“Contessa, I need your help,” The Big Guy hollered from the den. Oh great, he wants me to turn the channels on the television set. Again. I can’t believe Cat traded her dad’s remote control for an iTunes gift card. She should’ve held out for an iPod touch.
“Actually, I want your opinion.”
Since I hear those words less often than “you look like you’ve lost weight,” I made a beeline straight to the den. That’s where I caught sight of a first: The Big Guy sorting laundry. Well, not really sorting. Maybe sifting. Okay, inspecting.
“Rag or no rag,” The Big Guy asked, flashing a pair of ratty, holey Fruit of The Looms in the air and grinning as if he was holding a suitcase full of money. “Should I toss it in the rag pile or not?”
Those BVDs had more holes than the Texans’ offense during the final three minutes of a game. What the heck, Howie, I’ll play. I’ve been missing my game shows since our remoteless television now carries only ESPN and ESPN II. The Big Guy told me we can pick up ESPN Classic if I stand beside the set and lean the vacuum cleaner against the screen. As if. Good thing those shows are all reruns.
“Rag, of course.”
He held up another, this one as transparent as a spring breaker’s wet T-shirt.
The Big Guy pulled out a third, held together by threads from the same spool Betsy Ross used.
“Rag, rag, rag. They’re all rags. Get rid of them.”
“Don’t judge undershorts by the number of holes in them. There’s still life left in a few,” he explained, snapping an elastic band to prove his point. Sure. Just don’t let Dr. Kevorkian get his hands on a pair.
“They’re structurally sound in all the important parts,” he said, pulling a Sharpie out of his pocket and writing the letter “W” on a pair. Not only was The Big Guy hoarding pairs of underwear older than Cat but apparently, planning to keep enough for every letter in the alphabet. I was beginning to wonder if The Big Guy was sound.
“Weekenders,” he explained. “I wear them when I’m in the garden or puttering around the house.” So that’s why there’s more wear left in them. The Big Guy’s idea of puttering is with a golf club.
“Be sure and shove ‘em in the back of my dresser drawer, I don’t want to grab a pair by mistake when I’m dressing for work,” he said, trying to hand his newly marked stack to Cat to put away. Just imagine the disaster if The Big Guy wore yard shorts to the office. There he’d sit, in his spacious cubicle surrounded by Dwight Schute bobble-headed dolls, when the urge to replant his Bonsai overtakes him. He’s caught digging up the carpet. Before long, word spreads: The Big Guy’s weekenders made him do it.
“Eeeeewww. I’m not touching them,” Cat said, recoiling and slowly inching her way into the game room just like Pinot and Grigio do when I pull out their tennis shoes and suggest a jog. “I don’t do housework, either. Besides, it’ll cut into my Project Runway time. You know what Heidi Klum says, ‘Either you’re in or you’re out.”I’m sooo outta here,” Cat says as she bolts out the door.
After putting away his weekenders, The Big Guy stuck the rest in the rag pile. Maybe you can use them for dusting, he suggested. Yeah, and maybe the Contessa might one day dust. That’ll be a warm day in the wine cellar. She did put them to good use, though. This year’s Halloween mummy on Contessa’s porch is wearing an elastic headband that reads “Hanes.”