From the time I left in 2014 to serve others for 18 months of my life, Spanish has been an integral part of who I am. The language, the food, the people, the lifestyle – all of it. Because of those 18 months, most of my best friends and closest acquaintances are Latino. I met my husband while serving and he’s from (you guessed it) Oaxaca, Mexico.
But the thing is, I’m a jokester. So when I was just learning the language, I felt suffocated and entirely not funny. That lasted for about 3 months. But I’ll never forget where I was sitting, and to whom I was talking to, on the night I became “funny” in Spanish. Without even realizing it, I made a cultural-related joke and just like that, I was me again.
A lot of Latin humor (especially among Latin millennials) comes from old superstitions, wives tales, and the ever popular use of “home remedies.” These remedies can be anything from rubbing an egg on someone who was the target of a stranger’s “evil eye,” to curing tonsillitis with slices of tomatillo. But one joke that will ever remain popular is the manifold of uses of Vick’s VapoRub.
From GPA problems to broken limbs, or the common cold to dysentery, to the Latin mother, there is nothing this cream can’t solve. So you can understand how when I set out to create the perfect, representative t shirt for my favorite culture, it had to have VapoRub on it. Let me take you through some of my drafts.
Admittedly I did have a couple other ideas in mind when I started thinking about this shirt. A first aid kit of remedies and a velita of la virgen de guadalupe were among the first ideas, but then I started thinking about Latin moms. How many flip flops I’d seen thrown or used as paddles, usually accompanied with my favorite mom phrase, “pa que se te quite!” (Roughly translated, it has the same context of “so you get over it” or “so you leave it alone.”)
Obviously it’s wasn’t the cleanest, and the proportions on the Vick’s logo/lid weren’t the most accurate, but it was a start. For about a week after initial critiques, I went back and forth on how to best make the text feel more incorporated, but nothing felt right because of the slogan-like nature. Here’s an example of how I tried to do that:
I just really wasn’t feeling it. The vibe I was really going after was something along the lines of:
And don’t get me wrong, I get that there’s a difference between a print ad and a t shirt. But the whole idea from the get go was to endorse VapoRub with the mom-est of mom statements in Latin culture. (I promise that I did copy testing with my shirt, and then immediately regretted it because now I owe 10 people a shirt.)
So, in the end, I went with my guy, I moved the text closer to the bottle, and put the text in quotes. Graphically, in the traditional sense, it doesn’t tie in, but for the audience and that I was going for, it works.
So there she is will all her changes made. I’m very happy with how my shirt turned out. That being said, I’d love to hear what you have to think so drop me a comment below!