A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 08, 2016
“… And all I got was this lousy T-shirt”

People often return home from vacation destinations with souvenir T-shirts. “My parents went to Florida and all I got was this lousy T-shirt” is a typical jocular saying.

“Mom and dad went to Seattle and all I got was this lousy T-shirt” was cited in August 1977. “My grandpa and grandma went to Carmel but all I got was this dumb T-shirt” was cited in September 1978. “Mommy and Daddy went to Atlantic City and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt” was also cited in 1978. Google Images shows many T-shirts printed with these sayings.

“T-shirt” is sometimes removed from the meme that consists of “(did something)” and “all I got was this lousy” and “(unimpressive result).” “My government spent $1 trillion on the drug war and all I got was this lousy police state” was printed on bumper stickers in 2009. “I voted at the election, and all I got was this lousy government” was posted on Twitter on April 8, 2010.


27 August 1977, Seattle (WA) Times, “Button down the hatches” by John Hinterberger, pg. A9, col. 4:
Kid’s T-shirt that read:

“MOM AND DAD WENT TO SEATTLE AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT.”

14 September 1978, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Bohemia With a Carmel Flavor” by Jack Smith, Orange County sec., pt. 4, pg. C1:
My wife was about to buy three of these, for our grandchildren, each with the same lament across the chest: “My grandpa and grandma went to Carmel but all I got was this dumb T-shirt.”

24 September 1978, Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer, “City’s Oktoberfest Generates A Lot Of Plain Old Fun” by Marvin Beard, pg. B-4, col. 4:
... and a girl wore a T-shirt that said, “Mommy and Daddy went to Atlantic City and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt.”

3 July 1979, The Christian Science Monitor (Boston, MA),” T-shirts put messages up front” by Marcia Ruth Murphy, pg. 18, col. 2:
The words, “My folks went to Florida, and all I got was this crummy T-shirt,” sprawl across th chest of a sandy-haired, 8-year-old in Boston.

21 April 1980, Hartford (CT) Courant, “Have a Run at It” by John Lacy, pg. 17, col. 1:
You might try entering the run with a plain white T-shirt (if you aren’t exhausted from traipsing through stores in search of one; the choice is usually three in a package or one with a printed message: “My patents went to New Orleans and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

OCLC WorldCat record
My Dad Went to San Quentin and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt
Author: Christian Parenti
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: The Baffler, v9 (199703): 59-62
Database: CrossRef

OCLC WOrldCat record
I went to APEC and all I got was this lousy shirt [John Howard and Al Gore at the APEC meeting in Kuala Lumpur, November 1998]
Author: Ward O’Neill
Publisher: 1998.
Series: Ward O’Neill collection.
Edition/Format: Image : Picture

OCLC WorldCat record
I went to punkfest and all I got was this lousy zine!
Author: Kerry Ann Lee
Publisher: Wellington, New Zealand : [Kerry Ann Lee], 2001.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
My job went to India : and all I got was this Lousy book
Author: Chad Fowler
Publisher: The Pragmatic Bookshelf ; Raleigh, 2005
Edition/Format: Print book

OCLC WorldCat record
My parents went through the Holocaust and all I got was this lousy t-shirt : a near-life experience
Author: Suzan Stadner
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : Matter Inc., ©2006.
Edition/Format: Print book : Biography : English

Twitter
Murray Hamilton
‏@MuzHamilton
#inevitableheadlines I voted at the election, and all I got was this lousy government.
12:34 PM - 8 Apr 2010

Twitter
Orbette Spiced Latte
‏@orbette
I’m going to get merch made and everything. ‘I wanted an open Britain and all I got was this lousy t-shirt & fascist right wing government.’
2:32 AM - 5 Oct 2016

Posted by Barry Popik
Florida (Sunshine State Dictionary) • Saturday, October 08, 2016 • Permalink