Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dear Lobster Boxers

First off, this letter isn't about small pairs of boxers made for lobsters to wear.  Clothing for lobsters is inappropriate and unnecessary.  Much like Al Roker, they have no shame, therefore, they need no clothes.

This is a letter about love, loss, and about not taking opportunities when they are presented to you.  

Late last summer, as the days began to grow shorter, Labor Day came and went in a blur of barbeque sauce and leftover fireworks, and the stifling humidity of Maryland continued unabated, I found myself at the local department store.  Their air conditioning is better than mine, and their taco-to-Greg ratio tends to be much higher than at my house, so it's not a bad place to be.  That day, my shopping list included new boxers.  Normally, I would grab a multipack and get out of there, but for some reason, that day, I stopped by the single pair "designer" boxers.  These are the ones that are supposedly better brands and materials than Hanes and Fruit of the Loom, with snazzier designs.  There were fireworks designs, and American flag designs left over from 4th of July, as well as a strangely terrifying pair that was covered in brightly colored pairs of boat shoes.   Nestled in between these garish undergarments was where I saw you.

You stood out from the others, with your understated design.  You were simple, which might be why I didn't completely appreciate you at the time.  All you were was a pair of blue boxers patterned with little red lobsters.  My frugality led me away from you, since you cost as much as two of the pairs I would normally buy.  Had I understood how special you were then, I would have bought three pairs of you, damning the cost.  I thought of you frequently the next couple of weeks.  You were an aching, a missing part of me.  You became the "Call Me Al" of boxer shorts.  On the surface, you were shiny, happy, and made me smile.  Also like that song, upon closer inspection you were kind of depressing.  Unlike the song, which is depressing because it is Paul Simon coming to grips with middle age, you depressed me because I was pining over a cheap pair of boxers.

I went to the store on my next day off, deadset on making you mine.  I went straight to the men's department, directly to the rack where I found you, and of course, all I found was an empty slot.  Since then, I've kept a silent and unwavering vigil for you.  I figured when summer came back, so would you, and I bode my time until we could finally be together.  Today, I decided would be the day.  I felt for sure that you would be there, waiting for me.  Instead, this is what I find:

It is mid May, and not only are you nowhere to be found, the store is still selling three, THREE different pairs of St. Patrick's Day themed boxers.  For some reason, only the pair to the left is considered so out of date to be on clearance.  The other two pairs are still at full rate.  I was so disappointed I almost didn't take this picture, and only put up the defense of "This is your fault.  I want lobsters, not clovers" to the store clerk that gave me an odd look for photographing men's underwear.

That clerk doesn't understand that she is looking at a broken man.  She is looking at a man from a timeline where he was too cheap to buy the pair of underwear that would make him happy.  He put a pricetag on boxer shorts that would have inevitably been his "lucky" pair, his "go to" pair.  They would be the pair he would be wearing when he struck it rich at a casino, or met the woman he would finally be happy with. What she is looking at is a man that roams the menswear aisle, hoping that one day he will go to that store, and you, you blessedly glorious construct of cotton and hope, will be in stock.

When that day comes, I will buy every pair of you that they have in my size, and we will be together every day of the week.  Until then, I will have an unhealthy insistence that if I only had a pair of lobster boxer shorts, my life would be tangibly better in so many ways. 

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