When I bought my new brassiere, I also picked up some new underwear, because I have underwear that is, no kidding, ten years old. I bought four pairs of bikini briefs in my usual black; two were of this cotton-lycra blend and two were of some unnatural marriage of synthetics that looked like they would live forever and ever as long as they weren't melted to my person in fiery accident. At the time, the forever and ever pairs seemed like a good idea, because I figured that if I was going to wear them for ten years like the threadbare cotton ones that were suspended off my rump from a puckered, grey band of elastic, I wanted them to hold up decently.

This kind of thought pattern when purchasing underwear is fallacious, I know. Underwear plus ten years of wear is normally equal to at least five years already buried in a landfill, but that's if you're not cheap and you're not the sort of person who has owned a second-hand sweater for nine years that has never been washed in case it falls apart.

I wore one of the unnatural-marriage-of-synthetics pairs for the first time today at work, and I was not terribly pleased with them. Aside from the fact that I was likely picking up some rare form of labial cancer from contact with the fabric's slow chemical breakdown, it was the tag in the back waistband that was truly bugging me. It scratched me when I walked, sat, bent over, crouched, and twisted. I flipped the tag up over the waistband to set it free from being confined next to my skin, but it just dug into me more somehow. I snuck into the bathroom with a pair of scissors to see if I could cut the little fucker out, but there was no way to do it without either leaving an even scratchier bit left along the seam or cutting out the seam to get the complete tag out and risking the loss of the waistband.

Certain that I had lost the battle but not the war, I sat down and brainstormed a way to fix my problem.

I must soften the tag somehow, so that it's corners and edges are not so pokey, I thought.

If I moisten the tag with warm water, it will soften, but that is only a momentary fix what with the evaporation and the absorbant quality of my pants. Also, I would have a damp rectangle on the back of my pants, which would make things awkward.

I could crumple the tags repeatedly until they're soft, I thought, except that I can't picture myself sitting around and crumpling underwear tags while I am at work. That seems too obsessive. And I am not supposed to have my hand jambed down the back of my pants in public.

I know, I could dip the tag in melted wax. It might not soften the actual tag, but it would make the take feel more rounded and smooth. Oh, no, wait a second. That would only work until the first time I forgot about the wax-dipped tag and threw them into a hot water wash. I'd be working wax out of my clothing for weeks. Also, again, I am at work, and dipping my underwear tag in candle wax at my desk would be frowned upon.

Then, I thought Double-you Tee Eff?! and realized my brain was on a faster track to barmy than I had at first assumed.

So, I set out to think something else, something not underwear-related. Anything would do. My brain ran through its continuous-loop version of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" a few dozen times, did a few lines of "The Candyman", remembered my favourite green pair of hand-me-down Osh Kosh B'Gosh overalls from when I was four years old and then how I was unreasonably afraid of Mr. Greenjeans from "Captain Kangaroo" at the time, tried to remember the proper set-up for a quadratic equation in order to work out value per volume in the grocery store, and then the damn underwear tag scratched me again. And I was just getting somewhere with A over B equals something over something and cross-multiplies or something. The scratching was killing even my most lazy thought flow. Fuck.

So, I wrote a limerick in my underwear tag's honour:

There once was a tag in my foundation
That chaffed and caused such consternation.
Designed by a sadist,
It was nearly absurdist,
So my panties* were sent on vacation.

And they were, too. I mean, I sent my underwear on vacation, and by vacation I mean that I made a second trip to the bathroom to strip that offensive pair off my bottom and buried them under the paper towel waste in the garbage can. I decided that if I can spend three dollars on coffee, I can definitely toss an irritating pair of cheap underwear and not curse myself to ten years of worrying about upping the possibility of labial cancer with each tag-avoiding shimmy.

* I only used that destestable, cutesified, infantilizing word "panties" because "underwear" has too many syllables for that line in the limerick. Evil limerick.