Been there, done that … got the T-shirt

Technically, I guess I'm sleeping with hundreds of women right now

I’m sleeping with a woman in Corsica.

Not from Corsica — in Corsica.  What’s more, her husband is in bed with us.  He doesn’t suspect a thing.

It’s … complicated.

For one thing, I am not — worse luck — actually in Corsica myself.

I am in snow-bound Canada, typing at a kitchen table with a scarf around my neck. But my avatar, my Doppelganger, my other self, is down there in Corsica, enjoying the ocean breeze that’s wafting through the open window and over the, er, three of us.

It’s like this: once upon a time I had a radio show called Basic Black that ran on the CBC — the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. One day a slick-looking dude from the PR department buttonholed me in the CBC cafeteria.

“We’d like to do some advertising for your show,” he purred.

Swell, I said.

“We were thinking of T-shirts,” he said.

Okay, I said.

“What would you like on the T-shirt,” he asked me.

“Uh … the name of the show?” I guessed.

He shook his head sadly, as if he was dealing with a slow-learning Labrador.

“We’ll need more than that,” he said.

We kicked it around for a while.

He rejected the idea of snappy slogans, funny quotes or a staff photo.

My coffee was getting cold.

“How about I draw a cartoon of myself,” I suggested.

“Perfect,” he said.

That’s how we ended up with 147 cartons of Basic Black T-shirts emblazoned with a cartoon head depicting a bald guy with a big nose and a straggly beard grinning crookedly above my scrawled signature.

The cartoon is laughably amateurish and looks, if I may say so, unlike any human alive.

Everybody says it’s a perfect likeness.

That was my first embarrassment — everybody who saw the gargoyle I’d scrawled immediately knew it was me.

But worse — it became (unlike any of my books) an immediate best-seller.

We couldn’t keep it in stock.  In a matter of weeks the Basic Black T-shirt was showing up on the torsos of loggers in Prince George, wheat farmers in the Prairies, secretaries on Bay Street, oyster-shuckers in Lunenburg and (I know — I saw the photo) on a co-ed quartet of skiers schussing down the side of a mountain near Invermere, B.C.

Who, aside from ski boots, appear to be wearing nothing BUT their Basic Black T-shirts.

Well, that’s the thing about this garment — it only comes in one colour (black, natch) and, as an extra cost-cutting measure, the PR department decided we would order it in just one size: Extra Large.

If you’re built like Arnold Schwarzenegger (or, for that matter, like an Amazon with breast implants) — it’s a perfect fit.  Otherwise, you’ve got pyjamas.

That’s how I came to be sleeping with that woman in Corsica.

“I’m wearing my Basic Black T-shirt to bed tonight,” she wrote on a postcard.

I suppose, technically, I’m sleeping with hundreds of women right now, when you think about it. Thousands, maybe.

Well … dozens, for sure.

But it’s no bed of roses.

The husband of that Corsican correspondent I mentioned?

I hear that he’s … wearing me too.

I told you — it’s complicated.

 

— Arthur Black lives on Saltspring Island

 

 

Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Nanoose Bay man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

This young fledgling white raven was spotted in the Coombs area on May 16. (Mike Yip photo)
Expert says 2 sets of parents producing rare white ravens in mid-Island area

One of the iconic birds is currently recovering at wildlife centre after being rescued

Flowers planted along Highway 19 in downtown Parksville. (Submitted photo)
City of Parksville plants more than 15,000 annual bedding plants

Residents encouraged to take flower photos and post to social media

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read