Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rant: Tom's of Maine

In my last post I waxed amorous about the King of all seasons: Summer. Things I enjoy about summer include (but are not limited to):
- fireflies
- reveling in becoming mahogany rather than sullenly accepting my usual skin tone
- ending my work at the human processing factory for 67 glorious days that leads into...
- my annual self-dubbed "Summer of Me" which essentially consists of me pretending I am Dickie Greenleaf from The Talented Mr. Ripley:

* Now there's a man who knows how to mahoganize

One thing I do not enjoy about summer is stinky pits. Which brings me to the latest in my seemingly neverending list of embarrassing life moments. 

Recently, I made a pilgrimage "out west" (like Sal Paradise, or actually more like an unchaperoned Lennie) to Portland, Oregon. While in Rip City, I began to change and morph into a different, gentler Ronnie. Maybe it was the quinoa flakes I was eating for breakfast, or perhaps the hemp milk I was forced to douse them with, but I became obsessed with the idea that I should transcend judgment and, you know, "the man" and revert back to a healthy, natural state. One revelation I came to was that my deodorant was trying to kill me. Not a John Matrix-style redemption death or a T2000-sent-back-through-time-to-destroy-me-for-the-good-of-the-future kind of thing. No, more like a slow, soul sucking, malignant death. Like quietly realizing that you have become that person who exclusively eats Kraft cheese singles in the dark for dinner.

I asked the people around me for advice. As they dusted the amaranth flakes off their holey thrift store cardigans, they all told me the same thing: aluminum is the Devil's anti-persirant. If you put it pit-side you will get cancer. And die. 

I rushed to my trusted Lady Mitchum "powder fresh" scented gel, scanned the back and sadly discovered that which I had been dreading: the "A" word. What to do? The Good Lady (as I call her) has always treated me well. In exchange for some cancer and outrageous pit stains from her oxidization, The Mitch has seen me through such sweaty endeavors as navigating a 120 degree Laotian death march, a gazillion job interviews, my wedding, skydiving and making Dan Merino a martini with cocktail onions. Her self proclaimed guarantee, "So Effective You Could Skip A Day" is true, guys!

* If you don't want to stink when you finally meet Hightower from Police Academy in person, this is your answer (tried and tested).

But what to use instead? The Portlandians suggested "crystals". Ugh. In order for me to even consider using crystals to contain my stench, it would have to be some sort of crystal mined from the depths of the River Styx or one forged by Sauron himself.

* Something like this...
Confused about my next steps I made my fatal error: I asked The Manimal.

Those of you who keep up with this weblog know that Manimal is a complicated fellow. On one hand, Manimal has precious little time for the flippant whims of dandies and "girly men". He has been known to burn the undesirable parts of himself off with computer keyboard cleaner. He also advocates using electrical tape to solve almost any problem, be it corporeal or domiciliary. However, on the flip side, Manimal is also strangely obsessed with natural remedies, Asian medicine and "wellness". In addition to drinking a secret homemade "elixir" each morning, he also uses natural products exclusively and brushes his teefs with a toothbrush made completely of "boar bristles".

* It kind of looks like this...

This, readers, is the single grossest toothbrush I have ever used. When you apply even the slightest pressure, the bristles fall out in your mouth causing the unfortunate effect of having to pick wild pig fur out of one's teeth at inopportune moments throughout the day. So, foolishly, I overlooked his personal predilictions and asked Manimal for counsel on the deodorant quandry. After about 15 minutes of prattle that I blocked out, he stated, "Tom's. Tom's of Maine."

According to their website, "Tom's of Maine was founded by Tom and Kate Chappell in 1970 with just USD $5,000. The company is based in Kennebunk, Maine...The company's products are intentionally made without ingredients that are either artificial, have a negative environmental impact, or are tested on animals." Well, I'm not surprised their products fall into Manimal's favored list, however I wasn't so sure. I generally prefer to rely on things that are made in a lab like Ambien, or Anthrax. This is why I like the U!S!A; back home in Australia you practically have to sign over the deed to your house to get some fricken Sudafed. When I had a cold there, instead of riding the green dragon (my beloved NyQuil) I was forced to take some bullshit like St. John's Wart and sniffle in misery until daybreak. 

Also,  people seemed to think a lot of dubious things were a good idea back in the 70s. To wit:

* Mmmmm, delicious

Or how about this:

* So tasteful. Carpet was a good idea too.

And if I have to explain why EXPOLODING AN 8 TON WHALE CARCASS WITH DYNAMITE IN ORDER TO DISPOSE OF IT is a bad idea guaranteed to go horribly wrong, then I don't know how to help you.

* This is the best video ever made.

I should have listened to my misgivings about applying a deodorant that is vegan (good lord) but I dutifully selected the "Lavender 24 hour odor protection"; it sounded the most delightful of the options. "Great", I thought to myself, "I'll smell like the English countryside on a late Summer's afternoon." The next day was forecast to be 90 degrees and humid. Perfect. As Tom's website helpfully noted, my deodorant wouldn't have any problems standing up to Helios' fury because: "Hops inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Sourced from castor beans and the mineral zinc, zinc ricinoleate is known to help trap odor molecules and absorb bad smells. Natural fragrance helps mask odor". Castor beans didn't sound quite as promising as the pharmaceutical fortitude of Aluminum but I was still happy I was giving the Big C the middle finger.

*OK, castor beans, treat me right.

I engaged in my usual toilette which consists of standing, shivering, under a modest trickle of tepid Brooklyn water wondering if today would be the day that I will finally jump victoriously out of the way before the water turns Napalm hot. It wasn't. After toweling off, I applied my Tom's. First off, know this readers: Tom's goes on all foamy. So, instead of dressing, you have to just linger there for a few minutes until it dries, arms hoisted overhead. Kind of like you're in an imaginary nude stick-up.

Once I got over that hurdle everything seemed to be going fine. I followed my usual morning routine (stomping angrily to the subway, hating strangers with the intensity of ten thousand suns, questioning my life decisions and then arriving to work where I refuse to look at, or speak to, my young charges until a loud bell signals that, sadly, I must) until 10 am when I realized something - I stank! I was as redolent as the Manimal after his wrassling. I smelled as funky as our laundry bag at the end of a week. I reeked.

After a day spent clenching my arms violently by my sides, I'd had enough. At around 2 pm, I had to HIDE IN MY CLOSET AND SPRAY DR. SCHOLL'S FOOT POWDER ON MY PITS because the smell was emanating and I had no other options. Foot powder! On my ocksters! In hiding! How the mighty had fallen. Tom - j'accuse! Damn you! Damn you to Hell! What kind of sick madmen do you have in your employ? How could you inflict this on a fellow human being? You think a bit of hops and some castor beans are enough to stop the runaway train of odor that is my pits? No, sir, it is not.

And while I'm ranting, let's look at some of Toms' other "products" shall we?
Really? Are you serious? "Cinnamint" toothpaste with "propolis and Myrrh"? Well, I guess if it's good enough for Baby Jesus, it's good enough for the rest of us. It can't possibly get any grosser than this. Oh wait, yes it can. 
FENNEL flavor! Sick! I'm sure my fellow commuters will really enjoy my fennel-and-coffee scented hot-ass breath wafting over them on the 4 train at 8 am each morning.

Buyer Beware! Tom's of Maine is officially the worst thing EVER

4 things I hate less than Tom's of Maine:
1. Misused apostrophes

2. "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane

3. When Kelly got with Dylan

* Noooooooooo!!! Brenda forever!

4. When I was cornered and forced to listen to a co-worker's poem that included an extended metaphor comparing her clitoris to a clownfish.

* "Oh, hai. I'm just going to make you feel awkward now."

Readers, do yourself a favor. Use any other deodorant than Tom's. Hey, you may get cancer but at least you'll have friends. 

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