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Friday, February 18, 2011

Problem-Solving for the People

A man almost dead center of the room raised his hand. It wasn't timidly raised, either. Based on the vigor with which he waved it in the air, I knew then that he hadn't heard a word I'd said. He'd spent the last 30-40 minutes concocting this one burning question.

As the guest speaker for yesterday's meeting of Sunshine Club, I can say that they're a right cheery group. They have sunny dispositions. And they were a wonderful audience, laughiug when they should laugh and clapping when they should clap. By show of hands they all concurred that doing stupid stuff in public is utterly unavoidable. And they nodded in concerted agreement when I explained each of my strategies for surving an embarrassing situation.

When I at last arrived at the end of my talk and gave my final piece of advice, which pertains to what to do if none of my other advice works, there was simulataneous laughter and applause. Really, who couldn't resist a grown woman miming lifting her skirt hem and shoving it deep into her undergarments.

But then came the most dreaded portion of my program: The question and answer session. It's unscripted and off the cuff and, I believe, somewhat dangerous to the image I've developed for myself over the last 30-40 minutes.

"Yes sir," I called on the man.

His face lit up at the recognition. "What do you do," he asked, "if you're not wearing a skirt?" He went on to take the floor and joke about having a fine selection of skirts in his wardrobe that he wears on special occaisions.

Then he fell silent and waited for my response, as did the rest of the room. At the time I judged the silence to be baited with heavy expectations for my answer, but in retrospect the crowd may have been contemplating the man and his skirt collection. My mind raced, His thought provoking question, whether serious or not, deserved a solid answer. He brought up a very real problem, particularly for men. I would forever fault myself if I did not do it justice.

I looked him in the eye in front of all those people and told him, "If you happen not to be wearing a skirt when you find yourself in an embarrassing situation, then what you do is take the hem of your wife's skirt and tuck it into her panties. Then you run, but in the opposite direction from your wife."

My answer satisfied him, It did not, however, satisfy his wife.

Now that I've had time to give the question and the answer more thought, I think the skirt of the closest woman would do in a pinch. Furthermore, what I think could be even more interesting, if you're not wearing a skirt of your own, would be to tuck the nearest person's skirt into your own underwear and run.

Really, I should quit thinking about all of this and be thankful he didn't ask me what you do if you're not wearing any panties.

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