By Denny Banister

During the days of the great depression, some people earned money by wearing billboards hanging from their shoulders by straps, advertising any number of establishments. While we are not facing another great depression, we do see people standing on street corners wearing or holding billboards and signs, some in costumes, advertising everything from pizza to going-out-of-business sales.

Many modern clothing manufacturers have very identifiable logos and capitalize on the advertising value by printing the logo and their brand name on the clothing they sell. It started with blue jeans many years ago with a tag and a patch above the rear pocket, and has expanded to brand identification on the fronts and backs of shirts, dress shirts and blouses, belts and shoes.

What I find amusing is people, especially young people, feel they must wear the clothing with the obvious brand identification, and they even pay a good deal extra for the privilege. Personally, I feel if a company wants to use my body to advertise their brand name, they will provide me the clothing free of charge or pay me to do their advertising. Unfortunately, I have had no offers.

T-shirts are different – they used to come in any color you wanted as long as it was white. Then an array of colors, followed by tie-dyes, became popular. Now it is difficult to find people wearing t-shirts as outer garments that do not make some kind of statement, whether political, religious, humorous or otherwise.

Here at the Missouri State Fair, one of my favorite pastimes is reading t-shirts. This can lead to trouble if one is not discreet – it would not be difficult to be mistaken as a dirty old man, even for one so innocent as I. One girl wore a shirt playing on that angle – it read, “Stop looking at my t-shirt.”

Here are some others I think you’ll enjoy:

· Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder;

· The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on the list;

· Hard work will pay off in the future, but laziness pays off now;

· A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste;

· There’s a place for all God’s creatures – right next to potatoes and gravy;

· If I don’t remember it, it didn’t happen;

· Chicks Dig Nerds;

· Before Elvis, there was nothing;

· Dad’s Weekend Shirt;

· Tough guys wear pink (on a pink t-shirt of course);

· My girlfriend’s out of town;

· Please don’t interrupt me when I’m talking to myself;

· Don’t let my halo fool you;

and finally, printed upside down on the back of a t-shirt…

· Hey, cowgirl – if you can read this, help me get back up on my barstool.

T-shirt reading at the Missouri State Fair, it’s free and it’s fun. The State Fair runs through Sunday, August 17th, in Sedalia.