By Grant McGee: CNJ columnist
The Lady of the House wants me to start using deodorant.
Um, I should clarify that.
The Lady of the House wants me to start using deodorant instead of
antiperspirant. It seems most antiperspirants use some kind of aluminum
compound to keep a body from sweating. She says we don’t need aluminum
floating around in our bodies.
I don’t know when I started using deodorant. I probably got the word
from Coach Hill in eighth-grade gym class. He’s the same dude who told
me I needed to carry a comb in my pocket, to not wear a plaid shirt
with plaid pants and taught me how to catch a football.
He wasn’t able to teach me how to dribble a basketball though.
I also became mindful of body odor because of a story my dad told of his Army days during World War II.
“There was this boy from the mountains who wouldn’t shower because
he was afraid of showering with the rest of us,” he said. “After a
while this old boy began to stink. Our sergeant said if we didn’t
‘convince’ this guy to shower then there’d be K.P. for the whole unit.”
K.P. stood for kitchen patrol and I could just imagine my dad peeling potatoes as he told the story.
“One night a bunch of us grabbed him, hauled him into the shower and
scrubbed him down with some lye soap and a wire brush. He showered
every day after that.”
They sure did things differently back in 1941.
So what do you do here in the 21st century if you have a co-worker
who has an odor problem? You can’t haul them off outside, soak ’em with
a hose then scrub ’em down with a wire brush. Somebody has to get up
the nerve to talk to them. Or maybe leave them a “gift pack” of bath
soap and deodorant.
I know about such things because long ago and far away I worked at a
place where a young lady came to work every day with a powerful heapin’
helpin’ of body odor. Yvonne was our new co-worker’s name. She said she
had spent the previous two years at a hippie commune getting “back to
the land,” shunning modern conveniences and gardening naked in the sun.
After she told us this part I had a sudden urge to quit my job and
run off to that commune and help those folks with their gardenin’.
Every day, folks who came to do business would wrinkle their noses
and give Nancy the front office lady sideways glances as if to say,
“Don’t you smell that?” or “Is that you?”
“I’m tired of people thinking I stink,” Nancy hissed at me one day. Yvonne was off to lunch.
“What do you want me to do about it? She’s a girl, I’m a guy. A woman needs to talk to her.”
“It’s unwritten chick code,” I said. “How come the boss won’t talk to her?”
“He said the same thing you said.”
A couple of days later Yvonne came to work without a scent. And the next day, and the next and the next.
“Did you talk to her?” I asked Nancy.
“Yeah, yeah I did,” she said with a satisfied smile. “I told her if
she didn’t start using deodorant I would grab her by the ear and throw
her in the river.”
I guess that’s better than lye soap and a wire brush.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org