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Polyester. God I hate it. I even hate the word. “Poly” meaning “many” and “Esther” meaning you were probably born in the very late 1800s. Suddenly I feel sorry for all the Esthers who gave their lives so I could have a shiny purple paisley shirt.

If you really want to impress people, the technical name for polyester is polyethylene terephthalate. Go ahead – try that three times fast. I hurt myself trying it once. If that’s too much for you, the abbreviated version is PET. Now if you had a “PET” would you ever consider naming it polyethylene terephthalate? I think not. “Polyethylene terephthalate, want a cracker?” Imagine calling it to come in for dinner, “Heeeere  polyethylene terephthalate,  polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene terephthalate!” By the time you finished calling, it would be time for breakfast. 

I used to have a pair of polyester pants. They were truly amazing. In the summer they would effectively hold in the heat and the humidity and in the winter they would give the ice-cold breezes a free pass. The only thing good about them was that they never ever lost their crease, no matter how many times you washed them. Which I never did because they always looked like they had just been pressed. One time, as an experiment, I tied them in knots. The next day the only problem was getting my legs into those damn knots. The crease was perfect! My legs were another story.

And then there are polyester sheets and pillowcases. They also do a great job of holding in the humidity so you stick to everything. A few years ago I was in Austin, Texas and like the trusting soul that I am, I retired without checking the sheet fabric. The next morning, I sat up and noticed the pillow was still attached to my cheek in a sort of fluffy “Elephant Man” fashion. My legs were stuck together like a nun’s at Coachella. And later, I noticed some of my arm flesh had become part of my chest. Not having a large chest to begin with, I considered this a positive attribute.  

And of course, the towels had to match the sheets. They too were mostly polyester. Maybe it’s a special they had: “Buy a sheet and we’ll throw in the towel!” Which is something I do when it comes to trying to sleep in those sheets. Speaking of the towels, they’re like drying off after a shower with a large piece of Glad Wrap. Its moisture-absorbing qualities hover around zero, but it is effective in moving the water from one area of your body to another. Go ahead, “dry off” your legs and you’ll find there’s now a pool of water around your feet. If you do it fast enough it actually makes it sound – sort of like a cloth squeegee. The only thing missing is the panhandler washing your car window before asking for spare change. 

And did I mention that polyester is somewhat flammable? It’s something you’ll probably notice as the melting fabric clings to your legs right before igniting. In the biz this is called a “Brazilian Fire Wax.”  And the best part is – you only have to do it once. No one has lived to need it a second time. It’s quite the effective hair remover…also unsightly skin and bone. 

Oh, I’m sure polyester is good for something, like maybe carrying that Dwarf Gouramis fish home that you just paid way too much for. Or scoring a gazillion points in Scrabble. Or maybe just quizzing your friends to see if they know what polyethylene terephthalate means. Because … now you know.

You’re welcome. 

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About The Author:

James Brownold

James Brownold

Jim Brownold started out in radio sales at WALL Middletown, NY. He quickly found they’d pay him the same to write funny commercials and do character voices. Then on to WRIF Detroit, and WPLJ in New York where he won numerous commercial awards. In 1986 he went freelance doing voiceovers and on-camera commercials. Jim has worked with various improv and comedy groups, and done stand-up at the Improvisation and Caroline’s among others. Recently he’s been teaching improv for Westchester Community Theater and Westchester Community College. As Senior Moments, Linda Hendrick and Jim sing at senior residences in Westchester and Connecticut.

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