came home to eat leftover spaghetti for lunch, I took off the blouse to keep it clean and threw on the t-shirt that I had worn to bed the night before as a temporary replacement.

I have boobs. Boobs are notorious for attracting foods like spaghetti sauce and salsa to white shirts.

Anyway, I made a joke (A JOKE!) about it, like, “You know–had to put on my eatin’ shirt!”

Now, keep in mind that I was talking to one of my oldest friends–someone who knows me. She knows that I don’t actually have a shirt–one shirt–that I only wear while I eat. She knows I was kidding around and pretending to be some sort of yokel to make her laugh. And she did laugh. And I laughed. We both got a really good laugh! And then we hung up and she continued laughing with other people.

The way she tells the story is this: “My friend Darci said she has an eatin’ shirt! She wears it so she doesn’t get food on her work clothes.”


The way she describes it, one would imagine I have a ratty old cotton shirt falling apart from years of use, covered in food stains of every color and crumpled in the corner of my bedroom gathering flies.

The truth is, I changed into a tee shirt one time so I could eat spaghetti.

And she knows that is the truth. But it’s so much more fun to say things that aren’t technically lies and let the people fill in the blanks with a funnier version of events.

When she told her coworker, who had never met me before, about “Darci’s eatin’ shirt” they both laughed about it for days. Then her coworker took a picture of my friend holding a chicken leg and making a crazy face. He had that photo put on a t shirt with the words “Eatin’ Shirt” on the back. He gave it to her for her birthday and she wore it around the office. EVERYONE LOVED IT.

Everyone but me.

TO THIS DAY, whenever I meet one of her Seattle friends for the first time, they light up at the sound of my name and ask, “Oh! ‘Eatin’ shirt,’ right?!!!”