Columnist for Sunday, 3/11 - Pakeha


People stink. It's a hard fact to face for many, but true. People have stunk for a great deal of their time on Earth. From the fetid jungle in their gums to the crusty crack of their ass, people stink. However, some time in the distant past, one relatively enlightened dude caught a whiff of himself and just about passed out. Some developing "civilized" part of his brain told him that the scent rising from his armpits was BAD. Then the wind shifted, enveloping him in the miasma hovering over his small settlement, and he almost lost his meager, bland-tasting lunch. People stink, but large gatherings of people really pong. The newly developing part of his brain set him to thinking,. The impulse must have stemmed from a desire to distance humans from the natural world. Just as we built walls to keep out animals and the elements, we started to built walls around our nostrils. For the next few weeks, our hero madly combed the countryside, rubbing leaves and such under his arms in the search for something to mask his funk. Sadly, few experiments ended successfully. Mostly, he got lots of rashes. Those compounds that did manage to give his nose a reprieve invariably turned out to be exceedingly rare. Scent became a mark of class. Only a privileged few could afford not to reek. If you smelled like Cologne water, you were high born. If you smelled like shit, you were low born. It's good to be the king.

Today we try to hide our odors with everything from $5000 an ounce perfume to generic mouthwash. We shower and brush our teeth and coat our underarms with all sorts of inflammable concoctions. A multi-billion-dollar industry has been built from hiding our stench. I'm American, so I believe in showers and brushing my teeth. I consider it a multicultural experience to have my Puritan nose hairs singed by someone else's idea of hygiene. UC Santa Cruz was a truly rich source of such experience. Nevertheless, I do use deodorant. My coworkers are now thanking me. As with all commodities, it pisses me off that the toiletry companies are trying to find new ways for me to pay even more for their crap, namely gels. I don't give a toss if it's new, and cool, and clear. I don't want that nasty stuff in my pits. Give me a stick any day. Also, I'm not partial to having my sweat glands plugged with aluminum compounds. People mistakenly conflate sweating and stinking. Because of this stupidity, it's sometimes difficult to find a simple deodorant rather than a antiperspirant. Never let them see you sweat? Well, I'm not likely to crack a sweat while sitting on my ass in a cube for 10 hours. When I run or play soccer, I sweat so much I'd have to cover my body in antiperspirant. Ick.

Everything can be taken to extremes. Case in point: Feminine Deodorant Spray. I understand that this product owes its existence mostly to the Pill, which tends to make the female bits smell a little stronger. Frankly ladies, it's supposed to whiff and if it's truly rank, you shouldn't be spraying it. You should take it to a doctor.

As final proof, I draw upon doctrine that has served as a foundation of Western Civilization: two out of three Wise Men chose to give little baby Jesus a deodorant.


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