Psst, are you alone? I have a secret to share with you. I have a wifebeater. In fact, I have several wifebeaters. No, I do not have a small midget in my closet that beats the crap out of his wife in a drunken rage.

I am talking, of course, about the article of clothing that has swept the nation, nay, the world.

The New York Times has dubbed the wifebeater “the biggest thing since suspenders,” while the New Yorker has raved, “Without wifebeaters, how would we keep the white trash population under control?”

Perhaps, in a moment of weakness (like that time you pissed on the bush behind Delta Kappa Epsilon last weekend. Yeah we all saw, you douchebag), you too have wondered, “Where did this perfect thing come from? Why does it feel like I’m wearing underwear for my torso? Seriously, what’s with this lame internal monologue?” I can help you answer the first couple questions. As for the last one, go see a shrink. Freak.

The year was 1877, the location was Cottonlove, Miss., which was ironic because Cottonlove was no longer producing cotton. Their main export after the Civil War were hot chicks that went on to have carnal relations with every president from Ulysses S. Grant to Bill Clinton (go check it out, Lewinsky was from Cottonlove) and a particular brand of cheap alcohol they called “All-American Light” that was the great granddaddy of the “Natty Light” that all college students know and love today.

If you glanced into the local bar/whorehouse, you would see Bobby-Joe Pattalle, 39 years old, married and severely depressed. You see, like most people in the idealistic town of Cottonlove, Bobby-Joe had sided with the wrong team or the Civil War.

In the process, he lost foreverything he owned. This included a cotton field, a couple slaves who killed all his livestock as a goodbye gift and his daughter who ran off to bang out President Johnson. Coincidence? I think not.

So you might wonder, what was Bobby-Joe Pattalle doing with his life? Mostly he was hanging out, bitching about life and drinking a lot.

Sometimes, the local citizens would make him the judge of petty disputes because he was really fair while drunk. These cases were always prosecuted in the back of the bar with the winner having to give the judge a gallon of liquor.

Bobby would usually down all the liquor on his walk home every night, so he always came home stinking to high heaven of various alcohols.

His wife, Jamie Lynn Spears Pattalle – she kept her own last name because of her dream of becoming an actress, she got as far as the local strip joint – was always awake and ready to greet her drunk husband. She didn’t utter one word on most days because honestly, what was the point?

On a particularly difficult night, Jamie was pretty angry at her husband because she too started drinking (yes, women were allowed to drink, the downfall of society was beginning).

For a solid hour, Spears cataloged a laundry list of sins and mistakes that her husband made. Sources say that Bobby-Joe fell asleep several times during her diatribe.

When she was done, Bobby got up and calmly started to walk away. But Jamie Lynn was very drunk and angry, and what’s more scary than a drunk chick with a grudge? I say nothing.

She proceeded to try to beat the shit out of Bobby. During the fight, Jamie Lynn had ripped his shirt to shreds. She tore off the sleeves and most of the shoulders, leaving him with just a strip of shirt that held it together.

When he started to fight back by clocking her in the face (the “don’t hit girls” axiom didn’t exist in the South. Come to think of it, it still doesn’t), she ripped off the back part of his shirt. Afterwards, Bobby-Joe just fell down and passed out.

The next morning when Bobby-Joe woke up, he was surprised to find that he was wearing a shirt, albeit much less cumbersome.

Needless to say, he was amazed because he really didn’t remember how he came about such an unusual shirt. For the next several days, he went everywhere in that shirt.

Eventually, he decided to tinker a bit with the design. To do this, he came home after another hard day of drinking and out of nowhere started to beat on his wife.

Jamie Lynn once again ripped his shirt to shreds. He then took it to a friend of his and asked him if the man could replicate the design.

Since everyone in town knew Bobby-Joe Pattalle as a respected judge, they all ran out and bought the new shirts. Lo and behold, they became very popular, perhaps because they were so easy to wear and didn’t ever need to be washed. These shirts quickly made Bobby-Joe a millionaire.

Eventually, a clothing manufacturer came in and offered to buy the production and design of the shirts for a fortune.

When asked what they were called, Bobby-Joe supposedly said, “Well hot damn, I dunno. The only thing that I remember is beating the crap outta my wife to make these.”

The manufacturer, in a fit of genius, decided to name them ‘wifebeaters,’ thus giving future generations of comics and assholes who write satirical stories a treasure trove of material to work with.

What ever happened to Bobby-Joe Pattalle? When he sold the wifebeater, he dumped his wife, moved north and ended up marrying the White House whore, who happened to be his daughter. Sick, I know, but, hey, it’s how those hicks from the South roll.

Maystrovsky is a member of the class of 2009.

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