“Caps, T-shirts, and sneakers, that’s what we need,” Wife told me the other day. I was a little surprised because that’s basically the contents of my entire wardrobe, but happy, because if you ask me, everybody needs caps, T-shirts, and sneakers.
Turned out that she wasn’t looking to add more caps, T-shirts, and sneakers into my wardrobe, but to take some out of there so she could send them to the refugees on Lesbos, Greece. Her office works with an organization that delivers clothes and other items to Greece to help the people who have nothing.
Like so many others, we wanted to help, simply because we want to help. Also, I’d like to see our kids become better people than I am and I’d like to see them become human beings who feel empathy, and sympathy, and who act. No, I’m not a sociopath, of course I feel empathy, and sympathy. It’s the last part that’s my weakness, which is why Wife is my hero. She’s a doer.
Anyway, we wanted to show Son and Daughter that everybody can do something.
They went through their closets to see if they could find clothes to send to the refugees, and I went through mine. And if there’s one thing I do have, it’s too many caps and T-shirts.
“They have to be clean, though,” Wife said, when I went to the basement to get my box of caps currently not in rotation.
That eliminated about half of my hats, but there was still a good thirty to choose from.
“And light colors, if possible,” I heard her shout.
That left about five hats.
Every cap and T-shirt that I have comes with a story, of course. That Portland Pirates cap? A gift from Son’s godfather. HC Davos? A gift from another friend. That neon green Molson Canadian Rocks cap? Um, I bought it in Toronto in 1990. No big story there. Daughter bagged it. She bagged them all.
I took all my T-shirts out, and started to sort them into piles, one to be sent away, the other to keep when I realized that I have T-shirts that are much older than my children. That Hockey Hall of Fame T-shirt, for example, could walk into any bar in the US and have a beer.
That’s when I started to doubt my choices.
See, I have seen the footage in the news, the photos in papers, and I know it’s a real tragedy, not a first world problem situation there. Somehow, though, a part of me was worried about the refugees feeling like we were dumping any old – emphasis on old – junk on them just to feel better about ourselves.
I could almost see a man pick up my blue Mets T-shirt with “Santana” on the back, and throw it on the ground because not only does he know that the Mets aren’t usually a very good team, somehow he’ll also know that I only got the shirt because it was a part of a deal. How I was actually considering buying a David Wright T-shirt, when the seller at the Lexington Avenue street fair sweetened the deal by throwing in the Santana shirt because “he’s never gonna play for the Mets again, anyway.”
(And he was right, he’s never going to play for the Mets again.)
I almost wanted to put a note in the bag with the shirt. “Unfortunately, Johan Santana is no longer with the Mets, and I know the Mets haven’t always been a great team but they’re doing really well this season, and I wanted to send this shirt to you.” And then add a line about the fact that the Mets’ slogan is “Ya gotta believe”, which is inspirational.
Then I thought that I was probably overthinking it. So, off they went, Santana, I [heart] NY, and others, even the black “X-files” T-shirt with “I want to believe” on it.
Because I do.