Hold on a second . . . it’s underwear?
Well, it’s a bit of a complex scientific conundrum, so stay with me here. About thirty years ago, I held tightly to a theory involving your basic run-of-the-mill set of kids’ underwear. The theory was this: if that underwear had been dyed and printed to appear to be a superhero getup, it would no longer retain the original molecular properties that had previously qualified it as underwear.
I have an entire research paper I could drag out for you now, but it’s a yawner and a half, let me tell you. All that physical change versus chemical change stuff from Chemistry 101 that I’ve never had a good handle on anyway since burnt sugar is just burnt sugar to me.
What, do you think I was some kind of dummy or something? I’ll tell you what, if you were lucky enough to own a pair of Underoos, I bet you were right there with me in that line of thinking. You just don’t want to admit it. No, you just don’t want to admit that you wore your undershirt to the Romper Room taping because you thought you looked like Luke Skywalker.
This all sort of dawned on me last week when I saw a woman remark on her Facebook page next to a photo of a smiling, costume-clad boy, “How many costumes does one kid need?” To which I immediately thought, be glad these are actually costumes we’re talking about here. Yep, be glad they’re not underwear.
Because I remember a time when all my make-believin’ wasn’t done in a costume at all but a costume of a costume better known as Underoos. Yes, “underwear that’s fun to wear!” Oh, I get it. Because apparently kids had up until that point been so inhibited by their underwear. Too many kids running around commando-style under their corduroy culottes. Thank goodness somebody finally got smart and decided, let’s make underwear fun to wear.
Problem was, no one over there at Underoos Headquarters, nor any parents, must’ve anticipated kids would actually believe the whole gimmick. “No, kids, these are truly just underwear. You see? You wear them under your clothes.” What, not to play in around the house? Not to wear to the grocery store or over to my friend Katie’s house? Not for wearing in the backyard for a reenactment of last Saturday’s Super Friends episode? You mean, this is actually just underwear? You’re kiddin’ me.
To be honest, I don’t remember ever wearing them under clothes at all. No, that would just feel wrong in a drinking-orange-juice-after-brushing-your-teeth sort of way.
The absence of Underoos documentation in the Marcia Archives has set off a few alarms for me. Considering how much time I spent lounging around the house in my Wonder Woman skivvies, where are all these family photos? There’s not a one! It’s as if my Underoos never existed. I thought at the very least I’d find one of me playing Legos in my underwear on the carpet or something. I always played Legos in my underwear. That’s the way Legos were meant to be played.
Nope. Not even an “Uh-oh, I’m not supposed to be in this photo!” photo in the bunch. You know what I’m talking about. Those photos of someone attempting to lean out of a photo while still managing to stay in the photo and thereby drawing more attention to themselves in the photo because of the peculiar way they’re leaning away from the camera with an awkward “not me” turned-down facial expression. Not even one of those photos. You know why? Because my mom knew damn well that all I was really wearing was my underwear. But tell that to 1979-me. Tell that to me and my brother as we bravely battled the forces of evil for the preservation of truth, justice and peace for all mankind in our underwear.
No, you’re right, of course there was nothing wrong with us kids hanging around our houses in our underwear. Better underwear than nothing at all. Except for the fact that we didn’t realize we were in our underwear. Was this all intended to be some kind of Emperor’s New Clothes sort of joke?
“Psssst…hey, kid. That’s underwear you got on there.”
“No, don’t tell him, stupid.”
If so, the joke was on me. And, apparently, I was not alone: