February 01, 2014

I Put That Under Where?

I think it says something about myself when there’s a breaking news item, and then my Facebook page is bombarded by “Friends” repeatedly linking to that particular news item. Some people may think it reflects the fact I’m a journalist, and my friends are simply pointing me towards an important news story that absolutely requires my attention.

In this case, however, the news story in question was about a stepson who somehow managed to kill his stepfather using an atomic wedgie. While the story didn’t carry the weight of, say, the Watergate break in, I have to hand it to my Facebook “Friends” for pointing me towards the kind of story I can really sink my teeth into, so to speak.

Now, I could pick from hundreds of sources to cite this particular news item, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. According to a Jan. 9 news report from ABC News: “A brutal fight between a former Marine and his stepfather in Oklahoma ended in the stepfather’s death by “atomic wedgie,” also known as death by underwear.”

First off, let me just state that I’m shocked this incident happened in Oklahoma. Second off, I’m leafing through the AP Stylebook right now and nowhere does it indicate that “atomic wedgie” is also known as “death by underwear.” Maybe I’m looking in the wrong section. Back to the news item:

“Denver St. Clair had been arguing with his stepson, Brad Davis, 33, last month when the two began to fight. Davis told police that St. Clair had spoken “ill of Davis’ mother,” and then threw the first punch. The men had been drinking, investigators told ABC affiliate KNXV.”

There’s a lot to digest in that paragraph. Firstly, the victim’s name was “Denver” and he lived in Oklahoma, so that just doesn’t fit. Secondly, I highly doubt St. Clair shouted “Your mother is foul, and I speak ill of her!” before unleashing a fierce round of fisticuffs. Thirdly, the men had been drinking? I simply have a hard time believing that. Now, the article really gets into the inverted pyramid guts of journalistic story telling:

“Davis said he fought back and then gave his father an ‘atomic wedgie” in which he stretched the elastic waistband of St. Clair’s underwear up over his head. The move is most often used as a prank among children and teenagers.”

Underwear—particularly brand new underwear—can exhibit astonishing properties, so much so that scientists are considering including it in the periodic table of the elements under the designation “Sm” for “Skidmark.” Among those properties is extreme elasticity, including the capability, in some cases, to be stretched in between the buttocks and over the forehead.

I’ve actually witnessed—and experienced in one unfortunate case— underwear suspend a person in mid-air, before the elastic band separated from the rest of the garment. But, an atomic wedgie resulting in death? Consider me skeptical.

“According to the affidavit obtained by the affiliate station, police said the underwear left a ligature mark around St. Clair’s neck and noted that there was blood around the kitchen and living room.”

If the underwear band was made of barbed wire, I could maybe see this as a plausible scenario. As it is, I suspect, er, FOUL play was involved.

Just in case, however, I think there should be a nationwide underwear ban. You know, to be safe.

Posted by Ryan at February 1, 2014 12:23 PM | TrackBack
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