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Thursday, November 30, 2023
HomeHumorThe Papa Files: Old Man Smell

The Papa Files: Old Man Smell

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I keep getting a whiff of myself and I don’t like it. It always happens when I’m on the toilet. At first I thought it was my feet, for at no other time am I in a position where my feet are directly below or that close to my face than when I’m reading in the bathroom. But no, my feet haven’t stunk since I stopped wearing combat boots. What else is directly below my face, and even closer, while I’m on the toilet? Yeah, not including a picture of that. But I’ve begun to think of it as an old man smell.

And I’ve smelled it while sitting at my desk on the third day of not taking a shower. I sometimes took a shower twice a day when I was sweating at Exwork, during lunch at home and after I got off. Otherwise, I took a shower only in the evening, never in the morning. Frequent showering is not good for the skin, I’ve heard and read. And it’s true for me. If I shower every day without sweating, my skin gets itchy and dry. So I shower every second or third day, depending on what I’ve been doing. If all I’ve done is sit in my office, it’s a third day chore. If my wife keeps tasking me with minor indoor projects and I work up a faint glisten of watery salt on my skin, it’s two days. If she insists that I help in her garden, I take a shower right after I resist the urge to spray her down with the hose to cool her honey-do jets.

But lately even after I take a shower, I start to smell it faintly within a couple of hours, on the toilet and at my desk. Is it the smell of fading hormones? Diminishing testosterone? Is it the smell of old age bacteria? Spores, molds, and fungus? I don’t know. But I don’t like it, and I don’t know what to do. Apparently the odor isn’t always related to wet sweat. It seems also to be caused by a pre-sweat heating of lower elements from under and outer wear. Well, I’m thinking about kilts again. Keep everything breezy, and nothing can fester.

I’ve tried body spray, but that just makes the stench smell sweet. Am I supposed to clean myself every two hours with Gooma’s bathing wipes? That’s a possibility, I guess, but I don’t want to. I shouldn’t have to. And I’m not going to take a shower five times a day; I’d start crumbling like a vampire jabbed with a wooden stake.

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So I guess I’ll have to ignore it, just let it be. Maybe I’ll wet a Mentos and rub it in my nostrils, or buy some Vicks VapoRub for my upper lip like some autopsy students do to mask the smell of corpses. Or perhaps, just as the affliction snuck up on me over the years, it’ll sneak away with gathering age. Or hey, remember when there was a panic about having enough toilet paper and lots of folks bought a bidet? (Pronounced “ba-day” for some reason.) I go to the bathroom at least three times during waking hours, so I might finally buy one of those. I’ll have to watch a tutorial, of course. And I’ll want one with a built-in air-dryer.

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