A New Purpose


Today I just did something very strange. My whites had finished baking in the dryer, so I took them out and started folding them. That’s not the strange part. One of my white t-shirts curls in the collar, and I have been hesitating to throw it out, because it seems like such a waste. But keeping it around as the Last T-shirt You Wear Before You Do Laundry seemed cruel to both of us. So I decided to finally put it out of its misery.

No, I did not throw it out.

I tore it into shreds. Literally. First I pulled off both sleeves, then opened each sleeve at the underseam, making two pieces of cloth. With my hands. Something very primal and satisfying in this. Entropy-defying. Next I ripped wide the torso of the shirt, until it was a single piece of fabric. I trimmed the collar and waist hems, two thin strips of cotton. I finished by dividing the torso into three good-sized pieces of cloth.

I looked down at what I had done. This destruction was an act of construction. No longer a bad t-shirt, this material was now several very good cloths and binding strips. Admittedly, I don’t know when I’ll have to make a tourniquet in the near future (the use which came to mind during the whole process), but at the very least I won’t be scrambling for something to wipe up with in the kitchen.

I don’t know if this is progression or regression. Perhaps it is only discovery of something simple that we’ve abandoned, for… for what, really? I know I feel good when I shop, when I consume. But I felt better hearing those thin white fibres snapping. The papery grunting of rebirth. The violent dedication of a new purpose.

You might like to try it sometime.

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