Underwear and Career Achievements

I recall the packs of underwear with the days of the week spelled out in various styles that I’m sure I wore at some point while growing up. I remember from the movie, When Harry Met Sally, Sally discussed a breakup related to the absence over a pair of Sunday underwear. She stated her then boyfriend was paranoid about why she never wore Sunday, thinking they were missing somehow by nefarious activities .

Sally reasoned the underwear companies could not bear printing the Lord’s day on the seventh pair because of God. If this was really the case then I can only assume that on Sundays these companies felt that because of God, going commando was justified. Or it was assumed that the owner of the underwear would either recycle and wear another “day of the week” (wearing them out of sequence) or pick a random pair with no assigned day to wear on Sunday. I have to admit, I am a rule follower. I would have been bugged beyond belief to wear my “day of the week” underwear out of order.

However, this appears to be more of a myth and Sunday was actually printed on most packs of the “days of the week” underwear. This fact begs another alternative that might be unpopular. It could be those with certain beliefs were the ones that could not fathom wearing underwear with the Lord’s day printed on them. With this in mind, I think about Sunday parishioners sitting in the pews without their delicates underneath their clothes…seems un-Christian-like. I can’t tell if the un-Christian-like part is targeted at me for thinking about all or parts of the congregation going commando during Sunday service or the amount of time these thoughts spent bouncing around in my head before they spill out on paper and eventually freed to perhaps infect you.

These types of underwear ponderings surprisingly bring me to think of where I have been and where I am at the present. I have fumbled my way though most of my life without much of a thoughtful path. I did not have a map or instructions and most times I did not trust my guts. Regardless, I seem to have found my way. Retracing the routes from years before until the present, there aren’t any real surprises. The common thread that linked the years has been my passion to advocate for those individuals who happen to be diagnosed with certain concerns and who have landed in some type of unsavory system that was supposed to either support or punish. Although, it seems both systems appeared to be more adept at following through on the latter.

I have been thinking a lot about my years of service and the fight for the betterment of of others. I have been reflecting on the amazing legacy of John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I am in no way comparing myself to either of these amazing leaders. I only mention Mr. Lewis and the notorious RGB, because I can only aspire to hang in there and keep challenging the oppressive structures that still remain. Perhaps, I want to be like both of these icons when I grow up.

I have to admit I have grown tired over the last two years and find myself thinking of a way to exit this exhausting process I have battled. I dream of gaining citizenship to a lonely island where I can start over with an appreciation of knowing I have done my best and leave the fight for others. I fantasize about doing simple things, where my one task is to ask one question, “Do you want cream or sugar?”

In this time of consideration, I have been thinking about the battles I have won and lost. I made small but meaningful changes in big systems that provided some comfort to those who lived within the walls. My work was to make those days inside a bit more humane, less demoralizing, and hopefully less scary. I provided a voice to those who were not able to speak for themselves. Sometimes I provided the nudge for those that could find their voice and courage to stand up to those in power to demand something different.

On many occasions, I would drive to my place of work for that particular day and park. I would sit in the parking lot, stare though my car windshield at the buildings I would eventually enter. Instead of rushing through those doors, I would drink coffee in my car for a little bit longer. I would drink coffee not only because it was a normal morning ritual, but because I read that caffeine was supposed to make people more agreeable. It was supposed to make me more agreeable. I can’t say that I was the most pleasant person, but I’m sure the caffeine helped.

Once inside, I would do a bunch of listening between my scheduled appointments. On one particular day, a man told me he had no underwear when he arrived. He explained that when he was arrested he was not wearing any and he had no family to bring him the needed items. He said he alerted staff he had no underwear and was led to a spot that contained a plethora of used and otherwise discarded unmentionables. I asked only one clarifying question, “How did you know the underwear was used?” It was a silly question, but he politely answered and stated that some of the underwear available for selection were stained.

Disgusted by this news, I scheduled a meeting with the person responsible for managing this particular section of the facility. When questioned she responded that the selection of used underwear was washed. Her tone suggested that since the underwear was washed, it should be absolutely acceptable. I asked her if she would wear washed, used, stained underwear. I’m surprised I don’t remember her answer. Eventually, after moderate nudging from me, the institution agreed to provide all incoming humans who arrived without their own underwear, 5 brand spanking new pairs. I shared this story with a fellow advocate and I was quickly reminded that there are 7 days in a week, not five.

In my world of almost and good enough, I still considered this a win. In my mind, I imagine that these packs of underwear were 5 plain pairs of “tighty whities” with no days of the weeks printed on them. No organization needed to ensure that the pair was worn on any particular day or the stress of wearing them out of order. My hope was that a mid-week trip to the washing machine would not force any person to make a decision to go without due to not having access to a clean pair, even on Sundays.

Next time you all reach into your underwear drawer, please consider the following: 1. Designate that person in your life that knows where you store your underwear and who can get your unmentionables to you in your time of need. If you have this type of person in your life, you might be ahead of the game. 2. Not everybody has an drawer devoted to just underwear nor is it stuffed full of countless choices for your behind to inhabit. 3. Regardless of what type of underwear you own, if you have Sunday spelled out or a picture of your Lord printed on them. It is A-OK to wear these underwear to your weekly worship. Satan’s criteria for a spot in Hell does not appear to have a category for underwear. I am certain there are a abundance of activities that will get you a reservices spot for the afterlife.

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