Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew

Airing My Dirty Laundry!

The Y-Guy Scourge

A few years ago, scientists completed the Human Genome Project, which purportedly mapped out all of the genes that make us human. This monumental achievement would have been finished earlier, but as most of the scientists working on it were men and thus incapable of stopping at a chromosomal convenience store and asking for directions, they spent a couple of extra years lost on the DNA highway.

But they did eventually arrive at their destination, and now they’re working around the clock to analyze all this collected molecular material – the basic building blocks of life -- for the greater good of mankind.

I’d like to suggest that scientists be on the lookout for a particular genetic mutation that I’m convinced lies buried in the cellular stuff of the human male. This mutation should be called the underwear overuse gene, which is usually paired with its closely related cousin, the sock exhaust gene. This is the only possible explanation for the penchant of those possessing the Y chromosome (AKA men) to hold on to underwear and socks until they are visible only under a microscope. Most men apparently believe the socks and underwear currently covering their bodies will never wear out. They’ll hang on to a pair of drawers until there’s nothing left but an elastic waistband and one leg hole, and they’ll sport a pair of socks until all that remains is the ring that fits around the ankles.

Paul Wolfowitz -- former president of The World Bank and presumably someone who could afford to regularly replace any worn-out items in his wardrobe – was once photographed after he’d removed his shoes to enter a mosque. Newspapers around the world subsequently splashed across their pages photos of the banking whiz with two big toes sticking through holes in his socks. The man couldn’t help it. He’s obviously a bearer of the sock exhaust gene, and most likely, the underwear overuse one as well (thankfully, we have no pictures on that).

I have evidence of this DNA disability in my own family. My father is notorious for his thriftiness when it comes to underwear retention. Several years ago, as a joke, I started putting new briefs in my dad’s Christmas stocking every year. It made me feel better to believe that, at least on an annual basis, he’d be dressed in hole-free knickers. Recently, though, I had to go into my father’s closet to get something, and there I found a box filled with every package I’ve given him – unopened and unused.

He swears he will eventually get around to wearing them, but I have my doubts.

Apparently, even though females are not infected with these genetic disorders, they can be carriers. I seem to have passed them on to my own teenage son. The other day, I decided to clean out his dresser so that its drawers could actually be closed, something that hasn’t happened since 1999. Normally, I don’t enter my son’s room without the benefit of a hazmat suit, but I was tired of passing by and seeing the dresser drawers hanging precariously out over the floor, somehow never falling completely out of their slots. The long-suffering dresser deserved better.

I started with the sock drawer. I found socks there that were now only socks in the theoretical sense that they had once covered feet. I threw them all away. Then I moved on to the drawer containing the drawers. They were clearly my son’s way of paying loving tribute to his grandfather – every bit as holey and horrifying (to me, anyway) as the ones my dad is rumored to wear. Out they went. Then I went to the store and bought my son several packages of both of these basic building blocks of any man’s attire. I insisted on watching as he, with much grumbling, opened the crisp new undergarments and placed them in his newly organized dresser. They will probably be the same socks and underwear he takes to college in several years.

Perhaps those great scientific minds working on the human genome will find a way to fix this strange scourge before it gets completely out of hand. In the meantime, all you Y-guys should definitely keep your shoes on.

~  © Jackie Papandrew 2007 ~

Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at:  JackiePapandrew.com

[ by Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2007, (me@jackiepapandrew.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]


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