Friday, December 9, 2011

Firewater Friday - Maggie's Drawers

Maggie’s Drawers . . . a strange expression, to be sure.  I came across it while reading a book that made reference to Lee Harvey Oswald's shooting skills.  According to the testimony given to the Warren Commission by a fellow Marine: "I remember seeing his [shooting]. It was a pretty big joke, because he got a lot of "Maggie's drawers," you know, a lot of misses, but he didn't give a darn . . ."

Among old time military types, it means to miss something completely.  On a military rifle range when a shooter misses their target the spotter in the pit waves a red flag indicating a miss. 

The targets are generally a fair distance away from the shooters, so the flag has to be big enough so that it can be seen by the people on the firing line. The large flag is reputed to be as big as "Maggie's Drawers” (underwear).

. . . "it was quite funny to look at, because he would get a couple of disks. Maybe out of a possible ten he'll get two or three Maggie's drawers. Now, these [the Maggie's drawers] are a red flag that's on a long pole, and this is running from left to right on the target itself. And, you don't see this on a firing line too often--not a Marine firing line. . . And we thought it was funny that Oswald was getting these Maggie's drawers so rapidly, one after the other. And this is why I can't think that he could be a good shot, because a good shot doesn't pull this. He'll pull a three, but he won't pull a Maggie's drawer-- that's a complete miss."

The expression is a reference to an old . . . albeit obscene . . .  folksong.  There are different versions of the ditty but I will spare you and share a milder . . .  but still nasty . . .  rendition. 

Those Old Red Flannel Drawers That Maggie Wore

They were wrinkled at the top,
For a nickel they would drop,
Those old red flannel drawers that Maggie wore.

They were baggy at the knees,
And the crotch was full of cheese,
Those old red flannel drawers that Maggie wore.

There were maggots in the cheese,
You could hear the bastards wheeze,
Those old red flannel drawers that Maggie wore.

May you never shoot Maggie's Drawers.

1 comment:

  1. Oswald's documented marksmanship ability was nothing special. Decent, but not spectacular. "Marksman" (the rating achieved by Oswald during his Marine service) is the lowest of the three qualification ratings used in both the US Army and US Marine Corps. Sharpshooter and Expert are the two ratings above Marksman. Any Marine rifleman is proficient, but this hardly proves the Warren Commission's official version of the "Lone Gunman" and "Magic Bullet" explanations of the JFK assassination. I would wave "Maggies Drawers" at the Warren Commission report!