I guess it’s better than ‘musk’

March 13, 1998

I got on the elevator the other day, and at the same time a woman from another office got on. Before the doors had even closed, I was blown away by the smell of bubblegum. I wasn’t chewing gum, and she didn’t seem to be either, so I made the natural assumption: she’s wearing bubblegum perfume. Believe me, there are stranger things out there, so it’s not hard to imagine this woman at a perfume counter saying, "Two words describe my ideal man: Willy Wonka. What fragrance would be ideal for me?" And as a perfume, bubblegum is not as bad as some of the noxious scents I’ve known women to load themselves down with. Have you seen all those perfumes that promise a free gift with every purchase, but they never specify what the gift is? I suspect it’s invisible noseplugs. Not that men are exempt here. Every time I’ve gone to get my picture taken at the mall or for a yearbook, the photographer has his shirt half open, is wearing about twelve gold chains, and is so soaked in Brut it’s obviously done brain damage. But back to my story. The woman got out of the elevator, and I realized the smell of bubblegum was actually coming from a big wad of it a former passenger had left stuck to the handrail. Suddenly the tables have turned! The whole time she was probably thinking that either I was a really strange photographer, or that I came from some backward European country where the men only bathe once a month and the rest of the time smear themselves down with bubblegum. And would you like to know what the worst part is? I have absolutely no idea how to end this.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Absolutely True Facts

  • When King Henry VIII was on his deathbed, although his doctors were competent, they reported that the King was not seriously ill as it was at the time considered high treason to predict a king’s death.

  • John F. Kennedy was voted "most likely to succeed" in high school even though he graduated 64 out of a class of 112.

  • Babe Ruth kept a cabbage leaf (which he changed every two innings under his baseball cap to keep his head cool on hot days.

  • Charles Manson recorded an album entitled "Lie" to spread his philosophies.

  • While at Duke University Law School, Richard M. Nixon broke into the dean’s office to find records showing that he was at the top of his class.

  • Louis XIV of France never took a bath in his life.

  • The middle initial of Harry S Truman does not have a period after it as it does not stand for anything.

  • Isabella, the daughter of 16th century King Phillip II of Spain swore never to change her underwear until the rebellious port of Ostend was re-captured, which took three years.

  • Shirley Temple’s mother made sure the child star’s hair was set every day with exactly 56 curls.

  • While president, Franklin Roosevelt always slept with a gun under his pillow.

  • Mark Twain served one week in the Confederate Army before deserting.

  • Al Capone’s business card said he was a second-hand furniture dealer.

  • Warren G. Harding was the first U.S. president to drive a car.

  • J. Edgar Hoover did not allow anybody to walk on his shadow.

  • After Richard Nixon’s resignation, African dictator Idi Amin wished him a "speedy recovery."

  • Although distant cousins, presidents Franklin Roosevelt, and Theodore Roosevelt pronounced their names differently… Teddy pronounced it "Ruse-a-velt" while Franklin said "Rose-a-velt."

  • Cuban leader Fidel Castro had an unsuccessful tryout with the Washington Senators baseball team while he was at Havana University.

  • In 1936, Shirley Temple received 135,000 presents for her 8th birthday.

  • President George Washington’s family motto was "Exitus acta probat." ("The end justifies the means.")

  • Marcel Duchamp, artist and chess master spent his honeymoon contemplating chess moves until his wife glued the chess pieces to the board. They divorced three weeks later.

  • Paul Revere made George Washington’s false teeth.

  • Frank Sinatra gave Marilyn Monroe a white poodle named "Mafia."

The following is from a 1950’s Home Economics textbook intended for High School girls, teaching how to prepare for married life.

  1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal – on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him, and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.
  2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.
  3. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.
  4. Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces if they are small, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.
  5. Minimize the noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.
  6. Some DON’TS: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.
  7. Make him comfortable: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.
  8. Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.
  9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to be home
  10. The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.

Now the updated version for the ’90s woman:

  1. Have dinner ready: Make reservations ahead of time. If your day becomes too hectic just leave him a voice mail message regarding where you’d like to eat and at what time. This lets him know that your day has been crappy and gives him an opportunity to change your mood.
  2. Prepare yourself: A quick stop at the "LANCOME" counter on your way home will do wonders for your outlook and will keep you from becoming irritated every time he opens his mouth. (Don’t forget to use his credit card])
  3. Clear away the clutter: Call the housekeeper and tell her that any miscellaneous items left on the floor by the children can be placed in the Goodwill box in the garage.
  4. Prepare the children: Send the children to their rooms to watch television or play nintendo.
  5. Minimize the noise: If you happen to be home when he arrives, be in the bathroom with the door locked.
  6. Some DON’TS: Don’t greet him with problems and complaints. Let him speak first, and then your complaints will get more attention and remain fresh in his mind throughout dinner. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner; simply remind him that the leftovers are in the refrigerator and you left the dishes for him to do.
  7. Make him comfortable: Tell him where he can find a blanket if he’s cold. This will really show you care.
  8. Listen to him: But don’t ever let him get the last word.
  9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; go with a friend or go shopping (use his credit card).
  10. The Goal: Try to keep things amicable without reminding him that he only thinks the world revolves around him.

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