Monday 13 November 2017

We Stink Part II

I kind of got side tracked in yesterday’s blog. I had been thinking about deodorant for a while and what I had planned to say somehow didn’t get included.

The modern deodorants are antiperspirants which attempt to halt perspiring. I’m guessing that is the intention going by the name. I don’t know if that is even possible as perspiring is a way we humans have of cooling down. I guess if you lived in a perfectly climate controlled environment, did not over exert yourself, didn’t get the meat sweats at Thanksgiving and Christmas and somehow managed to kill any sex drive an antiperspirant would work.

I have heard of deodorant pads and deodorants that would work for multiple days, but I have my doubts. If those things do work, I wouldn’t know about them because my nose wouldn’t be able to detect them in a crowd. Maybe there are sweet smelling people walking among us…maybe.

I have been using a wax based deodorant for close to fifty years. I did experiment with CFCs in the seventies, but I personally put the planet ahead of smelling sweet. Anyways, the wax based deodorant promises to stop odours from perspiration. The only way to accomplish that would be to totally seal the sweat glands under my arms. That is where the wax comes in I suppose. Mind you, if the wax does in fact seal the sweat glands and not allow sweat to pass then wouldn’t it stop moisture going the other way?

The way I figure it, I haven’t really been able to clean my armpits for at least fifty years. They must be pretty grooty by now. I could use turpentine to remove the wax but that would be pretty painful. Maybe I could use a paint scraper and a heat gun. Again, pretty painful. Besides, if I did manage to remove the wax build up the smell would most likely kill me. I have a large nose.

No, I will keep going the way I have for most of my life and let future archaeologists try to figure out why the people from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty first centuries have wax covered armpits that don’t decay and smell like Ocean surf. 

Sunday 12 November 2017

We Stink

I have read that the main reason human ancestors managed to survive long enough to become the dominant species on this planet is that we stink and taste bad. Sure, we also have opposable thumbs which enable us to fashion and handle tools, a large brain that tells us when it is smarter to run than to fight. Almost always is the correct answer. However, our survival is really due to the horrific smell our bodies can generate.

I suspect that in the distant past when we lived in caves the smell we created would keep most predators at bay. A strategically placed fire would take care of the rest. I don’t know why the smell didn’t keep us from each other thus ending the homo-whateverwewere. We must have managed to ignore the defensive smell we created. It could be that a small cave filled with aromatic wood smoke helped somewhat.

Fast forward a few hundred thousand years and we would be in the beginnings of civilization. Instead of just a few smelly individuals squatting around a fire, fighting over the last bone, there were tens of thousands of us working our asses off building a pyramid for some king that wasn’t smart enough to have someone taste test his food. Writing may have been invented, but there was still the vestigial body odour from our ancient past. Luckily for us we had devised a method of making aromatic oils which we would slather on our bodies to mask our smell. This had an added benefit of cleaning our bodies when we scraped the oil off every now and then. Our skin was soft to the touch as well.

Thru the centuries since then we have continued to mask our stink with oils pressed from flowers, trees and some minerals. There has never been a perfect system, just ride any subway or bus at the end of a long, hot workday and you will know exactly what I am talking about.

A few decades ago, the deodorant of choice was spray on. It was effective, convenient, and easy to use and it contained Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which nearly destroyed the ozone layer of the planet. Our bad.

Just recently, I had to buy a new stick of deodorant which is always difficult for me. When I am in the deodorant aisle, it is like a stoner with the munchies standing in front of a candy counter. I just can’t make a decision. I would like to be one of those guys that smell wonderful all of the time. I fear that I am one of those guys that just smell old. I have come to the point in my life where I am really just happy if I don’t smell of socks, urine or shit. Instead of picking a new scent, I stuck with the “Ocean Surf” that I have used for a long time. The name is misleading; it doesn’t smell like the ocean, no dead fish or rotting seaweed, but a faint, fresh smell.

I have the feeling that “Ocean Surf” has the same odour as my distant ancestors in the jungle did, since I have never been attacked by lions, bears or wild boars.

Saturday 4 November 2017

Five Months Away

I was born at Saint Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario Canada.

Well, that is what I was told, I was too little at the time to remember and my parents were for the most part truthful. The hospital did burn to the ground a few years after I was born so there are no records to prove it one way or the other. It doesn’t matter to the blog, but at times I think I could be an offshoot (bastard) of some Eastern European royal family. According to my wife the “bastard” part is certainly correct.

I grew up in Southern Ontario and spent most of my adult life delivering mail and living in Alberta. Suffice to say I am no stranger to cold weather.

As a child I spent hours and hours shovelling the longest driveway in the history of driveways only to have the plough dump more snow at the end shortly after I finished.. Well, it seemed that way to me. My brother and the neighbour kids and I would spend a good portion of that time making forts, snow angels and having snowball fights. I should say that since I was one of the younger kids I was on the receiving end of most of the snowballs. It was all lots of fun though.

I fell into a job at the Post Office that required me to be outside for the better part of my workday. Most of the year it was a fantastic job, but during the winter I learned how to stay warm in spite of the weather. In many ways I was and am very proud of earning a living while it was too cold for most others to even venture outside unless they had to. I was involved in scouting and took the kids on a few winter camps. I can’t say that I enjoyed tenting in the snow, but it was an experience.

So, I am able to weather the weather.

Having stated my qualifications, I want to register a complaint with Mother Nature.


It is just the beginning of November; we should have cold nights and brisk days. I should have time to rake up those last few leaves that have blown into the hedges. I should have a nice sunny day to put the Christmas lights up. I should be able to talk to the neighbours in the alley for another month or two. I was planning on doing a few November bike rides. It would be cool, but refreshing. I had plans for November!

Instead I get winter! Today I woke up to about 15 CMs of snow and a -12°C with the wind chill of -23°C. There is no respite for at least seven days and the weatherman said that the snow will be on the ground until the spring. Well, unless we get a few fantastic Chinook winds. The best I can hope for is that when I put up the Christmas lights I will be used to cold weather and -10 without a wind will seem balmy. No bike rides; no talking to neighbours; no raking last minute leaves and no slowly getting acclimated to cooler weather slowly.

Ah well, spring is only five months away. Sigh...

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Sugar Emergency

Day after Hallowe’en.
 Image result for halloween
There is a lot less candy in the house than there was yesterday afternoon. Is it wrong for a senior citizen to begrudge those kids that came and took his candy? I will admit that some of them were pretty cute and deserved a fistful of candy. There were others that came to the door without discernable costumes and sullen expressions on their faces like they shouldn’t have to lower themselves to knocking on doors for candy. Little bastards!

Thankfully the weather wasn’t optimal for going door to door and it was a school night so I retained a good amount of candy for myself. Louise might want some of the candy, but she gets half of everything no matter what.
 Image result for vintage halloween
I can remember the planning that went into Hallowe’en. My buds and I would plan out the route that would net us the maximum amount of candy and feed back to home so that we could unload candy. Too much weight slowed us down. We had to avoid the areas that our older brothers took otherwise there might be a shakedown for the best candy in our bags. Lucky for me I had different favourite candy than my brother had. We tried to avoid the houses that gave apples or anything even remotely healthy.

Every now and then you would meet a school friend and they would pass on useful tidbits of info like “…the lady at 95 Dewey Drive was giving out full sized candy bars!” or “The witch that lives by the creek is giving out rice crispy squares.” That information would make us skip many houses to get in on the goods before they ran out. We didn’t live close to any apartment buildings, but the kids who did made out like bandits. I guess apartment buildings today are crap because you can’t get in to go door to door.
 Image result for halloween candy on bed
When the collecting was done I spread the candy on the bed and marvelled at the wonder before my eyes. I would have candy for a month! Granted that by the end of the month it would be the candy I didn’t really like that much, but it was still candy. I suspect that mom and dad would raid my candy stash and I am pretty sure my brother did too, but hey, there was plenty to go around.

I don’t know if that candy was the cause of the thousands and thousands of dollars of dental work I have had over the years, but it certainly contributed. I now have more metal in my mouth than enamel and my dentist has a holiday home in B.C. with a large boat. She also takes a Hawaiian vacation every year. I bet she gives out that crappy sugarless candy on Hallowe’en.
Image result for Hawaii 

Well, I guess I have to put the decorations away in their box for another year and of course hide a good portion of the left over candy from Louise. Just in case there is a sugar emergency of course.