It’s not quite time for the children to get up for school yet. They still reside in the happy world of dreams, peaceful angels in their slumber. In the sleepy darkness before dawn, they have no inkling of the battle raging in the house around them.
Daddy is ready to leave for work. Showered and shaved, he has even applied the coating of lotion to his hands and face that Mommy insisted he start doing because she doesn’t want him to dry out like the old prune he is.
He steps into the bathroom where Mommy is drying her hair. He gives her a kiss and a “Love you,” then turns to leave, thinking he has escaped it this morning.
“Did you spray?” Her question freezes him in his tracks.
“No,” he sheepishly admits.
And then the chase is on.
It all started . . .
in the after-Christmas, clearance section of Target. Mommy found two half-priced gift boxes of scented items – one for Him and one for Her. Having both a Him and a Her in their marriage, Mommy deemed the pair of boxes a good bargain. They were lotions and perfumes (I guess men’s perfume is called cologne, but I don’t know much about it), the kind of gift that says “You were at the bottom of my list and I was long past being thoughtful by then. Also, you smell bad.”
Mommy was within her rights to pay half-price to smell the way she wished, but Daddy protested buying perfume to cover up his traditional Head & Shoulders scent (he still needs to shampoo the sides of his head). Daddy’s protests were in vain.
It actually all started . . .
decades ago on a dairy farm. Coming out of the barn, the boy Daddy learned the way to coexist with polite society was to divest himself of stink, not to purposely apply stink to himself. Nobody ever ran away from a farm kid they couldn’t smell. If he had nothing else going for him, at least they couldn’t blame him for smelling like air.
It also started . . .
in an upper-middle-class, suburban school, where the young Mommy’s friends wore designer clothes and had leisure to discover their own signature scents. They all smelled like something different, but none of them smelled like air or Head & Shoulders. None of the good ones did, anyway.
It ends this way.
Daddy runs. Mommy grabs the spray bottle of worldly man scent and chases him. After a moment, Daddy gives up his foolish hope of escape. All his flight will do is wake the children. He allows Mommy to shoot him a few times.
Mommy breathes deep. “Oh, you smell so good!” she says, dreamy in the eyes. But it’s nearly time for the children to wake, so she sends Daddy off to work to delight the nostrils of other people.
Daddy drives off to work, wondering if there isn’t a better time of day for the war to end.