A Gift
Mark Sanders


World seen through boxer shorts that I thought had reached the end of their life.

Do you notice something missing in the photograph above? As it was described to me, they started off as a cotton/polyester blend but after a full life of wear the cotton just gave up. A veil of man-made fibers is all that remained.

My introduction to the underpants was quite accidental. During the Summer of 2000, the Bratwursts (I have changed their name) were visiting DC and we were all staying at our friend Ethan's (name changed, too). A one bedroom apartment with only one bed forced dressing and other personal preparation be done communally. I remember coming out of the shower in a towel and moving toward my luggage in the living room. As I leaned down to get some clothes from my bag (placed to my right), something to my left raised concern (damn my peripheral vision).

Vito Bratwurst was innocently leaning over. He wore nothing but boxers as he searched for clothes for the day. A more prominent than normal crease right up the middle of the shorts added too much contrast to the back of the underwear. I quickly realized that shadow was not the result of an impromtu wedgy, but rather was an anotomically correct backside rendering. Sheesh.

It turns out, these were a founding member of Vito's adult underwear club. Sentimentality and lack of a replacement had kept the pair in rotation far beyond their expiration date. We laughed about it.

From that day on, whenever I stayed with the Bratwurst's the boxers always made a hideous appearance. Fortunately there weren't any other fibers that could erode and the faint veil couldn't get any more transparent. That, however, didn't make the sight any less frightening.

As the years moved forward, I'm told that pair of underpants was decommissioned. There was frequent speculation about what the final fate of the shorts could be. They could be bronzed, put under glass or even framed. Whatever their fate, it needed to be spectacular.

Threats of a special "gift" started coming from the Bratwursts. It seems they were looking for the right occasion to send a mysterious cargo. Years again passed.

Last year the right event presented itself and a courier delivered a tightly wrapped package. With caution I removed the tape and paper. Cracking open the box I noticed a familiar gauze; and it apparently always had a brother. Someone carefully applied annotations (I can only presume the Bratwursts) with an indelible marker, too.

Following is what I found for all to celebrate or revile.

front of pair #1

back of pair #1





back of pair #2

front of pair #2