A wry view of life for the world-weary

Keep Away From Fire


I bought some new underpants a few weeks ago – an event which occurs with slightly more frequency than my taking a bath. Nice they are too, comfortable in a boxer short style and bearing a pleasant chequered pattern. The sort of underpants which if you were wearing when you suffered a major coronary or were knocked over on the street you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in.

Anyway, I was sitting on the throne going about my business the other day when my attention was caught by a label on the inside of the rear of said boxers. I looked at it more closely and saw that as well as bearing the country of manufacture – China, inevitably – it had the stark warning “Keep away from fire”.

This set me thinking. In what sort of circumstances would you deliberately expose your underwear to a naked flame and does your daily occupation dictate the sort of underwear you buy?

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t go out of my way to expose myself to flames. I now, of course, have the perfect excuse to avoid those dreadful corporate team bonding days that consultants are so fond of. Walking across hot coals – sorry, I’ve got the wrong type of underpants on. Can’t take the risk.

If you are a fireman do you have different types of underwear depending upon whether you are on your window cleaning rounds or whether you are on call to put out a fire? The last thing you would want when your house was up in flames was a crew of firemen come along all snuggly dressed in their flammable Chinese BHS underpants and turn round and say to you, “Sorry mate, we’ll have to let it burn. Wrong type of underpants”.

These are scenarios under your control but what about the unexpected? Can you take the risk of wearing these boxers when there is the possibility, remote as it may be, that you may be trapped in an inferno, cursing your choice of underwear that morning.

And there is a philosophical dimension to consider. What is fire? Some activities – I will leave it to your imagination, dear reader – may result in some frictional activity in the nether regions. Does engaging in such pursuits whilst wearing these benighted undies add an unanticipated and unexpected danger? What if you had had a particularly fierce curry the night before?

I was quite shaken when I had finished considering all these possibilities. Suffice it to say, the boxers have been consigned to the bin and I have resurrected my elderly collection of safer underwear from the bowels of my wardrobe.

After all, you can’t be too careful!

Merry Christmas to you all!

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