Saying that my father has a warped sense of humor is akin to saying that he has blue eyes—if you have been in a room with him for more than ten minutes you already know both facts. My father’s eyes are big and blue and sort of crazy looking, if you ask my mother, or at least unsettling, if you ask my sister. His eyes are unavoidably noticeable, at any rate, just like his bad jokes. I have my father’s eyes, except mine are brown, not blue.
Let me tell you something about girls’ underpants, in case you are unfamiliar. Perhaps boys’ underpants work the same way, I wouldn’t know. Underpants for little girls don’t have elastic at the leg openings— instead they have a band of cotton, which is nice and soft until it gets baggy. Once your underpants have been washed enough times, the leg openings get to be the size of your head and no matter what you do, you will be picking underwear out of your butt every time you wear them.
My father thought my underwear difficulties were hysterical, and I have albums full of pictures of myself picking underwear out of my crack: in shorts, in jeans, at the beach, on a skiing trip. My dad was an amateur photographer with expensive cameras. He had his own darkroom when I was growing up. It wasn’t like the only time my father took a picture of me I just happened to be picking at my bottom. Rather, it was his favorite subject matter or perhaps he wanted to make a photojournalistic essay of it. He could have entitled it: My Daughter Resolving Her Underwear Issues.
The downside of his amusement over my underwear calamities is that I have very few decent pictures of myself as a child. We would spend every summer with our father, and return to our mother’s care with a scrapbook of our Alaskan adventures. Apparently my adventures consisted mostly of battling my underpants. The pictures I do have are viewed under a haze of resentment, and are not very satisfying. My mother didn’t make us scrapbooks at all, so there is no proof that I was ever anything but a girl always pulling underwear out of her crack, with almost the same unsettling eyes as her father.
Copyright © 2021 Lara Lillibridge
Public domain imagery courtesy of Snappygoat.com