We were sitting around the fire after a wonderful dinner with friends and so naturally the talk turned to Mrs. Wankmeister’s underwear. “I’m using onna underpants that are sometimes the old and sometimes the new,” she said. “The old ones is onna classic type.”
My buddy’s wife asked what exactly was a “classic type.”
“That’s a underpants onna ain’t got any holes,” said Mrs. WM. “But I hate onna throwin’ away old underpants unless they have a big holes,” she added. “For ten years wearin’ onna old underpants is okay because they are softer.”
“Speaking of underpants,” I said, “that reminds me of that ride I once did with Tom Malone.”
“Oh,” said Mrs. WM, “thatsa funny story onna his o-chin-chin.”
“What happened?” asked my buddy’s wife.
“Well,” I said, “it was like this. I was living in Utsunomiya and Tom was living in Ujiie-machi. I called him up the night before and said, ‘Dude, let’s ride tomorrow,’ and he was like, ‘Cool, meet you at seven out by Inokashira Park.’ The next morning I put my bike in the car and drove out to the park; it was cold as hell. I had brought my warmest clothing — it was 40 degrees and getting colder by the hour. Wool Santini hat, glove liner, heavy over gloves, wool socks, neoprene booties, thick winter tights, heavy under-layer, jersey, wool arm warmers, wool sweater, and outer Santini jacket. I knew it was going to be a brutal ride.
“When I got to the park Tom hopped out of his car wearing a pair of shorts, a light pair of spring gloves, a helmet, Lycra arm warmers, and a short-sleeve jersey. ‘Dude,’ I said, ‘you’re gonna freeze your ass off.’
“‘No problem,’ he said, ‘I’ll be fine.’
“So we started out and after half an hour he was frozen to the core. ‘You okay?’ I asked. ‘You look pretty bad.’
“‘Nah,’ he said, ‘I’ll be fine.’
“We pedaled on for another half an hour and even I was getting cold, even though I was bundled up like a polar bear. Pretty soon Tom’s head started to droop. Then he started to moan. ‘You okay?’ I asked.
“‘No,’ he said. Then he moaned some more, and I mean it was an agonizing moan, like someone whose hand is slowly being fed into a meatgrinder. After a couple of minutes he stopped pedaling and fell off his bike into a ditch. ‘Dude!’ I said, being pretty afraid. ‘What’s wrong?’
“‘Mr. Business,’ he moaned. ‘Mr. Business is frozen!’
“I looked around for Mr. Business but there was nobody on the road but us, then I realized he had his hands jammed down his shorts and was rubbing like a madman. ‘Shit, dude,’ I said, ‘is it frozen?’
“‘Aaaaaagh!’ he screamed. ‘Mr. Bizzzzznesssssss!’ I had seen people freeze the ends of their noses, their fingers, and their toes before, but I’d never seen anyone freeze that, and as he tried to rub in some heat I wondered what to do. ‘I’m your pal, Tom,’ I said, considering the various ways I might assist him, ‘but there are limits to our friendship.’ Then it occurred to me to offer him my wool Santini cap. He desperately grabbed and wrapped it around Mr. Business. ‘Dude,’ I said, ‘no need to worry about giving it back.’
“We pedaled back to the car and the Business came back to life and I drove home and told Mrs. Wankmeister about it. She thought it was pretty funny.”
“Yes,” Mrs. Wankmeister said, “but then I got worried onna Seth’s chin-chin because he’s always out riding onna cold days and what if he’s onna frozen too and no one’s gonna stick his hands and hats and warmin’ onna his chin-chin? So I made you onna that cover.”
“What?” said my buddy’s wife.
Mrs. WM looked at her. “He had onna old wool socks and I cut one up for makin’ a little foldy-over-cover for him puttin’ onna his chin-chin for warmin’.”
“A little wool cover, huh?” my buddy said, grinning. “How little was it?”
Mrs. WM paused and looked at my face, but she apparently couldn’t see me mouth the word “enormous” in the darkness. “Oh, it wasn’t onna too little, just a medium little.”
There was a brief silence as we waited for the paramedics to come and assist with my pal and his wife, who appeared to be choking to death from laughter. Eventually Mrs. WM steered the conversation over to the subject of pajama bottoms and how my one pair had giant holes in them and no elastic and were held up by twisting a big rubber band around the bunched up waistline. “I got something for you,” said my buddy. He went inside and came back out with a big pair of thermal pajama bottoms that had a working drawstring. I’d had a few beers, so I put them around my neck and eventually we went home.
That evening I tried on the PJ’s and they were a perfect fit, especially where it matters most. “Those onna be good PJ’s for you,” said Mrs. WM. “They gotta good fit on your hanging space.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, “but could I make a request?”
“Oh sure,” she said.
“The next time you’re explaining to a crowd of people something — anything — related to that … ”
“Could you try not to use the words ‘little’?”
“Itsa bad words,” she agreed. “Cutesy is onna better, right?”
I sighed. “Right.”
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