This geezer has to ask a personal question: How often do you change your underwear? It’s not what you think, so I’ll rephrase it. This is serious. I’m looking for support here and talking about brand. See, I myself have found some I’ve been comfortable with for the last I-don’t-know-how-many cycles. Must be at least ten years, so in this sense and at this time I myself find it hard to change at all. Trouble is, the only local purveyor I know is the outlet of a national chain where I’ve been watching for it this time around unsuccessfully since I started Christmas shopping last fall. As there’s now some urgency, I went there again the other day. On my way to a disappointed departure I took the opportunity to ask a rather senior-looking staffer if they were perhaps phasing out the men’s department. It was, after all, a month beyond the holidays and stocks still appeared low. I was somewhat (a lot really) condescendingly informed upon mention of my specific quest that such is “the peril of the discount store,” whose buyers, hence customers, are opportunists. It was then suggested that, if indeed I needed a specific label, I should Google it and be certain of satisfaction online. I could only reply, “How sad. Doing my best to ‘shop local,’ and to be told this. I guess I needn’t waste my time here any more.” Of course, I could change. Or just go commando. For the time being my brief is with the delivery service du jour worthy of a future letter I’m sure. Let’s first get really serious about curbing denial, emissions, and making America great again — the truly sad point of my parody, the misplaced priorities of the electorate.

Phelps Bristol, Owls Head