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A Deodorant Tale

By H.G. Miller

Some things you can do without – designer jeans, top shelf bourbon, one of your kidneys.

I used to think that deodorant was on that list. Sure, we all want to smell nice, but is it a necessary component to our abilities to exist as human beings on planet earth?

At what point does spreading pasty-white flakes of “Powder Fresh” scent along the sensitive flesh that our uncles used to tickle with merciless tenacity become so ritualistic that we cannot even function in a typical day without the allotted four and a half strokes per pit to comfort our insatiable need for normalcy?

Or, is that just me?

So, I've got a routine:

  • I put my t-shirt on first.

  • Then, I pull the cap off of my "body-heat-activated" tube of Degree (like punching numbers into an Excel spreadsheet has ever made anybody sweat to the point that chemical intrusion becomes necessary).

  • I turn the knob at the bottom of the deodorant package until three clicks have satisfied me that there is indeed enough of the sticky stuff to satiate my raging stink pits for an entire day.

  • I am now ready to test my dexterity by pulling the shirt away from my body with one hand, then placing the deodorant under my arm with the other, carefully avoiding any embarrassing white smudges along the bottom hem of the fabric.

  • At this point, it is a perilous journey to the armpit in which I must avoid putting deodorant on either the inside of my shirt (which doesn't sweat at all), or the tip of my nipple (which usually causes a tingly sensation that I am not entirely comfortable discussing in this forum).

  • Finally, I am at the designated place, and I can administer the four and a half strokes necessary to cover the entire area of my potentially odor offensive armpit.


Today, though, tragedy struck. Somewhere in the middle of my second click, the deodorant refused to rise. Empty… I was out of one of the most important elements of social acceptance.

I had to act quickly. Should I call in sick and go back to bed (I admit, it takes very little for me to seriously consider this option on a daily basis)? Should I borrow a few swipes from my roommate? Or… I notice that there is still some “Body-Heat-Activated” residue just under the plastic top of the deodorant dispenser.

After five minutes of searching, I find a flathead screwdriver with which to pry the plastic apart, and inside are glorious globs of unused deodorant, just waiting to be taken advantage of.

I quickly scoop a small amount with my fingers and begin rubbing it into my armpits with fervor. The wonderful smell of “shower fresh” scent wafts to my nose and I feel ready to attack the day.

Now, I don't know if anybody else has tried this little exercise of mine, but there is a certain… trade-off for the ability to go another day with odor free extremities. You see, deodorant seems to form some kind of chemical bond with the skin of your fingers, and it doesn't want to go away.

So, although I smelled great, every piece of paper and every hand I had to shake was left with a little hint of that sticky “shower fresh” feeling. Granted, true to their word, it did last all day long.