Jockey Stock: A Magical Underwear Miracle

Having written about the history of Munsingwear in this column a few weeks ago, and delving into a Jockey story today, it may be apparent that I am no stranger to the importance of underwear in life with IBD. It’s so important, in fact, that it also appears in the first ten pages of Colitiscope, my book about living with Crohn’s and colitis. The chapter is called I Left My Underpants in Ancient France.

In that story I chronicle a stressful, yet humorous, misadventure in the medieval city of Carcassonne. It involves eating, and digesting, and what inevitably (read urgently) comes next. There I mourn the loss of a pair of my beloved magic underwear. Beloved for sure, but is it really magic? Well, who can say, but it is the best underwear I’ve ever worn. At the time it was no longer available in stores, so my inventory was a tragically finite supply. I had fallen in love with it years earlier and went through a significant period of mourning when the manufacturer discontinued making it. In fact, a cousin recently reminded me that the weekend of her brother’s wedding I spent my free time hitting all the JC Penny stores in an attempt to stock up on every remaining pair in the city. That’s how much I loved my underwear.

I was able to accumulate enough pairs to last a very long time. The more you have to cycle through, the longer they last. So here I am fifteen years later, still tending to that flock (yes, I did have that many pairs), wondering what will come of the day when I need to replace them. I usually push that thought out of my head in denial. But sometimes miracles do happen.

On a recent shopping trip I went into the Jockey outlet to find some new t-shirts, and something amazing happened. I walked into the store and I could hardly believe my eyes. It was like the roof parted and a beam of light shone down from above onto the coveted treasure I’d thought was lost forever. There was my long lost magic underwear, an entire rack full, in several colors, emanating a brilliant glow. I was elated… I giggled gleefully… and I might have even cried a little bit. Then, just when I thought life couldn’t get any better, a choir of angels started singing… the heavenly spotlight shifted to a sign on the rack… it was on sale!

After all these years, there it was. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. You see, my wife didn’t necessarily agree that my original stock had ‘lasted.’ I have come to understand, as an innate fact of being, that a woman will stop at nothing to talk her husband into throwing away his underwear and other alleged worn-out clothing (i.e. favorite things that never die or go out of style). My wife tried and tried, but there are certain things I won’t let go of. Although I must admit, many of the pairs were getting a little ragged.

So I bought every pair they had in my size. I even bought the color I hated, just in case I became desperate enough some day. My happy factor has been turned up a notch these last few weeks since then.

This weekend I had to travel near that store again so I stopped in to see if they had re-stocked. They had indeed, and I cleared them out again. But this time I only bought the good colors. In an effort to explain my peculiar excitement, I started telling this story to the sales associate. I explained the history and that I’d written about it in my book. She asked about the book’s topic, and when I told her it was about digestive illness, she got pretty excited herself. “I have Crohn’s disease,” she said. Then the other woman working in the store chimed in that she had colitis. The angels started singing again.

We talked for a while and I gave them a copy of the book. They were very friendly and intrigued. We all agreed it was a remarkable convergence of, well, something. Call it kismet or fate or the Holy Spirit or whatever you like. All I can say is what else would you expect? We’re dealing with magic underwear here.

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Tags: Narratives

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About the Author

Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.