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In defense of microwaving underwear

Don't Take Me Seriously

Posted: August 10, 2012 10:00 a.m.
Updated: August 10, 2012 10:00 a.m.

"Man sets fire to home by microwaving undies” was the headline that caught my eye the other day. I mean, you couldn’t make this stuff up, right?

It seems British firefighters in Weymouth, England, saved an apartment from destruction after the guy who lived there tried to dry his wet socks and underwear in a microwave oven. The resulting fire destroyed the appliance, along with the two pairs of underwear and socks inside it.

It’s a funny sort of story, to be sure, and just the kind of thing that makes us all feel superior. However, before we pronounce our holier-than-thou judgments on this inventive fellow and begin to lobby for lifeguards at the genetic pool, let’s put ourselves into his thought process.

Now, everyone knows you shouldn’t dry your cat in a microwave. Whether we’ve learned this lesson directly, the messy way, or vicariously, via the feline felonies of others, it’s pretty much common knowledge that living things don’t live long under these conditions.

However, I submit that using a microwave for clothes drying is not so much an error in itself, but only a bad thing if you leave the clothes cooking too long.

Our friend probably got distracted watching the Olympics on TV and left his unmentionables under the radar rays a few minutes past toasty-warm. If he’d have kept his eyes on things, the worst that might have resulted would be some socks with steamy hot spots, and semi-dry shorts with a few more discolored patches in them than they had when they went in.

I mean, with good attention and the right setting, maybe this is a viable option when your clothes dryer is on the fritz and you need to be “fresh” for that big meeting you are already late to attend. And, while our hero could have, maybe, gone sockless and commando, we all know this sort of “freedom” makes one a little too reckless in the boardroom.

I guess the point here is that guys will be guys, which means we are rarely hampered by restrictions, instructions, socially acceptable norms, what others tell us is, or is not, a good idea — or even common sense.

When we need something done, we find a way of doing it, no matter who pooh-poohs us. I mean, think about it. Initially, the naysayers told us we couldn’t climb Mount Everest, fly through the air or hang beers on a plastic helmet.

Guys make do and, unless girls get involved, no one cares about the aesthetics. If it works, it’s a good thing. If it doesn’t, we add more duct tape.

Classic examples include cinder-block-and-plank bookshelves, red plastic bag tail lights and, well, duct tape, itself — which, as those in the know know, is an acronym for Does Ubiquitous Correction Tape ... tape.

And while so called “experts” may mislead you that baling wire was created to wrap up hay bales, that was actually a secondary use discovered when farmer Jedidiah Bale had some left over after he got done wiring the axle back on his tractor.

Previous to that event, the product was known as “Warranty Wire” because it could extend the operational life of, well, anything.

By the way, arguing about whether “Jury-Rig,” “Jerry-Rig” or “Jimmy-Rig” is the correct term for a resourceful fix is unimportant. What matters is that they would all be applauded by Rube Goldberg.

From the old matchbook under the table leg, to wet diaper in the car window air conditioning, to rock salt in the shotgun “just to teach them a lesson,” men in need have always found a way — and MacGyver is our hero.

I mean, do you really think the internal combustion engine sounded like a good idea when it was first suggested?
“Hey Emmett, since that steam-operated piston works so well, why don’t we just put a big-old explosion right there in the cylinder? Heyuk.”

You know these guys didn’t tell their wives what they were doing out in the old carriage house or the modern automobile never would have come about.

So, though his execution might need a little refining, I applaud the resourcefulness of our microwave maniac. And, remember our mantra, boys: If at first you don’t succeed, get a bigger hammer.

Further, Jim Walker reminds that modern sugarless gum does not have the long-lasting adhesive power of good-old Bazooka. Comment at or at


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