How To Recycle Underpants

Underpants with duct tape. Disclaimer:  The underpants pictured here are not underpants I actually wear. I have no idea how they ended up in my underwear drawer.  Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

My underpants helped me lose a humorous writing contest in a most spectacular way. This year’s Erma Bombeck Writing Contest, which would be judged by THE Dave Barry—for a few lucky finalists—prompted me to write about the time my underpants were destroyed. I laughed while I wrote. I laughed when I read the essay out loud to Nate and Alex. I laughed when I hit “send” to the judges of the contest. Yet, I was not laughing when I got a rather short, matter-of-fact notice a few months later that the winners had been picked and I wasn’t one of them.

“This rejection notice is really short and it’s not very funny in tone at all. Shouldn’t the rejection notices of humorous essay contests at least be somewhat silly?” I asked Nate.

“I’m sorry, honey. If it’s any consolation, I think your underpants are funny.”

“Thanks,” I said, as I contemplated the horrific thought of what I’d just done: I’d basically taken my underpants and thrown them onto the desks of THE Dave Barry and THE late Erma Bombeck and they threw them right back. However, I really believed in my underpants. I really believed they were funny, so I found a new place to send the essay and it was accepted for publication.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “This is a DIY blog. Will you give any actual ideas for recycling underpants?” The answer is: Yes. I’m including the link to the publication and if you read all the way to the end, you’ll find a very useful tip. Here’s a hint: It involves just a touch of glitter.

I also sent the link to my parents because I thought they’d have a good laugh, and they’re very excited to read it, but I’m wondering if they’re thinking that they’ve raised the kind of woman who would throw her underpants at THE Dave Barry and THE late Erma Bombeck and now THE entire internet. The answer is: Yes. I’m that woman. I’m the kind of woman resourceful enough to find a home for ruined, rejected underpants—and that home is Headstuff Magazine in Ireland. ¡Viva Ireland!

Here’s the link. Enjoy: “Surviving the Underpants Recession of 2016.”

Your Turn: Have you ever had to face rejection? How did you handle it? Or: Your favorite thing to recycle.


42 thoughts on “How To Recycle Underpants

  1. I handle it by letting it motivate me to be better with the next thing. Or sometimes by limiting your choices to a few things instead of scattering all your talents too far and completing none of them well because you are spread out too thinly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence:) In all fairness to the judges of the contest though, I think lots of people probably threw their underpants at them–metaphorically speaking. When I look at the winning essays online, the writers didn’t write about their underpants. They wrote about anything but their underpants, so if I were to enter the contest again, I might have to choose a more original undergarment to write about. I’m just thankful that Headstuff accepted my essay though –it’s a real honor and I’m thrilled. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done on managing to track down comfortable nether-garments, and yes, it did deserve to be read. THE Dave Barry and THE late Erma Bombeck were clearly having an off-day. Rejections send me into comfort-reading. I keep a shelf of inspirational favourites who remind me why I should keep banging away at the keyboard.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Been there, done that, and loved your story (though I didn’t enjoy living through it myself). Rejections.. aaargh! I have so many unwanted manuscripts and incomplete ones, I don’t need to buy printer paper for the rest of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooooh, YOU! This is so great! I love the intro story and how you believed in your work and sent it right back out there again. Then……on to the very, hilarious story itself. I think I snorted, I was laughing so much. I leave from this post experience like a well fed diner from a feast! Thank you for such wit and talent, I just eat it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is natural to face disappointment if you enter contests, it’s just usually a question of when for the contestant.

    I enter speech contests so I know from experience even though moderately successful.

    The real question is; if those aren’t your underpants, whose are they?😬

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to enter speech contests when I was a teenager and I loved them! I did both 4-H health and safety speaking contests and Optimist Club speech contests. I’m unaware of speaking contests for adults though–is it through Toastmasters that you enter competitions? How fun!


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