Say Goodbye to Your Underpants

Photo courtesy of iStock

Photo courtesy of iStock

As sometimes happens when you play fast and loose with laundry, I recently found myself in the ineluctable position of needing to take my dog for a walk but having no clean underwear. I debated either fishing them from the dryer and making do with soggy drawers or trying to rectify the situation by blowing one pair dry with a hair dryer — which is how you achieve lush, voluminous underwear. In the end, I vetoed both those ideas as far too uncomfortable and time-consuming. Instead, I did what I think any hero in my position would do: pulled on jeans and headed for the door.

What I discovered, which is the same discovery I made the last time this happened, is that I felt free, unencumbered and as if could have walked endlessly for miles without tiring. Is underwear fatigue a thing? Is that what I’ve experienced every other underwear-wearing day of my life? Because what I thought felt normal no longer feels normal, and I long to be free of these society-mandated undershackles. I have experienced freedom and bliss in the nether regions and don’t want to go back.

I know what you’re thinking — you’re thinking that perhaps my underwear doesn’t fit right and that’s why I am so much more comfortable without it. I can’t say whether you’re right or wrong (you’re wrong) but does anything fit quite so well as nothing? Extensive scientific research — and by that I mean my own experience of going without underwear one and a half times – has led me to think perhaps the human body was not meant to wear a smaller pair of pants under our pants.

Would you wear a glove under a glove? A hat under a hat? A sock under a sock? Whither our undergloves, underhats and undersocks? Now an argument could be made that a sock is actually an undershoe, but look at the sandal. Or the pump. Or any of Don Johnson‘s shoes in the ’80s. There are plenty of sockless shoes and far too few underpantsless pants.

As I say this, I can feel your judgment. Ladies are meant to wear underwear, you are thinking. And what’s more, you would probably say, I’m lucky to live in a time when underwear is slight and negligible as opposed to the days of yore when underwear was the size of a tablecloth and required those same people who brush your teeth with a stick to help you into and out of it.

I’m not sure about the brushing your teeth with a stick thing but I saw it in a wonderful documentary called “Shakespeare in Love,” so I’m pretty sure it’s true.

But back in the days of hoop skirts, crinoline, bloomers and stick-based dental hygiene, ladies didn’t really do anything other than fan themselves and occasionally fall onto fainting couches. Also they sat for portraits and giggled. Again, I’m no historian but I’ve seen the paintings. Ridiculously uncomfortable undergarments are fine when your entire to do list involves reclining. Today’s modern woman has a busy schedule of walking the dog, doing laundry, checking Twitter, fishing dog toys out from under the couch, arguing with her fiance about potential baby names (I’m not pregnant yet, but I am getting a head start on this one as apparently it’s going to take a lot of ironing out), ironing, driving, working, heating things up in the microwave and having the same conversation repeatedly about the opening credits of “Homeland“:

Him: Does Louis Armstrong have something to do with terrorism? What’s he doing in here?

Me: I think it’s that Carrie likes jazz.

Which is to say there’s a lot of movement and bending over and leaning and reaching. And movement is when underwear likes to strike. “Now! Go now! Climb up her butt; there’s no time to waste!” the underwear ringleader says.

This is why I encourage you to try going without underwear for just an hour and see if it isn’t both life-changing and life-affirming.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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Alison Rosen: Obsessed With Candy Crush

candy-crushI should probably delete “Candy Crush” from my phone. I’m not going to, but I probably should. Here’s why:

The other day while having a conversation with my sister, I found myself wishing I could reach across the space between us, place my index finger on her left eye, my thumb on her right eye and squish them together until they exploded and disappeared. Sadly this isn’t even a move in “Candy Crush,” though it’s similar to one, but for it to really work her eyes would have to be made of candy and she would need to have at least three. I also long to group trees, cars and buildings into groups of three — or, be still my heart, groups of four — and slam them together to make them disappear.

It’s not that I’m destructive, mind you. It’s that I’m obsessed.

For the uninitiated, “Candy Crush” — or “Candy Crush Saga,” its full name — is a super popular game that refers to itself as “an addictive and delicious puzzle adventure.” It’s made by King.com, a British company that’s currently the top supplier of games to Facebook and Apple (they passed Zynga, maker of “Words with Friends” and other popular games, in June) and worth somewhere between 5 billion and 7 billion dollars.

I’m not really a big video game or puzzle person. In fact, I can think of nothing more deadly boring than a big jigsaw puzzle spread out in a zillion pieces on an empty table. To me, jigsaw puzzles have always been something you do to pass the time when you have absolutely zero better options. I can imagine someone saying: “You guys go ahead to prom. I’ll just stay here and work on this thousand-piece puzzle of a kitten.

“No, you guys go ahead to the amusement park. I’m under house arrest and the electricity has gone out, so I’m going to drink cold Postum and work on this 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a dandelion.

“Hot air ballooning? I couldn’t possibly go hot air ballooning with you. I am paralyzed from the waist down and have contracted scabies, so I’m just going to stay home, break in these new pajamas, scratch myself and put the finishing touches on this 3000-piece puzzle of, get this, a hot air balloon!”

In terms of time wasters, I’m more of an ’80s sitcom and mess-around-on-Twitter person. Sometimes I’ll spend an hour or two looking for something I’ve misplaced — but somewhere in between hearing my fiance talk to my mom about how much money the makers of “Candy Crush” had raked in and how he refuses to download the app because he’s convinced it’s somehow so persuasive it convinces otherwise sensible people to part with tons of money to keep playing, I decided I would take that challenge. It’s sort of the online equivalent of being compelled to take a drug after watching an after school special.

Thus far I haven’t fallen into financial ruin or sold an organ on the black market to keep playing. The only negative consequence of allowing “Candy Crush” into my life — I mean, other than wanting to squish my sister’s eyes — is that it’s functioning like a gateway drug, and I need something stronger. Candy is dandy but strip clubs and murder might be more my speed. Do I dare dip a toe into the world of “Grand Theft Auto V“? My coworkers have discussed looking at their calendars and making sure they didn’t have anything they really needed to get done before purchasing the game. Unfortunately, once again, I see this as a challenge. Other than a ton of work and planning a wedding, I think I’m wide open!

So, talk to you in a few months?

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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Alison Rosen: When Hair Dryers Attack

Photo courtesy of colemama / Flickr.

Photo courtesy of colemama / Flickr.

The other day my hair dryer attacked me, which is the closest thing to a loved one’s betrayal I’ve ever experienced.

Here’s what happened: Like all reasonable women, I have two hair dryers. There’s the expensive heavy one that must somehow work better because I paid so much for it, and the cheapo portable one I bought at the drugstore that is my emergency backup and travel dryer. To spice things up and infuse some whimsy into my otherwise predictable life, I decided to dry my hair at home with the cheapo one. Just to keep my hair guessing. So I did this and was kind of blown away (no pun) by how well it worked. Don’t tell Vidal, but I daresay I preferred it to the other one. And then something happened that I typically leave out of the telling of this story. However, I will tell you, because I think you deserve the whole truth.

As regular readers know, I have an adorable dog. What you don’t know is he loves the hair dryer. When I use it, he sits at my feet, basking in the stream of air. I think he likes the warmth. It’s possible he just hates the natural look. So after blowing dry my hair and observing the aforementioned improved volume and shine, I pointed the dryer at my dog and we cavorted in our usual way — him facing the stream and doing this thing where he tips his head up, squints and it looks like he’s either farting or smiling while I repeatedly ask him who’s a good boy. (Hint: He is!)

Then I worried, as I always do, that maybe the air is too warm — even though he seems to like it — so I thought I’d find the “cool shot” button. I’m pretty sure in the history of hair drying this would be the first time someone has deliberately sought out this button. For those unfamiliar, the “cool shot” button is a button on the hair dryer which, in the fantasy world of hair dryer literature — the kind you find on the box the dryer came in and women’s magazines — helps you “lock in style” with a blast of cool air. In the real world of my bathroom, this button doesn’t lock in anything other than an extra ten minutes of my time. If you ever find yourself thinking, “Why is the hair dryer making a lot of noise but no heat is coming out and my hair isn’t getting dry?” congrats: You’ve found the cool shot button. The annoying thing about the button, other than the fact it doesn’t work, is it’s always right where your hand naturally rests while holding the dryer. So it’s easy to accidentally press. At least that’s the case with my expensive dryer. I was having trouble finding it on the cheapo one so I flipped the dryer around to get a good look. I was leaning forward, over the dryer, and the dryer was in my right hand. Suddenly, I felt a tugging on the right side of my head as the dryer sucked in my hair. My hair wrapped around the spinning fan inside the contraption and the dryer began pulling in more and more hair.

I tried to turn the dryer off, but because I don’t use it frequently, I quickly pushed the button as far as it would go from low to off to high. The dryer roared and pulled my hair faster. Panicked, I pushed the slider back in the other direction. High to off to low. This wasn’t going as planned. The third attempt worked, and I managed to turn it off. And then, with one hand holding the dryer because to let go would mean the weight of the dryer would yank my hair out, I went to the mirror to appraise the damage.

It was as I expected: My hand was attached to the dryer, which was attached to my hair, which was attached to my head. I reached across my face and grabbed the dryer with my left hand and tried to loosen the hair with my right, because I’m right handed. I couldn’t see over my arms. I was like a one-person game of human v. hair dryer Twister. The hair wasn’t budging. I grabbed the nearest scissors — manicure scissors — and debated cutting myself free. I was hot and sweaty and panicked and the dryer — ironically light and flimsy — was beginning to feel like an anchor. I tried to slip the manicure scissors off my fingers, deciding I wasn’t ready to resort to such a drastic measure when I realized they were stuck. I felt like a giant trapped in a six-pound bowling ball. And now I couldn’t even call anyone because one hand was holding the dryer and the other looked like the last prop made by a hard-of-hearing prop master on “Edward Scissorhands” shortly before being fired.

I finally pried the scissors off by using the edge of the counter. I then did something handy, finding a screwdriver and, using my left hand, unscrewed all four screws holding the dryer together. It took quite a bit longer than you might expect since righty-tighty lefty-loosey loses all meaning in a mirror. And then I tried to pull the hair dryer open to save my precious tresses, but it wouldn’t budge. I’d spent what felt like an hour unscrewing the damn thing, but its molded plastic body wasn’t opening. And that’s when I gave up, imprisoned my fingers in the scissors once more and cut myself free.

I’m not sure whom to blame for my fiasco but I’m open to suggestions.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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Alison Rosen: Employment History, Vol. 1

In honor of recently celebrating Labor Day, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the highlights of my rich working history. But then I realized, I’d rather look at the lows, as there are more of them and frankly, I think I’m still pissed.

In high school, my friend Jen referred a babysitting job to me. One young kid, convenient location, good hours. I was surprised she didn’t want it for herself and soon found out why. Shortly after meeting the adorable toddler and his mother, who needed someone to watch him while she had permanent makeup tattooed on her face in what I assume was a response to an acrimonious divorce, I discovered the kid had two pastimes about which he was equally passionate: “Barney & Friends” and biting people. To be honest, this wasn’t first time I’d be been bitten by a child. When I was about four or five and “Jaws” was all the rage, my family took a trip to Lake Tahoe. As so often happens when you’re a kid, I began playing with the other children at the swimming pool. (Have you noticed that dogs gravitate to each other, and children gravitate to one another but adults do not? It’s curious.) Soon one of the other kids put her hands above her head to approximate a fin, hummed the “Jaws” theme and chomped down on my shoulder. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I had relevant experience for this particular job. Worse than the biting though was the “Barney” It’s been over twenty years but just typing the words has put the song back in my head.

Soon after, I began working as a greeter at defunct music store, Sam Goody. This theoretically involved saying, “Hi! Welcome to Sam Goody” and “Bye! Thank you for shopping at Sam Goody,” to people as they entered and left, but in reality meant shouting, “Hi! Welcome t—” and “Bye! Thank you for sh—” at people’s backs. It also involved an aggressive pat down every time you left the store, and a manager who repeatedly admonished, “Alison, help the customers,” even though they’d already declined my (not very much) help. “Ask them again,” she’d hiss. Frankly, between being accosted by a manic greeter and being asked repeatedly if you needed help finding anything, shopping at Sam Goody was probably an unpleasant experience. I’d like to think I had a hand in that.

Fast forward a great many years, through working at a coffee cart that required you to wear white — the hardest color to keep clean and the most difficult substance to keep off your clothing (or maybe I’m just messy), interviewing men dressed up as giant vegetables, working for an editor who demanded to know how many pounds of tomatoes are used a year by all the chefs in New York City (when I tried to explain why it’s impossible to ascertain this number at 5 p.m. on a Friday I was seen as “difficult,” an injustice which to this day makes me want to throw a shoe) and being forced to dance on live TV, to my brief experience with temping.

I started on Monday and quit on Friday and called in sick on Wednesday. I never quite understood what it was the company did, partly because I was warned not to ask too many questions by a woman who wrote her name all over her chair in white out. I think it had something to do with list maintenance for a company that sent spam.

I remember sitting down at the desk of the woman who was to train me, noticing her computer was festooned with pictures of a calico cat and holding off on asking the cat’s name because I wanted to ration out possible conversation topics. (I later found out it was named Venti because she “loved Starbucks.”)

She handed me a few sheets of paper stapled together titled Rules for doing something or other. “This is basically what we do here,” she said, running her hand over the outline. I seriously considered the possibility that what we do here was make outlines.

And then some tall guy with floppy hair entered the building, and all the women swooned. His name was Blaine, he did tai chi in the park, and he’d designed the barely functioning software we used to maintain the lists. In my brief tenure, I would be told no less than 17 times that Blaine designed the software, each time with a faraway look that began to frighten me.

But the real problem was there were two of us assigned to do the job of half a monkey, and the boredom was soul crushing. Up to this point I’d wondered where the jobs were that paid you to sit around doing nothing. I found one, and I hated it.

Upon reflection, I fear I come off as an asshole with a poor work ethic, which I assure you is a mischaracterization. Never mind that I characterized myself.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to perform a “Barney”-ectomy on myself before I walk into traffic.

Hear more from Alison Rosen on her podcast, “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend” or on the immensely popular “Adam Carolla Show” podcast. Follow her on Twitter @alisonrosen or visit her website at www.alisonrosen.com. To find out more about Alison Rosen and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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Clutter, Memory, and the Junk in My Car

Photo courtesy of Vlad and Marina Butsky /Flickr

Yesterday I sold the car I’ve had — and hated — for the last 15 years. Instead of feeling relieved and happy, like I would have expected, I just feel numb, weird and a little empty. It’s not that I miss that hunk of metal with its fading paint, steering wheel the size of a small Hula-Hoop and top-of-the-line single CD player. On the contrary, I’m happy to be free of those things. It’s just that after 15 years, I formed a relationship with the car — an unhealthy and annoying one; the kind your friends tell you to get out of — and apparently it got under my skin.

I wish I were one of those people who embraced change. If I were, I would be sipping tea in Jakarta and running my fingers through my freshly cropped hair while waiting for Ernesto — the man who’s helping me get my pilot’s license and with whom I’m having a torrid affair — to arrive and whisk me away for an afternoon of flight lessons and romance. “Don’t get attached, Ernesto,” I’d murmur at 20,000 feet. At that height he probably wouldn’t hear me though, so I’d have to yell it.

“DON’T GET ATTACHED, ERNESTO!”

“Don’t touch the latch?” he’d ask. If we didn’t meet an untimely demise in a fiery crash from trying to warn him I’m no good, then I’d likely break his heart when I later picked up and moved to another exotic locale and changed my hair again, as is my way.

I wish I were like that — capricious and whimsical. Instead I’m a flightless creature of habit with the same hairstyle since high school and a penchant for clutter.

You know those people who can’t make attachments? Those people who can love and leave, pick up and go, cut and run? Rambling men, mostly? I’m the opposite. It’s as if my heart is made of suction cups and my hands are lint rollers and the rest of my body is made of something else very sticky. Velcro? Balloons? Dog noses? And so anything I come in contact with, I become a little attached to. It’s for this reason I have trouble throwing things away. I’m an emotional hoarder. And possibly a regular hoarder.

Part of the emotional wallop of saying goodbye to the car I’d longed to be rid of was cleaning it out before the buyer came. It was very similar to that feeling you always have when moving — looking around at a place that is so imbued with you and thinking, “In just 24 hours, this will no longer look like this and it will no longer be mine.” And your mind reels at how this can be, not to mention the fact that you should have started packing weeks ago. And then the moving in and getting comfortable process is experienced in reverse as you begin taking things off the walls and putting all your belongings in boxes. By the time the moving men come the next day, the apartment no longer looks like the place you knew — the place where you experienced all the memories that came flooding back to you as you were packing. It looks the same as when you moved in, cold and impersonal, as if you’d never been there. It’s all kind of jarring.

I bought the car in 1998, shortly after a friend died. I was deeply in mourning and that sadness always clung to the car. As I was cleaning it out recently, I found all sorts of stuff from that time of my life: a birth announcement for my friend’s daughter who’s now a teenager, a laminate for the 5th anniversary party of the magazine where I worked, stickers and flyers for the band I played in. At the time, I didn’t know what to do with myself, or my stuff, so I stashed it in my car tried not to feel anything.

As the family was driving away in my old car, I stood at the window watching, thinking it would be the last time I saw the car so I ought to commit it to memory. After about ten minutes, the car came back to return the sunglasses I’d left. They were sunglasses I didn’t want — sunglasses I bought in the depths of mourning when I was having trouble not bursting into tears.

I think there’s a lesson in here about clutter and memory and the passage of time — and maybe about what happens when you don’t finish processing everything.

The truth is, I’m still trying to figure it out.

Hear more from Alison Rosen on her podcast, “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend” or on the immensely popular “Adam Carolla Show” podcast. Follow her on Twitter @alisonrosen or visit her website at www.alisonrosen.com. To find out more about Alison Rosen and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

More Posts - Website