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September 19, 2009

Two stories today.  I apologize in advance if you find the title crass, but some of the most formative moments in my life revolve around underpants.  It’s who I am.


I was in eighth grade.  A lady that went to our church knew the current actor playing the Phantom of the Opera (in Toronto) and she also knew of my younger brother’s utter fascination with the music from this play.  Fascination might be an understatement.  Let’s go with obsession.  According to my littlest brother (who was completely annoyed at one point and burst out in complaint to my mom… which was the first time she even knew it was going on) B-Dizz would carry around a little boombox that had the cassette tape in it.  He would take it in the bathroom and sing in the shower.  He would take it in the playroom and sing while building Legos.  He would take it to the kitchen to get a snack, to the backyard while he was digging a hole to China (before we got grass), and out to the front while he rode his bike.  He was never without the boombox.  And he was only 8 at the time.

One of the songs was actually missing from the tape (a friend dubbed it for us) and it wasn’t until we got to the play and they sang the song that we realized we were missing an important piece to the puzzle.  And Brett was mystified by that song.  In fact, it was the only song he didn’t sing along with at the top of his lungs while seated at the edge of his seat.  I am not exaggerating.  Cutest thing ever.  Except, I’m sure, to the people in front of us.

Enough backstory.  

Our friend from church ended up getting us 12th row seats and backstage meeting with her friend, the Phantom himself.  We took my Grandma (mom’s mom) with us and went on a road trip.  We were on our way to the theater for the performance and the weather was beautiful.  We walked along downtown and as we walked over a subway grate, a large gust of wind came shooting up, taking my dress with it.  I’d love to say the scene resembled something as awesome as a Marilyn Monroe moment, but I’m going to venture it was less sexy and more… Looney Tunes. 

Because I was wearing Bugs Bunny underwear. 

In the 8th grade, you just sort of latch onto stuff that seems cool or silly.  I latched onto cartoon underwear. And the delivery guy across the street fell off his bike.  And my grandma peed her pants (almost).  And my dad looked away (because he’s a good dad).  And my mom laughed until she cried.  And my brothers didn’t see any of it because they were 8 and 4 and they were probably poking a bug somewhere. 

To this day, I still won’t walk over subway grates.  Even if I’m wearing pants.


I was fresh out of college, working in the admissions department of my alma mater, Olivet Nazarene University, as a student recruiter.  One of the most fun things we got to do as a staff was head out on a week-long trip to California to attend a conference at Azusa Pacific University and then spend some time together in Los Angeles.  We stayed at the Renaissance Hollywood, at the corner of Hollywood & Highland.  It had a rooftop pool that overlooked the Hollywood sign.  A couple of our boys got stuck in the elevator after they jumped inside and the system thought an earthquake was happening.  We went to see the Price is Right.  We went to the farmer’s market.  We had dessert at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel, where we saw Liza Minelli, Stephen Dorff and Stephanie Seymour.  We walked out back and smelled the jasmine that grows around cabanas where it’s rumored Marilyn Monroe and JFK used to rendezvous.  It was a great trip, full of great memories.

Our conference was actually pretty spectacular, too.  I met a couple of friends that were counselors at other Nazarene schools and ended up hanging out with Jon, Kara and Brady for the whole conference.  Jon was excessively wonderful and I developed a decent crush on him.  One of the evening events was a gala dinner followed by a swing dancing lesson from the big band they hired to do the music.  We were all dressed in our best and then the four of us tried the dancing thing.  It was rough and Jon was really terrible.  Like really bad.  But for some reason, it just increased the adorable factor. 

On our walk home, I was teasing Jon about his dancing and went to imitate his spin move when my heel caught in the sidewalk and I fell down.  Okay, fine, I sprawled out on the concrete, lost all the skin on my knee, and showed every passing motorist my underwear.  At least this time they were grown-up underpants.  I recovered quickly as I am used to humiliating myself on a regular basis, we finished our walk home without incident, and the boys dropped us off at the door. 

I thought all was forgotten until I walked into breakfast that morning and Brady was re-enacting the whole event for a rapt audience of about 150 admissions counselors.  They were laughing hysterically as he threw himself on the floor in a spactacularly dramatic impression of my fall.  When he popped up off the floor, he saw me standing there with a horrified look on my face and shouted, “There she is!”    Awesome.


Don’t wear underpants.  That way no one can see them.

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