“Semper ubi sub ubi,” read the message scrawled in the back of my Latin book, a greeting from a bored sophomore long ago. “Always wear underwear.”
Sound advice, if not sound Latin, and I have always taken it to heart. With very few exceptions (and none of your business what they are), I semper ubi my sub ubi.
In fact, I purchased some new sub ubi just the other day and found the experience so interesting that I wanted to tell you about it.
This was an online purchase. I do that a lot. Now, I don’t buy everything online, but I figure underwear is one of those things you don’t really have to visually inspect before you hand over your dough.
So I went online and found some that looked like they’d do the job. Then the Underwear Company came back at me with an offer: Would I like to enroll in their Underwear Replacement Program and have new shorts shipped to me at regular intervals?
Wow. Book of the Month Club, yes. But Underpants of the Month Club?
It just doesn’t work for me. For one thing, the interval they suggested – every three months – is too frequent. Underwear doesn’t qualify as old until it starts to develop failures in fabric integrity, also known as holes, or the elastic fails. Boy, I really hate that second one. There’s nothing weirder than having your outside pants stay up while your inside ones are falling down.
But just because underwear is old doesn’t mean it’s no longer useful. You wouldn’t want to put it on for date night, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some wear out of it.
The important thing, of course, is that it’s clean. Mom said always to wear clean underwear in case you had to go to the emergency room. She said nothing about vintage.
Furthermore, I only have so much money set aside for new unmentionables, and I think I’d like to handle the scheduling, if that’s OK with the Underpants People.
I see what they’re getting at. They want us to semper ubi sub ubi, which is fine, and they want us always to have a clean pair, which would make Mom happy, but they want to sell me stuff when I don’t want to buy it.
There’s a Latin response for that, also learned from the back of my textbook:
Nullus via, Josephus. No way, Jose.