Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Knickers in a Knot and Other Painful Words of Wisdom

A few years ago I woke in the middle of the night, with a strange problem. Although this might fall under the category of TMO (too much information), I learned a lot through my subsequent research.  I feel compelled to share.

I was more fatigued than usual and, as happens from time to time, I tossed on my pajama bottoms over my underwear. Although I fell asleep almost immediately, I was aware that it was a fitful and restless sleep. I tossed, turned and tossed again. Despite the hum of my trusty CPAP machine, no amount of deep breathing could put me into a satisfactory state of slumber. It was like attempting to snooze on an airplane, trying to catch a few zzz's while remaining conscious enough to avoid snoring, drooling or performing any other publicly humiliating acts.

Through my extreme tiredness, I felt discomfort. I heard distant sounds... howling wind, an ambulance, a meowing cat.

How could one be so tired and yet, sleep so poorly? After a long, long time, I managed to rouse myself. My leg felt as though someone had lit a match to my thigh. Upon further investigation, I found that my constant twisting and turning had caused my underwear to bunch and not just a tiny bit. Noooooo....the elastic waistband had entirely wrapped itself around, over and over to the point where it met and dug into the leg opening. Oweeeeeeeee! After several minutes unraveling said garment, I found a deep red wound which I hoped would not be permanently tattooed into my side. Curiously, what popped into my mind was the cliché , "Don't get your undies in a bunch."

I felt compelled to learn more about this cliché and its relationship to undergarments. I googled. I found a British version of the expression using the words "don't get your knickers in a twist". This exact same saying is also credited to the U.S.A. as "don't get your panties in a wad." As a fan of both alliteration and the aurally appealing, my personal favourite originates with the Aussies, "don't get your knickers in a knot". The meaning of this cliché, if I might steal the words of Richard Carlson, is simply, "don't sweat the small stuff."

So how could we possible equate the two expressions "don't get your knickers in a knot" and "don't "sweat the small stuff"? Well, I suppose one could argue that there's an implied correlation between actually wearing undergarments and anal retentive behaviour. My research continued. I found a blog "Peter's Useful Crap" which attributed the expression to a British television programme in the sixties, "The Basil Brush Show". But could it be? Could such a well worn cliché actually be so new and be attributed to a fox glove puppet on a children's t.v. show? I found no corroborating evidence. 

The good news was that after all this ridiculous research, I began getting drowsy.

So, take care the next time you attempt to pull your pants and undergarments up simultaneously, or if you tangle your tightie whities while putting your legs through the wrong openings. Take it from me, you wouldn't want to get your knickers in a knot.

1 comment:

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