This is a true story in which I was a participant.
A Midwest Town had only a few bagpipers to lead its St. Patrick's Day parade, so a number of Scots from a Neighboring Town used to come to beef up our numbers. The parade would end at Big Hotel, which was brimming with Irishmen tending the formidable thirst built up by their long march. We pipers were extremely popular in every suite, supplying music in exchange for free refreshments, which the Scots considered to be a Good Thing.
Now the Scots and Irish are closely-related peoples, sharing music, language and dance, but generally divided on religion, with the Irish mostly Catholic and the Scots mostly Protestant. This can be a Bad Thing, but in Midwest Town St. Patrick's Day was a Catholic day so the Protestants were welcomed in the spirit of the occasion. The whole subject generated no more trouble than some good-natured humor.
Now as the partying intensified it was not unusual for revelers to engage in a little kilt checking -- you know, to learn The Secret. So, early in the morning, Neighboring Town's Piper Jock decided to play a wee prank on the Irish. Before strapping on his kilt, Piper Jock donned his wife's bright orange bikini underpants. No gale can lift a heavy piper's kilt, so he was safe for the parade, but Piper Jock was going to have the last laugh on some tipsy Irish revelers at Big Hotel.
Well the parade left St. Patrick's Church in heavy snow squalls and 25 knot headwinds. Piper Jock was ever so smug about the extra warmth he'd packed under his kilt, as the band struggled against the storm.
But Piper Jock had overestimated the power of his wife's elastic to resist the severe downward taper of his beer belly. It was Drummer Paddy who first noticed Piper Jock twitching as the band approached Main Street. Drum-Major Mickey raised his mace for "The Minstrel Boy" as the band swung onto the avenue, and Piper Jock no longer had a hand free to prevent the inevitable.
Now, we pipers are accustomed to being "sensations" when we go out in our kilts, whether green or tartan, but we were stunned by laughter from the dense crowd of Heathens we were passing. D/M Mickey spun around and marched backwards, to boost our morale in the face of the Heathens. Instead, he joined in a guffaw that erupted among the drummers in back. We all turned to look as we marched.
10 seconds can be an eternity. Piper Jock stumbled twice, like a hog- tied bull. Just as it seemed certain that he'd been struck by a bullet or a stroke, out from under his kilt slid the flaming orange panties.
Jock lurched, his pipes tangling harmlessly in my own. Five hundred people cheered as Jock somersaulted down the avenue, revealing The Secret to the world, desperately struggling to free himself from the boldest, brightest "idiot" sign on earth.
Mickey played us continuously into the lobby of Big Hotel. Jock got a lot of extra attention from the ladies that day, for his fresh war wounds. But he has forever after been greeted among pipers with his personal, inescapable anthem, "The Wearin' o' the Green."
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