RUNNING IN VICTORIA’S SECRET UNDERWEAR AND OTHER ACTS OF POLITICAL DISSIDENCE
Out of underwear in which to run, I grabbed a pair from my wife’s clean laundry VS undies. Not out of kinky did I do so – I picked a pair that looked like my Jockey brand underwear. Having mixed the morning world news with the network’s view of economic gloom in the US was depressing. Then came a preview of a six foot Amazon woman in 7 inch heels strutting on stage wearing Victoria’s Secret as if this was an accurate view of the world! I needed a rebellious displacement behavior. Hence, the VS undies. No way, I thought, as I drove to a desert canyon, is our world in proper balance. Though not the first to have that revelation, I may have been the first man wearing Victoria’s Secret undies when the thought came to mind, or maybe not. Why is our country hitting a truck in the wrong lane when we have full capacity within us to steer clear?
A cold wind is blowing hollow past my ears as I stretch by my car. Straight away, I notice the amazing comfort of the fabric against my buns. The company got that right but I wondered if the workers who actually made the garment received proper and just compensation. Who am I kidding and why am I upset? Why don’t they make a mens’ version of this underwear and why are the current U.S. political and economic policies so whacked? More questions. What is this material and where do they make Victoria’s Secret? I rotated my waist, reached back and pulled out the label. Ninety three percent nylon and seven percent spandex. Made in Malaysia. Okay, at least not China.
My hands and ears are numb as I start running on the dirt road. Thin layers of ice cover the pothole puddles. The road starts flat but soon crosses a seasonal creek and becomes a steady uphill grade. My metabolic heat gain will kick in and take the edge off the wind chill. As oxygen flows to my head, the thinking begins.
Why are we involved in foreign wars? For oil? To spread democracy? Help people in unjust societies? Or to feed the military industrial complex which Eisenhower warned us against 50 years ago? I had a discussion recently with a political science major from an Ivy League School who had strong opinions in favor of U.S. involvement but had never heard of the 1961 speech, given by Dwight D. prior to Kennedy taking office. He seemed like a chemistry major not knowing the formula for hydrogen peroxide and its significance.
My breathing intensifies as I ascend. The fabric of my underwear is perfect for running while the fabric of American Society is unraveling. How can we have perfect underwear from Malaysia and a crumbling American infrastructure? What are we going to do?
For now, I take a left turn into a dry arroyo, a sandy bottom with boulders, outcroppings, and lined with cacti, yucca, pinyon pine and juniper trees. It makes for a perfect trail upon which to run and keeps the senses sharp. The VS underwear continues to perform as I dodge the occasional beer bottle launched from the rednecks who drive the road that parallels the arroyo above. Wonder what they would think if they knew what I was wearing underneath my running pants? Hell, who cares. I am safe as long as I am over 100 feet from where they can drive their vehicle. Idiot Republicans. Same goes for the Democrats, as both parties are creating a bipolar government instead of instituting bipartisan decisions that actually do us some good. How about those Tea Party bozos? We need a Common Sense Party. A toned down version of Abbie Hoffman and Edward Abbey to monkey wrench and march on Washington again. My politics? I am an Abbeyist.
Even though it is cold, running involves sweating. My usual cotton underwear would be damp by now but my nylon and spandex is staying dry. I guess my problem with Victoria’s Secret is the number of trees they use for catalogues. Classic free enterprise, with which I have no problems only that successful corporations can be wasteful. Wonder if the company pays taxes or is like GE? We need solutions.
I am running across the sandstone flats uncovered by flash floods, remnants of an inland sea which have eroded and exposed the wave action from millions of years ago. Thoughts go to my great great grandfather who was in the Civil War. In the Union army from 1862 and all the way to the end, he attended such ‘parties’ as the battle for Vicksburg, Atlanta, and Sherman’s march to the sea. What would he say? He was nineteen at the time and he had no thoughts of TV and fashion shows and colorful underwear. But this was our country at the time. Quoting from his diary dated February 27th, 1863 he wrote,
“It has rained hard all afternoon, talk about ever wet, hungry and tired. I don’t think I knew what either being wet, or tired, or hungry meant before this night, but to have all three to contend with at once. Everything so wet that we could cook nothing. From the glare of the lightning, the earth looked like a vast sea of water, no place to lay down, nor sit down. No shelter to get under, just a vast cockelbur field. Our teams with our tents and rations nearly a mile behind, stuck in the mud. So we simply had to stand and take it while the water ran down our backs. In making a note of this in my old book at the time, I find this at the end of the note…. and this is way this Rebellion must be put down day by day.”
Those were the thoughts of a Civil War soldier and now these are my thoughts as a rambling desert runner 148 years later. How do we put down the political nonsense in Washington and clean house of career politicians on personal and party and corporate agendas? Perhaps we need a million man march, all of us wearing Victoria’s Secret underwear, exposing our true colors to the politicians who are supposed to serve the people. In the Bill of Rights we are allowed to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. We will be dressed all right! Lots of colors and styles from which to choose! . Be ready to go when someone organizes the march. I thought of it, but someone else needs to be the organizer…
NOTE – I wrote this piece a few years ago, and though now divorced, I somehow ended up with a few pairs of her VS underwear and do run in them as they don’t get soggy while running, especially in hot humid weather!
Diary excerpt from my great great grandfather Allen Miller, 30th Iowa Infantry, 1862-1865.