I love this shirt. A friend donated it two years ago folded in a pile of other clothes I do not wear. It ranks in the top three of my all-time favorite garments. I have worn it no less than 300 times. I do keep it clean, yes. I am laundryman for others in my life whose wardrobe spectrum is much wider. I wear and wash it often. It is worn out and gray. I was becoming the shirt.
Now its time has come. In 12 days I am having a cremation ceremony for it at my painting show. I know that after the last ash has blown away, the aging process will slow to a stop, the wheels of life and death lock, and I will spin out of control until inertia runs its course and I land plop down on a soft knoll, a plump and smiling buddha with shaved head.
I can only hope.
Yesterday was near perfect. A cool gray sky, light breeze, and a trip to a gallery exhibiting my work. The curator knows me better than I do.
Anyway, this is a group show where I get to hang beside Hudson River School, Dutch masters, recently deceased, and contemporary painters of real and true merit. I won’t burn the shirt there. I piggy back on the gallery’s credentials though, and schedule my private exhibition on the same night. It’s the only way to get people in my village to come look at my work. Free wine, cheese, and a burning shirt.