Friday, September 24, 2010

Hey, Joe, have you lost your boxers?

Have you ever noticed that when people go outside they seem to undress. How else would you explain the pair of men's boxers hanging on that guard rail?

And what about those socks draped over the fire hydrant?

How in the world does someone lose their britches on a highway overpass? I mean, what's that all about?

Someones running shoe is hanging upside down on a fencepost along I-29, a busy highway near my house. I wonder if the owner will ever recognize it as he drives by at 75 miles per hour.

I've been looking for someone walking around with just one shoe on, but so far I haven't seen anyone who matches that description. I'll keep looking.

This makes me wonder how someone can lose just one shoe. Why is it that you never see a pair of shoes alongside the road. I haven't lost one shoe outside anywhere in my entire life.

T-shirts, jackets, backpacks, cowboy boots, bedroom slippers, umbrellas, mittens, scarves, purses, flip-flops - I've seen them all at one time or another abandoned along streets and sidewalks, in ditches and parking lots.

Now losing your hat, I get that. Hats have been blowing away since indigenous people in ancient times wore things on their heads, like banana leaves, to keep from getting wet.

Hats easily blow away, especially if you don't tie them down.

You see red ones, blue ones, yellow ones and green ones lying on the ground. Ball caps and bonnets, stocking hats and shower caps, safety helmets and cowboy hats all lost to the wind.

It's those other articles of clothing that baffle me.

As far as the boxer shorts, I can only think of two reasonable explanations for them. One: they could have flown out the window on the way to the laundry mat. And as far as the second, well, we won't go there.

The sight of discarded clothing is oddly funny and a tad bit sad to me. At least that's how I felt when I noticed a pile of shoes and socks the neighborhood kids left behind on the lot across the street after a game of touch football.

I wonder if parents are so busy today that they don't even notice their kids shoes and socks are missing?

When I was a kid, I had only one pair of shoes, a few pairs of socks, and they had to last all year. Most adults I know share the same story.

There are some folks who have had perfectly good reasons for discarding their clothing, like the people in a 2007 Fox news story I read from Niagara, N.Y. It stated, "Canadian shoppers taking advantage of the parity between the U.S. and Canadian dollars are leaving behind more than cash when the head home. They're leaving behind their old clothes."

According to the article, the shoppers wore their new clothes home so they wouldn't have to pay a duty when crossing the border into Canada. Smart, eh? The old clothes were left behind in parking lots, dressing rooms and restrooms at malls and shopping plazas in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area.

Leave it to New Yorkers to come up with a solution to a strange problem. At one of the malls, managers put collection bins near the exits where Canadian customers could deposit their unwanted items. The clothing was then given to the needy.

Now that's what I call a happy ending to all those clothes left behind.

2010 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon
is a national and state award-winning columnist. Her columns have won
first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and
Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota
Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took first-place awards
statewide. To contact Paula, email, follow her blog at find her on Facebook.



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