No, this is not a story about some action hero on a covert mission in foreign waters involving spies, special forces, and stealthy vessels. However, if you peruse Webster’s definition of “covert,” well, that part may ring true for this tale. This is a brief story about Hanes, yep, those tighty-whities. Sorry! I realize readers by now are going, “Really, again, Capt. Creel?”
It was in the spring of 1979 in Destin, Florida. I was 24, and the captain of the charter fishing vessel, Southern Comfort. It was a cool spring morning, in the midst of the king mackerel fishing season, and I had donned a pair of comfortable, loose-fitting white painter’s jeans for the day’s work. Warm enough for the cool morning, yet cool enough as the sun warmed the northern Gulf Coast. Customary to my southern conservative upbringing, I was also wearing a pair of Hanes tighty-whities. Michael Jordan was only 16 at the time and had not yet redesigned the Hanes tighty-whitie to actually fit a man.
The Gulf of Mexico was agitated just enough to pitch and roll the boat a bit as we trolled over inshore reefs and wrecks looking for a bite. The motion of the boat caused me to slide around a bit while seated in the vinyl flying-bridge helm seat. The fifth time around, because I had to stand up and retrieve what felt like 50 percent of my underwear from my crack, I shouted to my mate below to take the wheel for a moment. When he arrived on the bridge, I quickly descended the ladder and darted into my stateroom and removed the cotton nuisance. An hour or so after my return to the bridge, I started to realize how comfortable I had become with just those loose-fitting white painter’s jeans.
Upon our return to the dock, my mate cleaned the catch for our charter customers and I cleaned out the drawer in my stateroom that stowed my tighty-whities. I put ’em in a brown paper bag, so no one would see what I was doing, found the nearest trash can, and said good riddance! It has been commando for me ever since, well, almost.
In 2008, I had a long business trip planned to visit five boats in Michigan, Maine, Maryland, and North Carolina, all of which needed warranty service. And I’d decided to throw in an extended visit with my parents who still live in Alabama.
Anyway, it was a great visit, until my mother asked for my laundry to wash before my departure. I gladly handed over my techy marine clothing with a request to dry low. But a few minutes later she asks, “Where’s your underwear?” Sheepishly, I answer, “Uh, mom, I haven’t worn underwear since 1979.” The look on her face would have made a Calvary mule jump off a cliff. “He doesn’t wear underwear,” I overheard her say to my dad later on, aghast. I guess some people will never understand us boaters, not even our moms.
Well, it’s 2015 and I just turned 60. I continue to live in South Florida and wear shorts year-round. But during these past winter months, I noticed things were getting a bit drafty, causing an uncomfortable feeling. My gosh, are they making these shorts shorter? No, they still strike me just above the knee. Oh, it’s the age thing, you know, the body shifts we all go through as we grow older. But no, the shorts have not changed; it’s me, a nad, I mean, a tad lower! So, given what’s now become my cool, drafty condition, I reluctantly head off to Target to check out new tighty-whities. Great job Michael Jordan, especially the Boxer Briefs; they are comfortable, fit a man, and even come in colors, including camo! Hey Michael, Hanes should be paying you. I promise this is my last submission about my underwear. I had to promise the editor.