Thursday, January 17, 2013

T-shirt of the Elder Gods

Cafe Press is a dangerous website. Whatever you can conceive of has already been made into pithy T-shirts and if you want to add to the insanity you can make your own designs cheap and easy. Do NOT go there with a new credit card, and do NOT log on while you are drunk. Trust me. Just don’t do it.
I went to Cafe Press to buy a shirt to support the Santa Cruz Derby Girls and I emerged with a nifty Miskatonic University shirt as well. Don’t know how – and I swear I was sober at the time.

The design is classic college with the central seal and the name above and below. Except, of course that the whole thing is fake: There is an Essex County in Massachusetts, but there is no town of Arkham and there has certainly never been a Miskatonic University. Except in the imagination of H.P. Lovecraft, who invented the Cthulhu mythos, wrote lots of short stories in the 1920′s and 30′s and scared the peepee out of a young Stephen King.
Many of Lovecraft’s stories are based in his mythical Arkahm, Mass. And take place in (or under) Miska U. It’s a code word for us Lovecraft freaks.
HELLO? Have you been helped?
The photographer surprised me while I was rehearsing before a gig.
So I am wearing that shirt today, because it happened to be on top of the stack. And I went to the gym this morning, and as I am spacing out on the treadmill I thought a lot about the world of my one of my favorite authors.
And sometimes you get lucky.
In the locker room I am combing my hair when a young guy sidles past, sees my shirt and smiles. “Home of the Elder Gods.” He says. I smile back. He starts shaving.
This exchange attracts the attention of an older gentleman who reads my shirt and asks politely “Mis-ka-tonic? Where is that?”
“It’s in Arkham, Massachusetts.” I reply evenly, catching the eye of my young friend across the bathroom.
The older fellow nods. “Big place?”
I shrug. “It’s deceptive. A lot of it is underground.”
Yes, that IS a Cthulhu up there.
He takes that in. “What are the majors there?”
I think for a second. “Ancient History, Psychology and um, Marine Biology, I guess.”
He frowns at that. Behind him my young friend is turning purple from trying not to laugh. The old fellow presses on.
“Is there a big student body?”
I shrug again. “There was, but it gets smaller every year.”
The old fellow nods, confused, and moves on to the showers. Behind him my young friend is coughing up the shaving cream he swallowed.
So thank you Howard Philips Lovecraft, again, for making my day. 

Ph’nguli mglw’nafh Cthulu R’yleh wagh’nafl fhtagn.
Angus McMahan

And remember always that Cthulhu loves you – in a sandwich.


  1. Where can I get this shirt? Is this available for shipping? It looks so cool!

  2. It is! I have it in the dark blue you see in the candid photo, and also in a white sleeveless (which is what I was wearing at the gym). Follow the link in the first line of this story and search for "Miskatonic University".
    Iä! Shub-Niggurath!