My Deoderant Scares Me

I have one of those stupid and obnoxiously unpredictable body chemistries that will suddenly decide it no longer likes my favorite products.  I’ve used Secret antiperspirant for years.  It liked me.  I liked it.  We were happy.  Until….

I was at work and thought one of my colleagues hadn’t showered…ever…in their lives.  As improbable as that seemed; it was the only logical choice.  Surely it could not be me.  

How does one discreetly check their pits for foul play?   You can’t really raise your arms and fake a stretch.  What if the source is you and you basically just opened the mustard gas canister by doing a fake out big girl stretch.  Pretending to stretch the kink out of your neck only works if you have a giraffe neck that can get your nose down by your armpit.  What to do?   I opted to fake incontinence and made a mad bathroom dash to root out the answer once and for all.  Long story short?   It was me.  I started to doubt myself.  

When was the last time I showered?  This morning?  Yes.  Wait…maybe I just dreamed that I showered and I’m really the smelly kid.  I wish wine for breakfast was socially acceptable on days like these but instead of buying liquor for lunch I drove in a panicked state to the local CVS and walked in like my arms were nailed to my side.  I usually have a long stride complete with accompanying arm levering.  Not this time, kid.  Nuh-uh.   I walked like my knees were glued together and my arms were broken.  I figured the pained smile on my face would be enough to distract everyone away from my ridiculous presence.  I picked up a “motion activated” deodorant that was supposed to be “powder fresh”.  It smelled rather delicate and lovely in its container.  I fancied myself a powder fresh kind of gal.  Clean. Crisp.  Everyone loves babies.  They smell delicious.  Comforting baby powder.  Right?  Right?   Wrong.  It’s fucking awful.  

Apparently the baby powder was rancid and dipped in road kill.  I didn’t see the road kill part on the label.  I should have read the fine print.  It’s like that time I bought a size medium jacket and the arms only came down to my elbow, and I could only fit one arm in at a time. I returned it stating it was probably a child’s medium. 

So it’s motion activated.  I assume this means the more active I am the stronger the smell gets.  Does it escalate?  What if I’m making copies at the office.  Is it only mildly pungent?   What if I’m at a wedding doing the chicken dance?  My in-laws are Polish- it’s bound to happen.  

So I googled how to remove deodorant.  Alcohol.  Because that would feel so great on freshly shaved armpits.  

I give up.

I went back to the same CVS with much more attitude this time and got shower fresh.  If it smells like a funeral home it will be an improvement.  Mr. Charming who really enjoys screaming my name to the entire store while I’m checking out there notes loudly to me that I had just purchased a similar product not even 4 hours before.  I smiled and murmured, “Yes, I know.  I decided on something different.”

Scooter was not sated with something discreet and subdued.  Awwww hell naw.  We need to break this shit down.  “But ma’am!  If you were unsatisfied then you should have brought the unfinished item back for a refund.”  I noted his words not catching up with his mouth like a badly dubbed Kung Fu movie and he finished his very loud announcement with a whispered version of “for a full refund.”  Fanfreakingtastic.  

I tartly asked if I could just please buy my personal hygiene item and go run my truck off a cliff in a fit of despair and embarrassment;  like the rest of the people he checks out.  I’d hate to see what he does with tampons or KY.  He waived his hand in the air as if conjuring the deodorant fairy who would clearly educate me on proper application.  “Madam”, he exclaimed, “I believe in customer service.”   

I stood there – aghast.  I just want my deodorant.  That’s all.  No more, no less.  I want my deodorant but this is now being drowned out by the larger desire to knock him unconscious with his price gun.  

I laid my hands on the counter, “Ring up this purchase so I can leave please.  This is the last time I will say please.  I expect that I will be out of this door within the next 30 seconds.” 
  

At this point there is a line AND grumbling in the line.  However there are a few that are awaiting a fight.   Their heads are slowly bobbing back and forth taking in the rising tension between me a Scooter.  A few, I can tell, are gleeful.  They probably haven’t seen a fight since Black Friday and want more blood.  Bastards. 

He calls a compatriot to assist with the line which I would like to point out, he has caused.  Shoplifting would have been quicker and easier for cripes sake.   As he’s hanging up he decides to once more appeal to my senses about my refusal to bring in the old deodorant.   I refuse to give in even though it is now being announced publicly over the intercom since he has not properly hung up.  

He opens his mouth again and I raised my voice loudly stating that my mother has fallen and I have to leave.   He asked how I knew.  I declared I was psychic.  He looked dubious.  Screw him.  

“Ten seconds to ring me up or I’m leaving whether I’ve paid for this or not.”

“Madam!” He fans himself.  “Are you telling me you’ll steal that?”  

Now a manager shows up and raises an eyebrow. “Ma’am?  Is there a problem?”

I hate authority.  They hate me.  It’s a fair arrangement.  It’s even.  I want to stick my tongue out at him.   

“No.  Yes.  I don’t have any problem other than not being able to make my purchase.”

“This?”, he inquires….holding up my deodorant. 

“Sweet precious hell.  Yes!   Yes!   I would like to buy that AND LEAVE!”

Manager turns to converse with Scooter.  

I turned to the woman behind to was hiding her hand behind her mouth.  She moved it long enough to silently mouth the words, “I hate him” to me.  I nodded and then turned on my heel and left.  

Some days I’m up for the fight.  Most days actually.  And then other days, I would really really like to get a pass for throwing myself on the floor and throwing the mother of all temper tantrums.  This time I opted for retreat.  Sometimes you can smell pretty just by shopping at another place.  

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Downsized

My mother and I are polar opposites; from personality to humor to fashion to decorating.  When I was younger she worried that I was “too punk” which in her defense I could totally see from the ONE TIME I wore a sweatshirt with the collar cut out a la Flashdance as opposed to my Gap button down shirt.  She doesn’t overreact at all….ever…

For the record, she cut it in half and threw it away and informed me much later in her mamadonegotlofty voice which was a combination of bitchy/authoritarian/sympathetic/lesson-teaching/soprano which I actually heard again the other day while helping them move which is what prompted this writing.

My husband saw the physical reaction I had to that acid tone seeping from her bedroom into the hallway and after the brief fight I walked out and snarled, “You just got a glimpse of my teenage years.”

My dad used to joke that you knew I was up because that’s when the screaming started.  We just had that kind of relationship.  We fought over everything, including whether water was wet.  Honestly it would not have surprised me if a boxing announcer showed up to my house one day anywhere from the ages of 11 through 19 and blasted:

IN THIS CORNER, IN THE BLACK ARGYLE SWEATER, WEIGHING IN AT 598 POUNDS IF YOU INCLUDE THE ATTITUDE….MISS SHANNON “BOOM BOOM” TEENAGAH.  AND IN THIS CORNER, IN THE COTTON CANDY PINK TEDDYBEAR SWEATSHIRT THAT SAYS “BEARLY HANGING ON” WEIGHING IN AT NONEOFYOURDAMNBUSINESS IS MRS. MAMABEAR “DON’TYOUUSETHATTONEWITHMEMISSY” ADULTYPANTS.  OK LADIES, MAKE IT A CLEAN FIGHT.  NO HOLYFIELD EAR LOSSES.

DING

OH MAMABEAR IS GOING IN FOR THE UNHOLY TEENAGE DEVIL SPAWN KILL.  BOOM BOOM DUCKS AND COUNTERS WITH A YOU’RERUININGMYLIFE WAIL WHICH HAS BROUGHT MAMABEAR TO TEARS.  WE CAN’T BE SURE IF IT’S LAUGHTER OR GUILT.  WAIT, WAIT JIM.  I THINK SHE JUST CALLED BOOM BOOM AN UNGRATEFUL BEAST.  BOOM BOOM ASKED WHAT SHE SHOULD BE GRATEFUL FOR.  OOOOOP.  OOOOF.  THOSE TEARS ARE REAL.   MAMABEAR IS GOING DOWN.  I DON’T BELIEVE IT!  MAMABEAR IS GOING DOWN.  SHE’S ON THE ROPES.  BOOM BOOM IS CIRCLING AROUND HER WITH WHAT COULD ONLY BE INTERPRETED AS A SMUG GRIN.  MAMA IS BACK.  MAMA IS UP ON HER FEET!  WAIT SHE JUST PULLED THE PENULTIMATE MAMA STUNT.  “I GAVE YOU LIFE”.  BOOM BOOM IS DOWN.  JIM!  WOULD YOU LOOK AT THE ONE LONE TEAR ROLLING DOWN HER CHEEK.  NOW MAMA IS CRYING BECAUSE BOOM BOOM IS CRYING.  THIS FIGHT IS A DRAW!  THIS FIGHT IS A DRAW!  THEY ARE BOTH KNOCKED OUT.

I could try to analyze it or I can be grateful for how close we are now.  I choose to believe that I was a model child and she had a long long bout of menopause; clearly rendering us both victims in this scenario.  So…tone set?  Great, let’s get on with it.

As previously mentioned, my parents moved back home.  They ran away for 14 years and have finally come back to their home state.  In the midst of unpacking I SHIT YOU NOT, 20 sets of placemats and napkins, 42 pot holders, 65 doilies, 24 baskets, 2 sets of dishes complete with butter dishes, creamers and sugar bowls et. al.

Because clearly the next White House Correspondents Dinner will be held at Mom’s house

I spent a healthy chunk of time unpacking stuff and literally spitting with disbelief whilst documenting via a downward pictorial spiral on Facebook, complete with a photo of Santa in the closet.  It’s not that I’m not sentimental.  I can be.  My mother had a 458,000 knick knacks, insisting that these things make a home.  My grandmother was even worse.  We now live in a world were what was once a sign of either wealth or knowledge  or contentment, shelves full of books and music and photograph albums; now is all digital.  Is this what it’s like to get rid of generations past?  Is it as easy as a snake shedding it’s skin?

I remember having a shirt of a friend who died long ago.  It smelled like him.  On the days that missing him was more than I could bear I would pull the shirt from its hiding place and hold it to my nose and breathe in all that was once him and feel the heartbreak all over again.  That smell slowly disappated day by day.  I would hold the shirt up to my body and wrap my arms around it as if I were wrapped in his embrace.  I would put it back in its bag and grieve again and again and again, though every time, a little less.  In my darkest hours that shirt was there as a reminder that I had once loved.  When I thought I had no emotion left I would pull that shirt out and remember that I had once loved and what I had once loved.  I used to put that quantitative value on him solely, until much much later, I realized that what I loved was life.  I loved life – with him in it to be sure, but nonetheless, my love affair was with life.  Then one day I realized I couldn’t smell him anymore.  That unique stamp of humanity was gone.  It didn’t make the value of that last relic any less valuable but it did make it less tangible just like my grief.  It wasn’t as razor sharp.  It was buried, deeper and deeper under the layers of sarcasm that usually hide the deeper, softer side that is very much intact.  I still miss him.  There are times I’ll see someone who reminds me of him and I have to stop and hold my heart in place as I realize the girl that once knew him is now a woman much older and wiser than he or I ever thought we’d be.  We were Bonnie and Clyde.  We were rebellious and wild and naive; and I have long outlived the age that we carelessly etched in our minds as the date of our demise.  He made it there.  I didn’t.

Does this translate to trading new views for old ones? My once young and ambitious and idealistic views have hardened a bit.  I’m more realistic now.  I cherish life now and never again will that confusion of loving life be dulled with apathy.  I cherish life and try my best to give some small voice of reason to those who need it.  I no longer try to save the world, only those in my corner of the world who need it.  I’ve shed the lofty ambitions and now see the world in more structured terms.

Where I once used to threaten to turn my mothers doilies into a naughty bikini I now realize that one day, those will be handed down, along with my grandmother’s chowder recipe.  I am mightily blessed.  I have family and friends who teach me everyday.  A couple I know and adore is moving this weekend.  I saw the love in the house that hasn’t yet become a home.  I saw their belongings packed in boxes and bags and had to stop for a moment and think that once, 40 something years ago, my mother was here, in this emotional place of turning a house into a home in whichever way home was for defined her.

Some people say I’m wise.  I received a text from a friend today seeking advice with the opening plea, “Tell me oh wise one.”  I tend to think of myself more as the inner drunken child/comedians voice slyly poking away at the universal questions of life and love and challenging the status quo.

Wise?  I’ll take it.

Just not wrapped in a doily.

You Don’t Really Love Them Until….

you want to kill them.   I’m truly convinced of this fact. I saw this quote somewhere not too long ago and laughed as I repeated it to my husband.  He was channel surfing at the time and looked up briefly as he muttered, “You’ve got that right.”  I’m not sure if it’s girl code to toss my hair and get mad at that, but if it was I failed.  I found it hilarious.

We were out to dinner with friends and mentioned this in comic passing.  We were told by one of the couples attending that they never felt that way.  Ever.  Never.  Ever. 

church-lady

Most days I love my quirky husband.  Strike that.  I love him every day.  He is kind and generous and sweet and funny and goofy and makes me laugh.  He’s honest and loyal.  He puts up with all of my shit and rarely does he ever complain.  He’s stood by my side through everything.  Hurricane Sandy knocked down his parents house like some villian out of a fairy tale and displaced them into our house for four months.  I am set in my ways.  I am a capable woman who has her own way of doing things.  My mother in law has a very different idea of how things should be done.     We’re both right by the way.  My daughter and at the time infant grandson lived with us.  It’s safe to say that the strain was not easy for any of us but there he stood like a rock holding the rest of us together as conflict painted the walls of our house.  Their loss, our frustration, everyone else’s advice of what we did right or wrong took its toll.  We’re fine now, but it took some time and distance for us all to move past what could essentially be boiled down to being in each other’s hip pockets for too long.  There was a point that his family was pitted against his family.  Old versus new.  It was never fatal but it did hurt.  It taught us a lot about ourselves and taught me all I ever needed to know about my husband.  Magilla let’s everyone do their thing.  If I want to paint the house electric blue and hot pink, he’s game.  If I want to take up pottery, if I want to learn French, if I want to travel the world, if I want to throw things and rage at how sexist or mean or rude or petty life can be, he just calmly listens and then asks what we’re having for dinner.  

He also has manstruation.  This occurs during the new moon which usually coincides with my PMS.  Our dog Hellhound usually bobs her head back and forth as we argue.  He’s convinced that because of his birth sign, it’s his God given right to act hormonal.  I informed him that I farted the first three notes of Formation but it doesn’t make me a Beyoncé tribute band no matter how I love her hat and if he wants to go to Red Lobster…

He was not amused. And all the while our dog just looks back and forth like, “Great hoooomans, which one of you is going to take me out to poop?”

I love the man but some days…

Oh I’m the only wife that feels this way?   Hmmm, interesting.  

So my love affair with Mr. Magilla is not a simple one.  I don’t think any love affair is simple.  Nothing is as complex as love.  As a couple, you know exactly what buttons to push and when.  You know how to make them laugh or cry.  Hallelujah.  

There’s a blaze of light in every word

It doesn’t matter what you heard

The holy or the broken hallelujah 

Leonard Cohen sang it well; this song of love- lifting and straining and sweating and needing and pulsing and faltering and breaking and building and ultimately reflecting.  All that love is – in it’s brutal, splendid glory plays out in his words.  It’s not neat and tidy.  I love romantic movies as much as the next girl but they truly are misleading.  As young girls we were taught to wait for Prince Charming; that he would take us away from all of thisssss.  This what?  Define this.  Did they ever warn us that Prince Charming farts in his sleep and snores and scratches his nether regions while watching football and tells the same joke so many times you start to sneer the punchline?  No.  They don’t you that part.  Nor do they tell you that he whines when he’s sick and that his version of housecleaning does not include dusting in spite of the many paper towels used while spraying Windex in the toilet to clean it.  Nor do they tell you that when you finally lose it one morning three months after your father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s that he will silently sit beside you holding you as you cry out your fear and anguish over losing Daddy- the original Prince Charming who held you as a child the way your adult Prince is holding you now before you knew what the grown up version of love is.  They don’t tell you that he always makes sure there’s paper towels and toilet paper and cookies in the house just in case you have a bad day or the flu.  They don’t tell you that he always emails you at work to tell you the silly details of his day that simply and purely make him…him- who he is and what you found princely in him way back when the fairy tale began. 

I wonder if when Mr. Cohen wrote that song he realized how many people it would speak to.  It came from a very personal and what seems to be painful place and like all art it is subject to interpretation. There are some who will read this think my writing career is spent hacking on Magilla and others will realize this is my heart and soul which both belong to him being poured out on the page.  

Art is subject to opinion and interpretation…but what if life is the same way?  What if my Prince Charming is subject to my interpretation of the highs and lows of my experiences?

There is one certainty.  Life and love are perfectly imperfect.  The beauty within us and around us is defined by imperfection and the simplistic truth that imperfection leaves us constant room for improvement and enlightenment.  

I don’t believe in going backwards.  I never did.  I do believe that my Prince may be your frog.  And we should all allow the room for each other to find our own hallelujah.  

Why Can’t You Cure Technology With An Antibiotic?

I could talk about politics but that would only be slightly more preferable than dental irrigation with a fire hose.  I’ve gone underground for a couple of weeks simply because of the negativity saturation of the last few weeks.  Trust me when I say anything I would have written would have so laced with profanity and nastiness…..really I do have a filter *MOM* and I use it.  I’ve smudged my house to get rid of the bad juju (and by that I mean I ate a pound cake as I drank Pinot Grigio and loudly exclaimed THANK GOD THAT CRAP IS OVER WITH.

I would like to discuss my hate/hate relationship with technology.  It’s an asshole. I’m one of those special people who thinks that technology peaked with microwave popcorn.  I’m a simple gal.  When people start talking gigs and bytes and RAM and wireless, I tend to get snippy just because I don’t understand it.  I get a glazed stare which denotes lack of caring and comprehension and then I start singing Ani DiFrano….and if you’re too young and tech savvy to get that reference, then I double the sentiment.

*walks away …….and y0ur untouchable face….*

I will throw down gangster style and tough talk a blender for having too many buttons, usually hissing and spitting like a Tom and Jerry  cartoon until my daughter calmly walks over and hits the start button.  I’m convinced it’s a genetic defect as I once heard my mother call a blender a whore.  I’m just saying.  Nonetheless I fully admit that the more challenging the appliance, the more I bear a resemblance to Al Pacino in Scarface; complete with saying ridiculous shit like…

al-pacino-scarface-say-hello-to-my-little-friend-universal__opt

Which for the record…..my little friend is usually a wooden spoon.

I figure that if we can cure things like strep throat or gonorrhea with an antibiotic shouldn’t we at least have a specialist who can give us a shot for technophobia?  I literally wet myself laughing over people who get bananas over the Droid/iPhone debate and which is better and why.

I’m one of those people who have simple criteria; like when purchasing a car…

My first question is how’s the sound system?  So yes, please defend the honor of said operating system.  Sometimes when I’m bored at cocktail parties, I’ll annouce that I’m thinking of upgrading my phone just to watch the melee of statistics and phone dry humping that will ensue.  It’s like watching that freaky thing from Lord of the Rings.

You think Droid is better?

my-precious

I believe there should be no more than 5 buttons on any given thing including my cell phone.  If it’s so frigging smart it should know who I want to call.  My washer and dryer sing to me.  My house phone gives me the option of Ode to Joy ring tone or Swanee River as a ringtone.  My food processor only works if it’s aligned just so and I talk dirty to it.  My breadmaker basically flips me off while leaning nonchalantly against my counter smoking a lucky strikes as leers, “Whatchu wanna make baby.  Nah, I can’t do that.”  We won’t even discuss what an asshole my pasta maker is.  Last night I was babysitting my grandson.  He’s four and half and goes by the name Fat Baby.  He bragged to all his friends that he had a date with me and Magilla while Mommy and Daddy went on their movie date and we were going to watch Finding Dory in our jammies and make “real” popcorn.  So after dinner and a bath and STOP!  JAMMIE TIME (you think I’m kidding but I’m not.  We do this almost every night complete with MC Hammer dance moves) I was popping popcorn on the stove with a whirlygig pot last night with wee baby child.  He was delicately balanced on his step stool, leaning against the counter and inadvertently hitting the buttons on our dishwasher which started singing to me as the dryer was ending its cycle and also started singing.  My husband noticed the panic in my eyes at the obvious rise of the machines and started singing O Solo Mio because he’s sadistic.  Before anyone thinks I hate my husband – know this; anyone who’s ever heard him sing will back me up on this.  His favorite movie is Jaws.  His second favorite movie is Titanic.  We don’t know why, but what we do know is that sometimes, when he’s working in the basement or garage we will hear strains of My Heart Will Go On in a warbling, awful, sounds like a hippo getting a gastrological exam without the benefit of the barium cleanse kind of voice.  I’ve never heard anything like it and will probably record and post it once I figure out how to do that on my phone and/or WordPress.  If this ever does happen please realize that it probably took several family interventions to prevent me from putting my phone and laptop in the oven/garbage/washing machine/fish tank/or under the tires of my truck.  I spoke to a friend about getting a tablet and instead of laughing at me as he DAMN WELL should have done he got all excited and started praising Apple products.

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I honestly don’t even know how I publish this manifesto of idiocy.  If anyone knows of a solution, please let me know; just not via anything with more than five buttons.