Getting underwear for Christmas is on the same excitement scale of receiving any more than one delivery of zucchini in the summer from your gardening neighbor.
Gardening neighbors can’t give the stuff away as fast as it produces so they leave baskets full of the stuff on your porch. Though you appreciate their hard work and their loving thought when they share, you also know it’s something you would rather buy yourself – if and when you want it. By the time the fourth basket shows up and you have yet to do anything with the fruits of the first basket, you begin to wish they would do something else with their time, or find some new neighbors. The problem is, they did find new neighbors. Every neighbor within an eight block radius is now receiving zucchini on a regular basis. They aren’t eating it, just receiving it. There is just so much zucchini a person can contend with or eat.
Each summer the cycle begins anew. The neighbors till, plant and tend their garden. You receive baskets, bags, and buckets of zucchini. You enjoy the first or second cooking of the stuff and then you try to find a way to get rid of it without hurting your neighbor’s feelings. You would bury it in the back yard, but you know that would just produce more zucchini. You’ve tried giving it to the homeless shelter, but so has every other person in your neighborhood. Even the shelters have their tolerance for zucchini. Yet, it still shows up. Every few days. Summer after summer. It’s the gift that the neighbor keeps giving and won’t go away.
Well, if you haven’t noticed, underwear is the zucchini of the Christmas season. It’s everywhere, and everyone is sure to receive it in some shape, color, or packaging. Like zucchini, you get too much too often. It doesn’t always look good. It’s not universally friendly and most often not welcome as a gift.
This year even the advertising gurus are getting in on the act. While watching a holiday cartoon special with my grandson this past weekend, an advertisement came on with singing, faceless, snow people wearing different shades of underwear on their heads. I never caught the gist of the commercial, but underwear on your head? What happened to lights on Christmas trees to represent the holiday season? I’ve heard that stupid underwear Apple sing so many times I find myself using it to dull my senses and allow me to sleep. Just before drifting off I hear Vince Gil’s voice in the background singing about under pants in the South of France.
I don’t know where the tradition began, but as long as there has been underwear it seems parents have felt obligated to give their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, neighborhood children, the homeless people in their town, and even a few people they run in to in the stores zucchini – errr, I mean underwear. It could be socks, briefs, boxers, tightie whities, long leg, short leg, snug fitting, free flowing, granny panties, bras, thongs, or whatever the latest craze is. No time here to get in to the various color options or price possibilities.
Those of you receiving the stuff, don’t scoff at my words. You know what I’m talking about. It may not show up in buckets or baskets, and hopefully it doesn’t sit on your front porch, but it has the same tendency. It comes when you would rather have something else and you can’t give the stuff away. It lasts forever too, or at least until the next holiday season.
My oldest son is thirty-six this year. By my calculations that means I have given him about 299 pairs of boxers or briefs by now, give or take a pair or two. That’s just the ones he has received annually as Christmas presents. He has received both socks and underwear in some form every Christmas for as long as he can remember. When he married, I learned how to buy underwear for females, other than myself. I’m not sure his wife ever wore them, but I fulfilled my obligation by buying, wrapping and bestowing said undergarments unto her. When the grandchildren came along, they too got underwear. Oh sure, there were other gifts, but it just isn’t Christmas until the underwear are opened. I’ve bought more underwear in my years on this earth than I’ve bought anything except lipstick, shoes and perhaps purses.
With all the different shapes, colors, brands, and attitudes it’s a wonder I manage to purchase anything any of them would wear. I buy briefs, and they say Mommmmmmmmmm. I haven’t worn briefs in the past 8 years. Huh? I thought that’s what I’ve been buying you. Or they just look at the package before opening and say, “Well it’s officially Christmas. The underwear is here.” I tried disguising the packages from time to time. My youngest son knows the sound underwear makes when you shake the package. There is just no fooling him. He’s the same way with zucchini.
Some years my sons and even grandsons have decided it would be in their best health to forego underwear and go commando. I never ask what they do with the underwear they receive for Christmas. Some things you don’t want to know. I do know though, that you can plant underwear and it won’t produce more underwear. I did that once with the stuff I received from a well meaning Christmas traditionalist.
I gave up gardening a few years ago due to lack of interest, energy or something. This year I’m not buying any underwear for anyone also due to lack of interest, time, energy or some damn thing. I just hope Christmas is still Christmas. It all goes in cycles. The tradition is being passed down to the children. This summer they take over growing and pawning off zucchini also.
From the life and mind of:
Wanda M. Argersinger
All Rights Reserved 2009