I have had underpants on my mind A LOT lately (not literally).
Why? Because there have been so many knickers-related incidents in the news.
A few days ago, a male thief was caught by young woman using the "wedgie" technique. The villain was running away from the scene of a crime when technician Yvonne Morris reached into the back of his trousers, grabbed the upper part of his underwear and pulled as hard as she could.
Ow! He fell to the ground, incapacitated, and she held him until police arrived.
I heard about this story, which happened in Salt Lake City in the US, from reader Wendy Tong. She commented: "Why do we spend years teaching schoolgirls useless things like maths and English, when we could teach them practical, useful stuff like how to give a man a wedgie?"
Good point, Wendy. I hope various ministers of education read this and make changes accordingly.
Underpants are wonderful things. Did you read about the family home in the UK which was saved from burning down thanks to a large pair of knickers?
A pan of oil caught fire because the men of the house were unwisely trying to cook. They threw water at it, which just made it burn more fiercely. One young man was inspired to leap to the washing pile and grab his aunt's extra-large Marks and Spencer knickers. He threw them on the fire, which immediately went out.
Pants are useful in Asia too. I remember an incident in West Bengal, India, in which a young man called Nimai Das noticed that part of the railway track had been stolen on the route between Rampurhat and Burdwan. Seeing a train approaching, he whipped off his bright red underpants and waved them in the air. The driver's eye was caught by the crimson flash ahead of him. He managed to stop the train just ahead of the missing tracks.
In Japan, a company invented undershirts and knickers that automatically dispense Vitamin C to wearers. Items from Fuji Spinning Co Ltd are made of fibers impregnated with as much Vitamin C as contained in two lemons. The vitamin-dispensing power fades only after 30 washings. I guess this gives weirdos who steal underwear a new excuse they can use: "I only stole her knickers for medicinal reasons."
But not everyone is enthusiastic about modern undies. Jungle tribespeople from Papua New Guinea have taken to wearing bras and pants under their skimpy garments of leaves. Dignitaries have been irritated by participants turning up for traditionally bare-breasted dances wearing the latest lacy production from Triumph or Playtex or Wacoal. Some also have stomach-flattening panties under their straw skirts.
“Take off the bras and underwears because they are not recognized in Papua New Guuinea traditional culture,” cultural festival organizer Mewie Launa ordered participants. He feels covering up is wrong. “Our parents never did that,” he grumbled to reporters.
He doesn’t seem to appreciate undies. Someone ought to introduce him to Helen Kelly, 24, a UK accountant who accidentally got caught in a gang shootout in London. A bullet headed straight for her heart, but was deflected by the steel underwiring in her bra. Her underwear saved her life.
And if she had been properly educated, she could have given the gunman a wedgie.