The Armor of Apathy | E. Christopher Clark

The Armor of Apathy

The Armor of Apathy is the de facto uniform of the Whatever Warriors, a militia based out of the Free City of Chelmsdale. But while the outfits of this outfit were indeed inspired by the pre-apocalyptic fashion trend known as “grunge”—as non-threatening and un-militaristic a style as there ever has been—you would do well not to write this organization off as a bunch of slackers. Looks, as they say, can be deceiving.


“How so?” you might ask. Well, you see, each piece of the Whatever Warriors’ ensemble has been washed in the River Chelmer—a waterway rich in magic. And this simple act has granted, to all those who don this panoply of passivity, unlimited access to the insane power of absolute indifference.


Like: they could shoot at you and stuff. And then you could shoot back at them, or whatever. But, like, why bother? Y’know?


The Design

While there are several variations of the armor that’ll keep you from looking like a poser, a hoser, or worse, the most tried-and-true version of this ensemble consists of: A) an oversized flannel; B) a pair of authentically ripped jeans; and C) a pair of combat boots you either stole from your dad or bought for wicked cheap from a thrift store.


The Oversized Flannel
Traditionally worn unbuttoned over a graphic t-shirt of some sort, this core component of the Armor of Apathy may also be worn tied around the waist. (Like if it’s too hot out or something?) It may also be, in rare cases, worn buttoned. But unlike the lumberjack who used to own it, you should never tuck this baby in. Loose and haphazard are the name of the game here.

The Ripped Jeans
A tear in at least one knee is a must—and sometimes even better than a tear in both, if you’re confident enough to pull off the asymmetry. Tears elsewhere are optional, though rips near the underside of the buttocks or the crotch can help to telegraph how few fucks you have left to give. But regardless of where the damage has been done, the damage should’ve been caused by you or the person who used to own the piece—never by the hand of a sweatshop worker employed by the Gap to “pre-rip” things in an effort to capitalize on the latest craze.

The Combat Boots
These should be big and black and chunky. If they look like they’re too big for your feet, good. If they are too big for your feet, even better. What’s life without a little suffering, man? The key here is that they should look like you could kick the shit out of someone at any moment… if only you could get motivated enough to do so.



As befits a fashion born out of the contrarian 1990s, there are several alternatives to this alternative:

  • For the topmost layer, cardigan sweaters may be used in place of the otherwise ubiqutious flannel. Leather jackets are also acceptable, but only if worn together with a flannel or a cardigan. Otherwise, you’ll look too punk or too metal.
  • Babydoll dresses and slips are acceptable substitutes for the traditional graphic tee. It’s your choice what you wear for a bottom with this variation, if anything.
  • Shorts and fishnet stockings can serve as suitable replacements for the ripped jeans, either in warmer climates or in colder environs as an implicit “kiss my ass” to Mother Nature.
  • When it comes to footwear, high-top Chuck Taylor sneakers—Chucks—have become nearly as common as combat boots.

And these are just a few examples. So long as your ensemble is layered and loose, you can get away with just about anything. After all, the heart of the aesthetic is nonchalance.


So long as you remember to wash your threads in the River Chelmer on the regular, the Whatever Warriors will be happy to call you one of their own. If, like, that’s something you’d be interested in or something.


Completing the Look

The key to completing the look is, as Affliction Clothing puts it, “an all-around unkempt vibe.” Whether you keep your hair long, tousled, and unwashed or you trim it down to a pixie cut because you just can’t be bothered with anything longer, try always to project an aura of carelessness. It helps the magic of the river do its thing.


Atop your noggin, you might wear a beanie or a bandana or an absurdly floppy hat of some sort. But never wear such things to try and hide how ridiculous your bedhead is. Always remember: you don’t care.


The Evolution

The Armor of Apathy was patterned after fashions from the pre-calamitous 1990s, particularly the pre-1994 period. Having discovered an April 1995 copy of the Chelmsford High School newspaper The Voice in the archives of the town library, Chelmsdalians marveled at photographs of their forebears in their grungy twentieth-century garb. The young Chelmsdalians were particularly enamored of the cover image of that issue, which featured an illustration of a long-haired slacker backed up by an army of carbon-copy clones.


Weary from constant wars with the nearby Ninth Empire of Oz, in particular the recent Emerald Rebellion, the citizens of Chelmsdale decided to try outfitting their militia in the attire of the ancestors. They already knew that washing clothing in the waters of their prized River Chelmer would render said clothing impervious to damage from most Ozite weaponry, so they figured: “why not dress like we feel, like we couldn’t care less what you throw at us?”


The experiment, it turned out, was a success. Combined with sanctions enforced upon Oz by The Council of Five, the formation of a Chelmsdalian militia clad in this new Armor of Apathy led to a long-lasting peace.


Chelmsdalian elders, inspired by the efforts of the younger generations, adopted purple flannels as the standard regalia of the town council—purple being viewed, thanks to the elders passing knowledge of the Romans, as the color of royalty. And though this angered anti-establishment forces within Chelmsdale’s fellow Free Cities, the youth of the town couldn’t be bothered to get upset.


The People Who Wear It


Generation X

Generation X by E. Christopher Clark

Frustrated by the excesses of the 1980s and “annoyed by the idea of human value being defined by money and property,” the so-called Generation X created the look which inspired the Armor of Apathy altogether accidentally. They shopped exclusively at thrift stores, and otherwise wore only what they had lying around. And somehow, this anti-look became a look of its own.


Sadly for them, Earth ain’t nearly as magical as the post-apocalyptic world of Eden is. And so, if they wanted protection from anything—even just the jeering of folks who called them “slackers”—their clothes weren’t going to cut it. Instead, they had to, as the saying goes, “suck it up, buttercup,” and bear the brunt of any abuse that came their way.


The Whatever Warriors

Contrarywise, the Whatever Warriors of Chelmsdale are as invincible and intimidating a force as any in Eden. They’re even respected by the fearsome Rangers of the Reek, a group not known to back down to anyone. And they’re doing this while wearing the exact same shit as their hapless forebears!


The Whatever Warriors know this, of course. And that makes them sad. It’s the one thing they can’t help caring about. Their one great hope for the next iteration of reality is that their alt-rock ancestors won’t get shit on for their sensitivity and sensibilities the next time around.

Item type
Place of Origin

Beyond rendering the wearer impervious to most known weapons, the Armor of Apathy projects an aura of “absolute indifference.” This discourages most attacks from ever happening in the first place, leaving the assailant to wonder “Why bother?”


All art by E. Christopher Clark


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May 23, 2021 23:44

"Like: they could shoot at you and stuff. And then you could shoot back at them, or whatever. But, like, why bother? Y’know?"   This speaks to me in a way no article has for a good while. I love it.

May 23, 2021 23:48 by E. Christopher Clark

Yes! So glad to hear that. I'm hoping to generate more than a few smiles (and maybe a few giggles) with this article. Fingers crossed!

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 24, 2021 02:31 by Bart Weergang

Nice article! You had me snorting with giggles quite some times. Wonderful use of language.

May 24, 2021 11:39 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks! This one was all about the giggles for me. And thanks for the nice comment about the language. Did quite a few tweaks to get it just right.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 24, 2021 07:24 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Great article! This is a very funny concept and I love the style you've used to write it :D The images also go well with the article :D   The only questions I have are more related to worldbuilding – I guess the calamity didn't really destroy anything and so the clothes were still available in thrift stores? Since this type of clothing has become popular in that specific region, did they have enough for everyone in the thrift stores or did they have to find newer clothes to complete the outfits?     A small note, you need to add author credits to your images.

To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
May 24, 2021 11:41 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks for the feedback. I am definitely still working on the details of the worldbuilding here. The Calamity and everything that happens after it are more ideas in my head right now than anything I've actually written a story about, so it's great to have these questions from readers on things I need to address.   As for the author credits on images, I created all of them myself, so I'm kinda just using my name on the page as the credit.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 24, 2021 09:36 by TC

I'll start by saying- I'm currently dressed exactly like that. Open flannel, tshirt I got from a tattoo artist, second hand jeans, (pharaoh socks- unrelated but cool).   Second of all, this is a really great article! I love how its written, I love the humour, I love the art, I love how cool they are. Really awesome in so many ways!!!

Creator of Arda Almayed
May 24, 2021 11:42 by E. Christopher Clark

Aw, thank you! And glad to know someone is out there wearing the Armor of Apathy in the real world. May it protect you from all who might be foolish enough to attack you!

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 24, 2021 10:36 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I do like me an open flannel shirt. :D   This is such a great concept. I like the idea of the Whatever Warriors. The fact that washing the clothes in the river makes the clothes impervious and also makes them give off an apathetic aura is genius.   And I love the art!! <3 Great job!

May 24, 2021 11:43 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I kept coming back to this idea of why this one town was so fought over (aside from being on the border of three nations) and I thought "The river!" since most of the magic in the world comes from rivers of some sort.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 24, 2021 16:19

This is INCREDIBLE, I love this concept so much! And the execution is spot-on. Comedy gold you've got here!!

In Gormhan, an ancient magic-using nobility clings to its power in a high-tech 1950s-inspired world. There are dragons too!
May 25, 2021 20:59 by E. Christopher Clark

Aw, thank you! I'm glad to see the phrase "comedy gold" and I really appreciate that you dug the execution. It's hard to balance thinking about it enough without *over*thinking it, if you know what I mean.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 24, 2021 21:35

Very funny and original concept! You had me laughing several times :D It's just great how they really don't care and how you made that come accross with your writing style in this article xp Also a nice addition of how they started using it in the post-apocalyptic world.   The funniest part is perhaps though how due to its magic they create an aura of apathy. "Like: they could shoot at you and stuff. And then you could shoot back at them, or whatever. But, like, why bother? Y’know?" Just perfect that sentence.

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
May 25, 2021 21:00 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks, in general. And thanks, in particular, for calling out that one sentence. I laughed out loud myself when it came out of my brain and fingers and out onto the screen, so I crossed my fingers it would make other people laugh too.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 25, 2021 10:50 by C. B. Ash

Like: they could shoot at you and stuff. And then you could shoot back at them, or whatever. But, like, why bother? Y’know?
  I am just crying over that one. Love this so much!   Especially the part where they *do* care ... about something. :D

May 25, 2021 21:01 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks! Yeah, I really wanted to get them to care about something by the end, because I think that's the secret to seeming slackers: they *do* care; they've just been burned by caring too much before.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 25, 2021 15:10 by Morgan Biscup

I absolutely adore the tone you set for this article.   "Like: they could shoot at you and stuff. And then you could shoot back at them, or whatever. But, like, why bother? Y’know?" <-- This bit especially but it's a joy throughout. I love it!

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
May 25, 2021 21:02 by E. Christopher Clark

I'm so glad people are getting a kick out of that line! It was one of my favorite things I've written in a while (that line), so it's making me smile that it's getting such a good reaction.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 25, 2021 21:06 by Morgan Biscup

Hahaha, I noticed after I posted my comment that I was third in a row to say it, haha. It's a good line!

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
May 25, 2021 21:05

The article is great. I love the tone that is set. The article is very detailed

Want to check out more read my bard article
May 26, 2021 11:33 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks so much! I'm glad it felt detailed. That's the part I'm always most nervous about. I wonder if I've shared enough details or too many. I'm always glad when it turns out I've shared just enough.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 26, 2021 08:01

Interesting idea for armour. Ordinary clothes made into something special. By the way, have I ever told you that I love the humour in your copyright footer (rights and lefts). You have a talent for making everything funny

Check out the worlds of Starhome and Magic Earth
If you are looking for my Worldember articles check Magic Earth or My Worldember Progress Page
May 26, 2021 11:35 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you! No, I don't think you've mentioned that before. I'm glad you like it. It's something I came up with a long time ago on one of my first website, something that made me chuckle, and I've kept it pretty much ever since (except for random times when I started to feel, for one reason or another, that I wasn't being professional enough).

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 26, 2021 17:47 by Laurabones

I am in this article and I don't like it, tee hee. This really made me chuckle, great job!

May 27, 2021 11:37 by E. Christopher Clark

Glad to hear about the chuckle! And I am in this article too, and not sure how I feel about it myself. :-)

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 27, 2021 02:33

Wow. This made me laugh so hard!

If you're seeing this, I may have used your article for my 2023 Reading Challenge.
May 27, 2021 11:38 by E. Christopher Clark

Yay! I was kinda like, "don't try and write a 'winning' article this time; just write something that has a definite purpose (in this case, to make people laugh) and define success on whether or not it succeeds at its purpose.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 28, 2021 17:04 by O4

It was such a joy for me to read through the article! The language is so funny, and the idea of taking the 90s and making them more 90s than what they already were is genius!   Awesome article!

May 28, 2021 19:39 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you! I've written a lot about the 90s from a more realistic angle, so it was fun to see what would happen if you injected the 90s into fantasy.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 29, 2021 21:09 by Michael Chandra

I mean, whatever, man.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
May 30, 2021 13:27 by E. Christopher Clark

Yeah, man. Like… ugh, y’know?

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 31, 2021 00:39

I absolutely love everything about this article. It's absolutely glorious and you are a very talented writer.

May 31, 2021 12:07 by E. Christopher Clark

Aw, thank you! I had a lot of fun with this one, so it's great to see others having fun reading it.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Jun 3, 2021 06:32 by Jaime Buckley

This was awesome. Made be laugh hard. So glad you have 30 likes at the time I posted this comment.   Couldn't happen to a more deserving dork (wink). Well, flipping DONE!!!

Storyteller, Cartoonist,..pretty awesome friend =)
Subscribe to Life of Fiction to see the live results of all this worldbuilding.
Jun 3, 2021 13:20 by E. Christopher Clark

Do I? 30?! I'd love to make it to the shortlist again, though I'm guessing 30 might not even make it with how popular these competitions have become.   So, that said, this dork is going to consider it a victory every time I make someone laugh with this article. And that seems to be a lot.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Jun 4, 2021 00:42 by Jaime Buckley

THERE ya go!! I've given up trying to win anything other than new friendships now--just too much brilliant creativity in this community!   Just post what I make and enjoy the ride, reading, voting, and recommending the insane number of cool entries to everyone else,...right?   Love being part of WorldAnvil.   This article is a winner, buddy. [...pushes a custom Blue Ribbon into the corner of the article...]

Storyteller, Cartoonist,..pretty awesome friend =)
Subscribe to Life of Fiction to see the live results of all this worldbuilding.
Jun 4, 2021 11:37 by E. Christopher Clark

Yes! I will take a Buckley Blue Ribbon any day of the week.   Thanks for being cool and making me feel cool, too.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Jun 4, 2021 10:57 by AP.

I guess this article is alright, like, whatever, y'know?   But seriously, this has been up there with my favourite reads so far! Such a great article and that humour is so spot-on. I love it so much! Definitely put a smile on my face. :) Excellent work.

Jun 4, 2021 11:36 by E. Christopher Clark

Yeah, like thanks and stuff. Like, it means a lot or whatever.   (But seriously: thank you! Happy to hear I'm putting smiles on faces with this.)

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Jun 5, 2021 21:03 by Paul Fijma

I just love the images! I'm a fan of the daz3d tool too. recently started to use it again. so much to do and so little time :D Your writing is fun! I need to keep an eye on your world!

Akimotos, worldbuilder.
Jun 6, 2021 15:36 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks for checking it out, Akimotos! Glad to have found another Daz user at World Anvil, and glad you enjoyed the article.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Jun 8, 2021 21:48 by Angantyr

That's a hell of a hilarious article, I'll give you that! :D   I won't be able to look at flanel shirts and ripped jeans without thinking of Whatever Warriors. And the ripped jeans are back in trend. :P

Playing around with words and worlds
Jun 9, 2021 11:28 by E. Christopher Clark

The Whatever Warriors are all around us, just waiting to protect us… if they feel like it.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Jun 9, 2021 13:40 by Angantyr

Beacause... "Yeah, whatever."

Playing around with words and worlds
Jun 12, 2021 18:18 by Sloqush

That was a really fun article to read, great job...or whatever :D   I especially liked the juxtaposition between just how powerful the armor is (rendering one immune to most weapons) and how little of a fuck the people wearing it actually give about those powers ^_^

Author of Cenorad ; a bleak-dark sandbox of creativity.
Jun 12, 2021 18:57 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you—for the whole comment, but especially for using my favorite word: juxtaposition.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Jul 1, 2021 12:36 by Avalon Arcana

This is beautiful. A wonderful parody of real life.

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Jul 1, 2021 14:09 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you! I still smile every time I come back to this one. One of my favorite pieces I've done here. Fingers crossed I can have half as much fun with Summer Camp.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
May 7, 2022 21:52 by Kwyn Marie

You know, you may inspire without realizing it. This post has stuck with me since you wrote it because of the description of the clothes.

May 7, 2022 22:10 by E. Christopher Clark

Oh, thanks Kwyn. I'm sure you're right about that. My former students rave about my classes when we reconnect, people who've actually read the books tell me how much they love them, etc. I even have a folder on my computer called "External Validation" to capture this stuff when I'm feeling as low as I am now; I just forget to use it.   At any rate, thank you for stopping by and leaving this comment. It means the world to me right now.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
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