Remember when all T-shirts were white and they were considered underwear?

We just got back from our annual dip in the ocean in Florida where the sun shone all day and the water was bathtub warm. And where I can indulge in my favorite pastime, people watches. I get a kick out of the T-shirts and their messages which range from the terribly amusing to the downright obscene. Funny thing about the more crude sayings, you never see them anywhere but in the shops. A good number of shirts celebrate drinking alcohol to excess, like “I limit my self to one drink a day; right now I’m about five months ahead.” Is that funny? I think not. Another proclaimed, “Give blood, play hockey.” Funny? No. Some T-shirts carry messages that appear to be in Japanese. My guess is they are a tribute to a certain Red Sox player by the name of Dice-K. I saw a Tom Brady #24 on a teeny tiny Patriot fan. I noticed a lot of T-shirts adorned with particular animal breeds. Perhaps they serve as conversation starters to like-minded pet owners. But it’s kind of weird to see Lassie on a shirt.

Some messages target pushover grandparents. There are varied versions of “That’s it, I’m telling Gramma.” And it’s pretty easy to figure out who buys the size three months shirts. There were very large T-shirts that had magnificent bikini-clad bodies painted on them, designed to cover up the chubby person underneath.

We spotted one shirt with a picture of a human skeleton on it and the caption, “Waiting for the perfect man.” How dopey is that? However, my brother’s beachwear boasts a very small emblem of Harvard. He worked very hard for the right to wear that one.

My husband has a West Point T-shirt that he wears in honor of his father who was a cadet many, many years ago. One day, as he exited the elevator where we were staying, an extremely fit-looking young man snapped to attention and said, “Have a good day, Sir.”

I remember when my children were in high school, and I was once folding piles of gray athletic shirts and queried, “Who plays baseball at school and why am I doing his/her laundry?”

I recall a visit to Alaska several years ago where the sports advertised on T-shirts are more specialized. A shirt covered in fake blood and the words “Member of the Grizzly Bear Wrestling Team,” comes to mind.

There are lovely T-shirts of thick top-quality cotton. There are designer T-shirts that cost a fortune. I saw a “must have” T-shirt for every woman’s wardrobe that came only in pure white and cost $75. It was suggested that several be purchased at a time because they “never look as good after a washing.”

I’ve often wondered why people buy shirts with brand logos on them. I think if you’re going to promote a particular make, you should get a discount for providing free advertising.

Stay tuned for an overview of messages on coffee mugs.