Death by pantyhose – I think that’s fair

Categorized as 09/15/08 Goshen News column

The idea for this game has been percolating for years. Whether it’s simply the product of an overactive imagination or a fixation on assigning blame, I will let you be the judge. Whatever its genesis, folks of any age can participate either individually or in a group.

Here’s how it goes. In phase one, you draw a card on which is listed an invention and you try to decide who created it, a man or a woman. See how easy it is? Let me just throw one out there to get you warmed up.

Panty hose. It is my own personal experience with this invention that spawned this whole exciting game. Marry the heat and humidity of an Indiana summer with a tiny pair of nylons and there’s no doubt in your mind. A man somewhere is to blame. You women know what I mean. By the time you’re finished with your own special version of the “Twist and Shout,” your heart is hammering and you’re dripping with perspiration. The knowledge that your calisthenics have just burned 1000 calories in a futile attempt to ensure untwisted coverage of all involved surfaces is cold comfort.

Every single summer we have this conversation. “The man who invented these things should be drug out in the street and shot,” I mutter darkly, peering at Mr. Schrock.

“How do you know it was a man?” he replies, clicking the remote.

“Do you think a man would wear something that cuts of all blood flow to his bottom half, gives him prickly heat rash, and rides up his…” I begin.

“Stop!” he cries, turning up the volume.

“And how about the wiggle factor?” I say irritably.

“Wiggle what?” he mumbles.

“Do you have any idea how much wiggling and shimmying it takes to get the darn things on?” I reply heatedly.

At this point, the poor man is clapping his hands over his ears and shouting, “La-la-la-la,” at the TV. It happens every year.

Another dark brain child of what must be a masculine mind is the girdle, which will be one of the categories in my game. No woman would ever design a restraint that displaces roughly half of her body weight and deposits it up into her neck, making her face swell like a puffer fish and pushing her ear lobes out at right angles. We have the GBA (Girdle Burners of America) to thank for making this instrument of torture obsolete. Ladies, we salute you.

Now, since the first two were easy questions, I’m going to give you one that will really take some thinking. Here goes. Epidural injections. Oh, I know. You think it’s a slam-dunk female invention. But is it?

Having given birth four times – thrice with epidurals and once without – I am well aware of the almost superhuman strength that comes over a woman in the throes of labor. So is Mr. Schrock, who is only now regaining feeling in his hands from that last go-round. What if some husband in Tuscaloosa wasn’t as fortunate as Mr. Schrock and to this day walks around with two limp hands? You can see how this could inspire a fellow’s creativity. If you really want to know the answer, though, you’ll have to buy the game.

Here’s one last sample question for you. Who invented seat warmers in SUVs?

Bingo. It was unquestionably a woman. When I informed You Know Who that I wanted heated seats in my next vehicle, he harrumphed. He snorted. He whiffled and huffed. Why, he wanted to know, was that necessary? Unknowingly, he only confirmed what I’ve long suspected – women have more delicate heinies and they don’t want them frostbitten. If he doesn’t need hot cross buns of his own to be a happy camper, well then, more power and all that. God love that girl, whoever she is, with the ingenuity to devise a way to get heat to not only my seat, but to thousands of women everywhere.

In the second phase of the game, the participants have fun speculating about appropriate punishments or commendations for the creators of the inventions in question. The guy who invented nylons? Death by hanging – with pantyhose. Mr. Epidural? You could name your first child after him. And Ms. Seat Heater? Ah, now she deserves a Nobel Prize.

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