I don’t know, people; academic discussion has raged for centuries over simpler philosophical questions such as, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" As we sit at home, unable to join joyful crowds at the mall, one has to ponder: “Do we really need a good deodorant in Today’s America, when virtually no one is around to smell?”
Let’s digress a moment. Jump back 60 years or so to the Warnock Avenue of Granite City, IL in the Fifties, when and where I grew up. Two-holder outhouses were still the norm for a few more years, a nod even then to a desperate need for social interaction. Also, trust me on this, there was an equally memorable, distinctive odor from a nearby, infamous “rendering house” a stinky place that I guess paid farmers to bring in dead horses and cows to be rendered. (I never knew exactly what that meant).
On the other side of town, there was also a notorious stretch of Illinois Highway 3 that went right by a section of Granite City Steel that smelled so bad, everyone would roll up their car windows and literally hold our breath until we reached the far side (memo to youthful readers: in those days vehicle windows had to be physically cranked up and down , and they were down because we had no air conditioning).
Anyway, bad as that spot was, my late Uncle Bus and Aunt May lived just a few hundred yards down the road, adjacent to the Cargill Chemical plant. Honestly, after we’d visited them for an hour or so, I can’t recall being bothered by the stench.
My point, and I do have one, is that the human nose, like that of a catfish, is amazingly adept at tolerating noxious odors, which is how we can survive four to eight years under the same President. And growing up on a diet of Great Northern Beans.
So. In the grand scheme of things, and in the spirit of these times, if we are sequestered in a tight space for weeks with a loved one or two, does it really matter if we patriotically decide to save on soap, water and time?
Now is, of course, the perfect opportunity to test such a theory. Not by me, though. Linda has the sense of a smell of a young beagle, and an equally powerful a sense of outrage. Plus which, I plan to keep on sleeping with her. The woman can detect even minimal changes in body odor - as witnessed by my switching from a seasonal favorite Smelly Jelly scent for trout fishing to a more bass-appropriate Pro-Cure Crawdad, or occasionally, Nightcrawler. Besides, she’s getting a little testy these days, if you catch my drift.
All of you are encouraged to try. At minimum, I am counting on an experimental contribution from Tom, or Norm, or maybe Karol - all people known for being a bit stir crazy these days, and for retaining spouses keen on contributing to the social good.
I close this discussion with a reminder to older readers about a massive 1980s advertising campaign for the science fiction classic, Alien: “In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream.” Nowadays, in 21st Century America, one has to ponder: “In Isolation, Can No One Smell if You Don’t Shower?”