We are running an interview with the dreamy Joe Pernice—sigh—next week, but one part of our discussion that won't make the piece is his amazing—sigh—story about how his "I Hate My Life" T-shirts ended up being unceremoniously donated to a homeless shelter in Vermont. Take it away, Joe.
We were going to a show in Montreal. Most bands smuggle all their merchandise, but I was like, "I'm not gonna do it. I'm gonna go by the book." So I had our box of shirts ready... and that guy [Canadian border agent] was breaking balls. I declared the value. I did everything right. He counts the shirts up and says, “Oh, you have 25 shirts. If you have over 20, you need an importer's license.”
He replied, “Oh no. I'm not joking. You can go back into the American side and apply for a license.” I asked how long that will that take and he said, "You know, it could take 12 hours." I'm on my way to a show—luckily I only brought 25 shirts—so I told him, “I'm gonna miss this show. I'll just throw them away.” And he goes, “Okay, but you can't throw them away in Canada.”
They made me leave the country. I go back to the American side and the border guard there had a few choice things to say about our neighbors up north. I explained, “Look, I just wanna get rid of these shirts. I'm gonna miss a show but I don't want to just throw them out if I don't have to. Is there a homeless shelter I could give them to?” He said, “Yeah, I'll bring them there after my shift.”
I drive away and as I'm looking in the rearview mirror I see the border guard lift up a shirt, and I think to myself, “Oh, Jesus Christ.” Those shirts say "I Hate My Life" across the chest. Somewhere in Vermont there are possibly 25 homeless people walking around with "I Hate My Life" T- shirts on.
Joe Pernice/Chappaquiddick Skyline - "Everyone Else Is Evolving"