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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Some funny thoughts on a stinky subject...



Some may say writing a blog isn’t REALLY writing—I differ on that opinion—but I’m taking a break from novel revisions and have some dumb stuff to say. Blogging, the perfect junk food.

I have amazing friends. Truly. The kind of folks that I can talk to about anything, anytime, and at great length until we’re just sitting and breathing into the phone headset like we did when we were teens and didn’t want to hang up long enough to do anything else.

I’m referring to the kind of folks that will discuss bodily functions at ease, pouring over solutions to basic human issues. The huge one for the weekend, especially given our Deep South humidity and mind-killing heat: sweat.

I took a quick count of the half-used antiperspirants languishing in my bathroom cabinet. Languish is a perfect word right now. Any action above the languish level might bring on a stroke. Yes, I realize a toiletry is not capable of languishing. I know it’s wrong to lavish human qualities on inanimate objects, but I do. I worry about my poor little Honda Claudia sitting out there in the full-on sun. Worry she might come down with an automotive version of melanoma, a curling paint carcinoma curable only by a visit to a body shop. Yikes.

Where was I? Oh yeah. The official household antiperspirant tally.

Seven. If you don’t count the line-up of powders. Seven! And I’m not some weirdo cosmetic hoarder. Anyone from “down here” knows you have to rotate them, like tires (geez, back to the automotive thing again.) I’ll bounce along, perfectly ladylike for a couple of weeks, then suddenly whatever brand — and generally layers of powder and Secret/Dove/Dial/Degree/Stink-Away — fails to live up to its label. One minute I’m a flowery dewdrop. The next, redneck road kill festering on the asphalt. I can almost hear those folks in marketing snickering. “Make up a new brand name Phil. She’ll buy it.”

My friend told me about a foolproof product, a “clinical-strength” waterproof deodorant that kicks the caps off the others and leaves their waxy little domes cracking in it’s wake. A waterproof deodorant! Imagine.

We pushed the discussion one step beyond absurdity. No small surprise. To a new product we’d like to see: underarm shellac. A spray-on product kin to polyurethane, beautiful in its simplicity, a cure for underarm moisture and the hordes of foul bacteria building homes and schools in their dark hovels. You could market two versions: satin finish for everyday and high-gloss for those evenings out. Perhaps add a shimmer of disco glitter for that special event.

Then I had to break the creative magic spell. “How would you let it dry? I mean, if you have your arms raised, then you wouldn’t be able to lower them. And if you sprayed and clamped them shut, you couldn’t drive or brush your teeth.”

Back to the drawing board.

For now, I will venture out in my poor, beleaguered little Honda, in search of that atomic strength stuff that probably sells for  half a paycheck. And if if works, I plan on buying my friend lunch soon.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Good Cleaning Out


“You look like you could use a Good Cleaning Out.” My Grandma DeVane looked at me with appraising eyes, seeing through muscle, connective tissue, and blood, straight to my guts. How did she do that? Must’ve been with the same “eyes in the back of her head” she called to action when I misbehaved out of her direct line of vision. Mama had the same talent.

A Good Cleaning Out entailed a supersized serving spoon of something slick and vile, in Grandma DeVane’s case, mineral oil. Others in my age group, and from the Deep South, have reported similar experiences, but with castor oil. Heaven help that any of our generation lived past twenty, what with drinking from the water hose, riding in the back of speeding pick-ups without safety restraints, and biking without helmets.

The cure for a bad cough was a drop of kerosene on a sugar cube. But that’s another story. No small wonder I would not have been the best choice as a taste-tester after the BP Gulf oil spill. My body’s acclimated to petroleum products. Shrimp and Grits with pure sweet crude might bring misty reminiscences of Grandma’s home remedies.

Strange, I recall feeling better after the Good Cleaning Out. Purified. Near holy. Crapping like a crippled goose had to bring some rewards.

Cleaning out “stuff” brings the same sense of ahhhh with less intestinal agony. Closets, the garage, my piles of writing tablets and author flotsam. Amazing how purging my work space will often summon the muses. They don’t abide clutter. It makes them pack their little literary duffle bags and check out.

Nature abhors a vacuum. As soon as a clean space announces itself, paper, books and stuff rush to fill it. The cycle renews.

But for one second, I sense the importance of a Good Cleaning Out.

Thanks, Grandma.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist