Monday, April 4

Underpants Update and safety

I was discussing the underpants issue with the lads in the office and Sonia’s resulting behaviour (see the entry for March 14th).

This seemed to amuse and astonish them. I think it’s a generation gap thing. Let me explain.

Years ago, when I was a lad (after the War with Hovis and real butter etc. etc. Cue Dvorac’s New World Symphony) my Mother always admonished me to wear clean underwear “in case you get run over by a bus”. Now this made a deep and lasting impression on me and has influenced my behaviour throughout the rest of my life. The horror of being found wearing knackered underwear is deeply engrained.

If you see men of a certain age standing by the side of the road looking anxiously left and right with their hands in their pockets, take it from me they are not incontinent, sexual perverts playing “pocket billiards” with their goolies in public or checking their loose change. No. They are checking the state of their underwear and wondering if it is safe to cross the road in the presence of busses.

There is a constant nagging uncertainty about the subject which influences my behaviour. I drive the car just that little bit more cautiously if I’m wearing disreputable underwear (just in case I’m involved in an accident), I ride the motorbike cautiously too for the same reason and as for crossing the road, I practically need written confirmation that a bus isn’t due to drive past for at least 5 minutes. So the state of my underwear has a direct and measurable impact on the likelihood of my being involved in a Road Traffic Accident (RTA). So it really is a safety issue. Perhaps Saint Tone of Sedgefield (may he get what he deserves, Praise the Lord) should take this up as a public safety measure. Restrict the sale of underwear and it will have a direct impact on accidents outside the home. If enacted, I can foresee that the Sale of Underwear (Public Safety Measures) 2005 being as significant a factor in his fourth re-election as foxhunting will be in this election. Addressing the REAL concerns of the public will endear him to the league of the great unwashed. Never mind crime, taxation, public services and other inconsequential matters, shabby underwear will make the roads of Britain safer. If it saves a single life, or more importantly, prevents anyone being humiliated and embarrassed, it will all be worth it.

If I REALLY wanted to go totally berserk on the bike, I’d tape over the number plate, strip off stark naked and ceremoniously open a brand new packet of underpants and put on pristine unworn cotton. I suppose if I was in a lyrical mood, I’d sing a version of Jerusalem which included the words “Gird me my loins with underpants new” and so forth. Then get dressed in the rest of the gear and go out, secure in the knowledge that if I DO end up in hospital, I’ll not shock the nurses when they cut the remains of my clothes off my shattered body and see my underkeks. Or perhaps not. I’ll stick to well worn shreddies when riding so that I’ll ride safely.

The bus thing still bothers me though. You can imagine my dismay a few years back when I saw plastered across the front page of The Sunday Sport (and if it appears in The Sunday Sport, you can guarantee it’s Gospel true – they spend literally hours thoroughly researching the stories) that a red London Bus had been found at the south pole. It showed a snow covered bus surrounded by penguins so it was definitely true. I sadly crossed Antarctica off my list of bus free holiday destinations where I could wander around without worrying about the state of my underpants. I’d ban busses and relieve the strain on my nerves. Perhaps that would be a vote winner among those of a certain age. I know it would get my support.

The World is becoming a more dangerous and threatening place, sure enough.


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