I DO not have the calling to model male underwear – and before you leap skyward with a giggling interjection, I must insist that there is not bubbling within me an urge to pirouette in ladies’ underwear either.
Indeed, I feel that a chap of my years should enter a darkened room and warn the spiders to shield their eyes, before tucking his sagging nipples and limp hairs into an onion bag of a vest, as a prelude to twanging the elastic on his Y-fronts in melodic accompaniment to time’s cruel dance.
But I could be seen last Saturday evening creeping like a furtive mole through the lingerie section of a big store to find my wife, who had set up camp some hours earlier in the fashion department. Through the gaudy gallery of panties, brassieres and foundation garments of varying tensile capacity I advanced, collar raised, hoping that the in-house detective would not pounce before I reached my destination. Of course, in these days of daring sexual manners, you can never tell who else you might meet there lurking behind a scantily clad, plaster mannequin – the parish priest in his grass skirt, the orchestra’s viola plucker in her wellies and snorkel, the community bobby in his tutu, or the tennis club’s secretary in his Tarzan leotard.
Sadly, on this occasion, I was alone and an official looking man did step in front of me, rather abruptly.
“Oh the embarrassment, oh the shame. Journalist snared in pantie paradise,” I whispered to myself. He didn’t hear me. Imagine my surprise, however, when he said, “Hello sir, could you spare a few moments while I ask you a question. Where do you get your energy from?”
By Jove, I thought. How flattering! He must have marvelled at my spurt of acceleration between the corsets and suspender belts. So I considered my answer for a few seconds.
“Well, I suppose my decision to switch from white to brown bread could be a contributory factor,” I said. “But I find that a brisk walk in the park after dinner does wonders for the old constitution.”
“Ah, you misunderstand me, sir, I meant who supplies your gas and electricity? You see, we are now providing these services at competitive rates,” he said. My mood changed instantly.
“Now, who supplies my gas and electricity?” I repeated, as though giving the matter deep and serious thought. “Why God,” I replied, finally. “Who supplies yours?”
In my experience, the introduction of God is a sure way of ending an unwanted conversation. People will talk for hours about politics, football, soap operas and talent shows, but they usually give God a wide berth. And yet I think of our pet rabbit Molly, who sleeps in a box in the kitchen during the night. What does she think of me when I come down in the ghostly darkness of early morning to make the breakfast? Then I push a button and the room is filled with light. I turn a tap and water bursts forth. Yes, the supplier of energy must be someone special.
Surely, to have the power to do such things without having any idea of how the light and water is brought into the house is miraculous. We have many switches but very little know-how. Molly’s world is simple. She does everything for herself. There is no great force beyond governing her life. Anyway, after swiftly slipping the clutches of the salesman, I spotted my wife peeping helplessly over a mountainous avalanche of parcels.
“You know,” I said, “that chap over there has just asked me where I get my energy from. I have to admit that I was very chuffed at first. My mother used to ask me about where I found my lethargy. It seemed to be in endless supply. You see, I was never closely associated with energy or drive. Whenever a chore presented itself, I would be found skulking in the shadows.”
“As it happens, I need to tap your energy supply now,” my wife said, the lovely turquoise aglow in her eyes. “Can you carry some of these parcels to the car?”
LISTEN to David Charters on his picture podcasts at www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk