Contrary to popular biker culture, I have steadfastly resisted the urge to wear the ubiquitous black biker T-shirt. I have never been one to blend in with the crowd, although I confess, I must own 5 dozen of these black cotton shirts stuffed, stashed and crammed all over my house, garage, barn, office, etc… They are sometimes neatly, sometimes not, squirreled away in piles, never to be adorned by me in my phobia of ticky-tacky biker uniformity. Some are even relegated to laying flat on the concrete underneath leaky old bikes in my garage soaking up that oil that inevitably makes its way from the crankcase to the floor. The reason for my hoarding of these items is principally a supply and demand dynamic. I have WAY more of these black biker T-shirts than I need. This is mostly because I attend WAY too many biker functions where hosts and organizers overestimate my personal desire to commemorate THEIR activity with a black cotton souvenir in the shape of a capital “T”, worn by motorcycle riders all over the world. Every biker charity, poker run, bike night, fundraiser, bar, shop, and ceremonial ‘get-together’ awards a new black biker T-shirt to each and every one of its participants. I can tell the attendee who does not do a lot of these activities as their enthusiasm for receipt of said black T-shirt is conversely proportional to the frequency in which they receive one. Go to a lot of biker events, get a lot of T-shirts, could care less. Go to just a few events, have just a few shirts, very excited to get one. Does that make sense? In other words, some people, who have but a few of the ‘commemoratives’ will bowl you over to get one. Trade their wife for one, punch you in the face to get one, elbow their way to the front of the line for one and I dare not divulge what some biker woman have offered me to get one! Ughh. The world is a crazy place. Me, I couldn’t care less. I often simply decline the commemorative T-shirt at the door or the sign up table at biker events. How many shop rags can one man consume in a lifetime? It really is a waste.
Other bikers though, go nuts over a free T-shirt. I trust this is because the retail on such an item is anywhere between 10 bucks and 50 bucks when paying for them. This depends upon whether you shop at big box slave labor retail or at Harley Davidson Dealerships. Although that same ever-present T-shirt from either retail establishment may very well be sourced from the same identical Bangladeshi sweatshop. I do not know. I do know that when you give them out for free at an event the level of enthusiasm to obtain one ramps UP. Way UP. One year on the Iron Horse Saloon stage in Daytona with my friend JB Walker we started to throw some of my Law Firm T-shirts out to the crowd and all hell broke loose. Security settled people down with a few knuckle sandwiches but not before some bloodshed. People just love our shirts in particular. Here’s why.
When we started American Biker Lawyer many years ago, we counted on a few things. We knew people wanted a lawyer who understood them and their lifestyle. We knew people wanted a lawyer who specialized in bike wrecks. We knew people would respond to a web site, a series of marketing events, sponsorships, vintage bikes, and girls in our booth with big boobs, etc… What completely took us by surprise was the level of demand for a simple black T-shirt with our logo on the front and our motto on the back. We frankly pay 9 or 10 bucks a piece for these T-shirts we give away depending on how much lead time we give the printer beforehand. What makes them popular is not that we use Egyptian blend cotton or sweat wicking blah, blah, blah. The demand comes from the slogan we have placed upon their backs. Beyond the “American Biker Lawyer” imprint with the phone number over the Eagle head logo, we emblazon each one with the intellectual property of the firm. Our slogan! What is our Law Firm slogan you ask? – Well, easy. “My Lawyer Can Kick Your Lawyer’s Ass”. The phrase is emblematic. It is not my intent to beat the shit out of any one fellow lawyer, although the thought does sometimes cross my mind while in the heat of court battle once in a while. It’s a slogan, tongue and cheek. Not to mention, there are a few lawyers like my pal Stuart Mones. A 280-pound hulking mass of muscle, jiu jitsu and muay thai champion, whom I have unfortunately sparred with, much to my physical dismay, having had my ass legitimately kicked contrary to my slogan. I could no sooner kick Stuart’s ass than I could fly to the moon. So, while I consider myself pretty tough, it’s not my desire to kick any lawyer’s ass in particular. Its’ just a fun saying. It’s catchy. It’s clever. Most importantly, it conveys the idea that we’ll fight for you and your case.
If this article made you think about your overpriced collection of biker T-shirts, black or not, then I’ve succeeded. Here’s food for thought. There came a time when I had so many of them that I boxed them up in 6 big boxes and gave them away to a homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta. At least I knew they were keeping some poor soul clothed. Although, I admit we hesitated when my staff and I dropped them off. We pondered aloud about clothing hundreds of homeless people in Atlanta with biker T-shirts containing biker insignias, advertisements, charity rides and Law Firm logos too. It must have been a sight passing the homeless shelter in the following weeks after our little donation. People must have driven by every down on his luck fellow and assumed each was a down and out biker. Not great for the biker image, but hey, outweighed by helping someone out who needed clothes.
In the spirit of the black biker T, I thought I’d contribute to the problem. I neatly folded a pile of 25 “American Biker Lawyer” T-shirts with the “My Lawyer can…” motto thereon. They sat on the edge of the conference table in my office. I pledged to mail one to every person who donated 10 bucks to my charity, “The Busted Knuckle Scholarship Fund”, a not-for-profit helping young aspiring motorcycle mechanics pay school tuition. They went in a few days. Hopefully it didn’t end up on a garage floor, sopping up oil.
Remember, ride hard, ride safe, and in the end make sure you ride home. –Irish