We here at the C.A.V.E. (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) Society held an emergency meeting this week to discuss the latest example of government overreach.
Specifically, it's Florida Senate Bill 104, a proposed law that would extend the long arm of government into our underwear.
The lead instigator of Florida's panty police is state Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando. Her bill forbids stores to allow customers to try on intimate apparel, which is defined as lower undergarments and swimsuit bottoms, unless that item is tried on over clothes or with a disposable shield.
"If a customer tries on an item of intimate apparel in violation of this section, the item is considered defective, and the retail store may not sell the item," the bill says.
This country was founded on the principle that all men are entitled to the Fruits of their Looms. And if the pursuit of happiness includes a woman's quest for the proper-fitting thong —- even though thongs, by their very nature, aren't engineered to fully do the job — what right does the government have to intervene?
At least that was the prevailing sentiment at the CAVE Society's meeting.
As the local chapter's president, I tried to calm things down, but the consensus in the room was that there was an excellent free-market solution to this sticky underwear situation.
Florida's not the first state to consider panty legislation.
A couple of years ago, New York considered, but failed to pass a bill that would have fined stores that re-shelved used lingerie and intimate apparel. The effort was sparked by an undercover report by NBC News, in which reporters intentionally stained and returned underwear, later to find that the items had been put back on sale in several retail stores.
Most stores have policies against re-selling returned underwear. And they require shoppers who want to try on intimate apparel to either wear their own clothing under what they're trying on, or try on undergarments with protective shields inside them.
But mistakes are sometimes made by the sales staff, and lawmakers are prone to overreact.
Thompson is trying to pass the bill next year, her second attempt to do so. The "intimate apparel bill," as it is called, died a premature death in the tourism committee this year.
I guess that's because Florida wouldn't dream of offending tourists, even those who leave more than dollars behind.
Thompson has said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has inspired her to push for this bill.
But we here at C.A.V.E. think that this level of precaution is unnecessary.
How many people suffering from the infectious and debilitating stage of Ebola's hemorrhagic fever are going to be popping into their local Victoria's Secret to try on the Dream Angels Lace Trim Thong Panties, or ambling into Walmart to return an opened five-pack of the Life by Jockey men's bikini briefs?
Rather than create a new law, C.A.V.E. supports the idea of farming out the job of store dressing room panty and underwear monitoring to the private sector.
We are confident that there is no shortage of hardworking Floridians who would be more than happy to stand in and around store dressing rooms and lend the full extent of their sensory talents to make sure that this pressing social issue is properly addressed.
In fact, numerous members of C.A.V.E. have expressed interest on a volunteer basis.
The government doesn't need to get involved. We've got this one.
— Palm Beach Post