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Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Power of Lavender

I attended a spirited gathering this afternoon with old friends and their assorted offspring, etc. The food was plentiful and well-prepared and there was a hi-def screen on which to watch the afternoon football offering. Paradise. I say the gathering was spirited because regardless of how lazily we adults attempted to position ourselves, there were still a half-dozen children between the ages of two and seven scurrying about with the energy attained by only kids of this age and small, yappy dogs of a similar disposition.

There was a Bouncy House set up in the back yard (I was corrected after calling it a "Bouncy Castle", since it had no turrets and was of the open-air variety) and the children flocked to the air-filled war-zone like cats to a laser pointer. At one point, Brother Lawrence - deeply engrossed in his IPhone - breezed by with the proclamation "Child down, crying..." "Which one?" he was asked. "Orange shirt," was his reply. He breezed on and assistance was dispatched based on his keen observation. Disaster efficiently diverted. After a suitable time in the bouncy house, children began to filter into the real house and it was observed that they had worked up a decent lather and in the meantime had acquired "Kid-Smell", which is the musky aroma that emanates from children when they have been active out of doors in the summer heat. This led to much discussion and Brother Mark offered up that when he was 12 or so I had indelicately informed him that he had "Kid- Smell". I felt bad that he still harbored this slight, which I had obviously long forgotten, but I am nothing if not a scientific man and didn't belabor my guilt - Brother Mark has grown up smart, happy and intelligent - this observation must not have scarred him too badly. This "Kid-Smell" phenomenon has evidently spanned decades, since Brother Mark has not been twelve since Jimmy Carter was president. It was subsequently determined that one can find the "Kid-Smell" anytime they wish by simply walking into a day care center. Brother Raoul, always the savvy businessman, grumbled that Lysol could make a fortune by adding "Battles Kid Smell" to their labeling.

Brother Raoul and I then discoursed at length on smell in general and I offered up my theory on the odor of lavender. It is, of course, my opinion that the scent of lavender is the only aroma that will cover up the pungent smell of impending death. This is why it is so prevalent in funeral homes, old-folks community centers and retail stores where the elderly choose to shop. A strong potion is this lavender indeed. Either that, I opined, or the Grim Reaper actually smells like lavender - which would be an extremely lively irony, considering the sickeningly sweet smell of the purple flower. It would serve to prove that those in charge of the thereafter have a delightfully twisted sense of humor, given the disgusting, putrid smell of rotting remains.

Either way, I have made it a priority to avoid lavender at all costs for the rest of my life. If my own impending doom is forthcoming, hopefully at the age of 87, at the hands of a jealous husband while scampering out of a bedroom window with my pants clutched in my age-spotted fist, I want to smell it coming, so I can turn up the dial a notch or two. I don't like surprises.

In closing, smell is the most delicate sense, use it wisely - steer away from hobos, stockyards and fish markets - you never know when your nose will come in handy.

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