Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An Illustration

Body odor is hard to discern when it is your own. You are happy with your choices of hygiene and you will not notice your pungency without shoving your face in your armpit. You are at peace. Others are not so lucky. It is your odor and their nose. They don't need to put their face in your armpit. They merely need to walk by or step into an enclosed place with you. Soon they are dreading the "fellowship" you offer after church. "Someone," they say gossiping like the Philistine, "must tell you." They certainly should be braver but they are not. They should, in a manly way, walk up to you and declare to the ears that which the nose lacks. "Sir, you are offensive to all that breathes. Without breath we die, but sir, with it we are sore wounded until death may be preferred." Such would the brave man say to his, now, ex-friend. Instead, less brave, he leaves an unsigned note in the pages of the odiferous friend's KJV (the stinky are often sticklers).
Once this note is found and read, the comfort of the pungent is disturbed. The borders of his life have been breached. The proverbial rock with a note has been bunged through his window. Is it a psyops attack of enemies? "You stink" when you don't can be viewed as an attempted misdirection of your efforts in ruling your fief. Is it the fearful admonition of friends who wish you to remedy something that affects them? Both are likely stories as stories go. The choice between them will tell another story, that of self assessment. Most of us, I think, are insecure about our attempts to be physically pleasing and would naturally understand that our self-comfort has misled us again. We may quickly develop into a three-shower-a-day obsessive compulsive. It takes a mighty proud man to be so confident of his hygiene that he feels free to consider the note-writer an enemy whose efforts were an obviously flawed attempt on the citadel of a kingdom wonderfully run.
Do they not know that this is how all men should smell?

There is an irritation ratio that could be discerned. In both stories it is a negative act to lob a unsigned missive into another's life commenting on a failing and it is a negative condition to stink. How annoyed we are with which, is the ratio we find defining our souls. Does my annoyance with the unknown writer predominate? Or my failure to clean myself sufficiently?
Sometimes, when the planets align, the stink is real and the enemies are real. This ratchets up the confusion in dealing. The foul one easily sees the animus of the commentary and is tempted to consign the whole proceeding to motives unconnected with his stench. Others, friends, see that an enemy spoke the needful first and was rejected so they hurriedly scratch out a note and file it in the KJV . "No really, I mean this, you do stink. This is not from the previous anonymous writer." "Sure its not," says the offensive to himself and others who have grown comfortable with a certain level of greenish miasma in the places they gather. This is not a circumstance which will get the stinking to stop anytime soon. Some give up and avoid. Some try to find new ways to speak to the stink. They try directly, as the brave should have done but it is too late. The stinkers have developed a view. They have addressed the concept of stinking thoroughly because they defended against enemies. As for the enemies, damn them. For the olfactorily offended, they need to realize that noses are merely the evolutionary residue (like the appendix) of radical anabaptist pietism. And our friends, we will make and sell a bacterial cocktail that will, when applied to your sweaty areas, grow into a New Wave of Wafting Greatness that Will Sweep the Infidel Nosiness Down to the Pit. And we will also need to develop something for our watering eyes.


The Anti-Darwin said...

In addition to the concept of parents teaching their children, it is no wonder that the doctrines of hygiene are disseminated to the masses by a few who are experts on the subject. These methods are quite practical and effective provided that the hearers take heed when instructed. Thus, one can be made aware of his or her offenses but in a way that he or she isn't made to feel like the only one who violates hygienic standards. However, difficulties inevitably arise when someone forgets himself or herself. Who hasn't from time to time? The ideal situation, it seems, is to hear the experts and take heed accordingly.

bigfishx2 said...

Sticklers? We? We didst not think we smelled. No note was found. We hath showered but hath eaten garlic. Could this be the "stench"?

Psmith said...

Does anybody besides the author and I realize that this isn't really about the body odor?

Ibid said...

"They don't need to put their face in your armpit"-- unless they're at K-Co.

The Anti-Darwin said...

You raise a(n) [appropriate adjective] question, Mr. Psmith. I recommend that you read Mark Twain's comments regarding the telling of humorous stories. I apologize for such a vague description...I don't recall the exact volume of Mark Twain's works said comments are in. Regardless, the jist of it is that, according to Twain, a superior teller of humorous stories appears to be unaware of anything humorous about the story he is telling. In fact, he exhibits some surprise or consternation when listeners slip off their seats and gufaw while rolling in the isles. This approach to humorous story telling is contrasted with Twain's least preferred method of "laughing at one's own jokes" while looking around and repeating the punch line in case there are any listeners present who didn't quite grasp the humor after the first recitation of the punch line. Admittedly, the topic of The Oracle's post is not (necessarily) humor. However, at least one of the comments following the post is an application of a principle discussed above. See what I mean?