I Went An Entire Week Without Changing My Underwear, Because Fuck It, Right?
It’s something that just happens, like a baby or a gambling addiction. There’s no intent—it’s like how nobody consciously omits flushing or deliberately allows garbage to amass to a favela-esque level. Life moves pretty fast; and sometimes when I’m stopped, looking around for a while trying not to miss it, I forget to change my underpants.
Typically each week brings at least one event meriting underwear changing. Of course I do my best to take time and keep up with it on a daily basis, but sometimes I fall into an unhygienic rut. I’m only actually coerced to re-up for things like parents visiting, job interviews, or when I thought I could hold it for the entire drive home and overestimated my ability. Like a hot volcano yielding to unrelenting subsurface pressure that left me in need of an incinerator and a shower.
Being caught in a rainstorm two Wednesdays ago was the catalyst. Shivering, dirty, and miserable, I could’ve been the perfect extra for a methadone clinic scene. After a quick steamy cleanse I slipped into a five-year-old pair of Garfield boxers. “Look at me now, World,” I said, parading through the apartment. “Clean underwear two days in a rows, just like a real adult.”
Thursday morning felt like one prolonged emergency. Technically it hadn’t yet been twenty-four hours; my faded Garfields were still acceptable. Throughout the morning this crippling urgency would hit me in short sporadic waves. One minute I’d be hyperventilating and clenching every muscle, trying to waddle to the bathroom and resolve this life-of-mess situation, but the next minute I’d be fine, feeling as if a poop demon had just been exorcised.
Around eleven my contractions had become painfully close. There was uncertainty and fear as I staggered down the hall to the toilet. Photo finish doesn’t do it justice—this was more like a buzzer beater that the officials had to confer about for fifteen minutes. Sweaty but with no skids, the Garfields survived to nap another day.
Friday was a cathartically unproductive bender of macaroni and television. I watched the landlord fumble through a showing as he tried to explain to the prospective tenants how this unit would be free of trash piles, fruit flies, and the nearly naked man-child come mid-August. Now teetering on self-actualization, there was no reason to change, nor a reason to leave the apartment or even take off my bathrobe until eight that night.
Sore and with a mouth tasting like sad, I awoke Saturday amidst a nest of tacos on a distant sofa. I didn’t have clothes at this house and I wasn’t going to be the guy who barters for clean underwear. I was, however, the guy who used their shower, towels, and toothbrushes without permission before redressing and rebooting the apparent taco party.
My Garfields, nor the lasagna-esque stain now gracing them, would cross my mind Sunday. The entire day was spent exclusively focused on chicken wings, Rob Gronkowski putting up points for me, and imbibing a cocktail of Pepto-Bismol and ground-up aspirin.
Bitterness resonated through me as my alarm sounded on Monday morning. I was on autopilot. Sure, I could have ferreted through my drawers for some fresh drawers, but sleeping an extra thirty seconds before popping back on the clothes already on the floor was preferable.
Monday night I realized how far my streak had stretched. Tuesday was now a foregone conclusion. One doesn’t climb to 200 feet from Everest’s summit or eat every piece but one from a birthday cake and simply say, “Okay, I’m ready to stop.”