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Bikexchange.com Column #8

Been There, Done That...and I Own the T-shirt

By Gianna Bellofatto

Gianna Bellofatto is a freelance writer and avid cyclist who whose column, Life Is a Bike, appears regularly in The Bicycle Exchange.  

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard the cliche, "Been there, done that." To me, it communicates impatience and a biased opinion. It silences the speaker, thereby forgoing any further exchange of ideas or the possibility that this may be a different situation. Someone recently informed me, however, the whole expression ends with the line, "...and I own the T-shirt."

T-shirts have become as commonplace as the cold and as American as apple pie. Nearly everywhere you go, you can see a slogan, name or business touted. There are T-shirts for almost everything--restaurants, sports teams, women's rights, gay rights, and lefties who have rights, to name a few. What does this have to do with Life is a Bike? I'm glad you asked.

I recently jumped on the bandwagon and created a "Life is a Bike" T-shirt. I have given it to friends, family, colleagues, and anyone else who is willing to accept it and, at the very least, promise not to wash the car with it.

The other day while on my bike and wearing my T-shirt, I met a man wearing one that read, "Life is a Lemon." We were stopped at a light. He was jogging in place while I rested comfortably on my bicycle. We read each other's shirts.

"Interesting T-shirt you got there," he said. "What does it mean?"

"I don't have time to explain because the light is about to turn green. I'll meet you at the next traffic signal." He arrived several minutes after me, a bit more breathless.

But before he could catch his breath, I asked him what his T-shirt meant. He gave a litany of how lemons symbolize the fruit of life, tart but juicy, earthy but pure, nourishing, pungent in aroma, "...and they give a real zip to a gin and tonic," he concluded. By now the traffic signal had changed several times, the jogger had run a quarter of a mile in place, and I wasn't getting any exercise.

I said adieu and added, "I've got to get going. If life is a lemon then I have to squeeze all I can out of it!"

"Hey, that's pretty funny," he shouted. I sped away.

Further down the road in the center of Hillsdale I saw two young women wearing identical T-shirts. They read, "We're not Twins."

"Okay, then what are you?" I asked as I approached them at the stop sign where they stood.

"It means we're all part of a connected cosmic force, the same but not identical," one responded seriously.

"Life is a Bike? Duh," the other chirped sarcastically.

I gave them a polite nod, figuring this was one time life was definitely a lemon. A smile came to my face, however, when I saw the male jogger headed their way. I quickly made my exit.

Recently I met a good friend for lunch. She said she had a great marketing idea: Why not design a T-shirt for my column? Quicker than you can say life is a lemon, I whipped out my T-shirt and said, "Been there, done that." This, of course, stopped her from discussing it any further. See what I mean?

Remember, Life is a Bike and I own the T-shirt. Until next time...

If you would like a T-shirt or would like to comment on how Ms. Bellofatto makes lemonade out of lemons, send an email to JBWrites1@aol.com

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