What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Pine Scent Cologne

Everything is going back into the box and into the attic or basement, wherever seasonal garbage calls home. The wreaths, fake holly and bulbous objects that no doubt have a name, but are so rarely mentioned that they've been left out of the dictionary are meticulously wrapped in soft tissues and lovingly stowed for next Christmas.

The tree, too, suffers the same fate. Most American Christmas celebrators wouldn’t dream of bringing a real pine tree into their homes. The hassle of the pointy needles, the sticky sap and watering a live plant every day has been alleviated by corporate America. Now instead of visiting a quaint, rural Christmas tree farm where the old man who looks like Santa Claus without trying tells the story of the blight that almost “stole this year’s Christmas,” we march to our storage locations and find our perfectly symmetrical, seven foot “Holiday Tree.”

In the old days, fake Christmas trees were almost as bad as the real ones. The plastic pine needles would come off and had to be vacuumed, the branches needed manual placement and an artistic eye to simulate realism and some cynics concluded that the only advantage was the elimination of sap.

Today’s trees are much more technologically innovative. I’ve heard a rumor about a holographical tree that changes decorative themes every ten minutes. Apparently the computerized image is suggested for civic centers where one religion is frowned upon. The technology can change from a tree, to a manger scene, to a menorah and back again.

Our tree isn't so jazzed up that we had to take out a second mortgage to cover the cost of electricity, but it is a far cry from the "natural" monstrosities of old. The branches open as one with a swift, umbrella-like motion (think Veggie Tales Christmas Special), the needles are guaranteed green and will stay on longer with a new adhesive innovation and the smell of a real pine tree is matched with a spray-on scent that gives the plastic potpourri the final touches of the season.

After Christmas, the tree was folded up and returned to the attic with all the other holiday accoutrements, but we had oodles of spray on pine scent left over. And, smart marketers that the product developers are, the artificial pine boasted an expiration date of six months; it wouldn’t last until next Christmas.

Unwilling to throw out a perfectly good bottle of Christmas smell, I decided to use it as a replacement for my current dime store (or, as Carrie Underwood would call it, bathroom) cologne. The smell was only a little stronger and, as my younger brother pointed out, seasonally accurate. My old stuff caused a minor itch and some occasional hives anyway so I figured the change might be good for my skin.

I applied liberally, putting three complete squirts under my collar and a couple sprays each for my wrists. My senses were immediately assaulted by the wonderful scent of Christmas pine and I knew instantly I had made a good decision.

Work at General Mills was interesting. My boss had a smart comment about “somebody smelling a little fresh” and my female coworker laughed and shook her head when I explained the “alpine stench,” as she characterized my new style.

At lunch, a woman three booths over started sneezing and I a few small children stared at me with expressions reminiscent of posters for third-world starvation. I ordered a burger in the hopes that the smell would overpower the pine.

When I got home that evening (leaving my dress shirt by the washing machine, under the pretense that detergent would get the smell back to normal) and met my mother, who had been out when I left in the morning, a look of utter concern crossed her normally sanguine features. Apparently, the product had created a large, nasty looking rash wherever it had touched my skin. The marks had been covered by a long sleeved shirt during the day, but were now obvious in their hideous redness. Scabby and puffy, they emitted a stench that overpowered the pine. I was happy to smell something different, even if the new odor was unpleasant.

Fortunately another modern innovation - cortisone - helped alleviate the reaction and my neck and wrists are back to their normal pale color. Thanks for your concern.

I am, however, still looking for a use for quarter of a bottle of artificial pine scent. Any ideas?


you can call me batman said...

Air freshener for your room, perhaps? (I know my brother's room could use a solid dose of that stuff right about now) just one thing, though, it's probably really concentrated, so you'll only need ONE squirt.

Grace said...

Ok, you know all those people who gave you gifts you feel sorry for>? You know, because you never gave them a present>? Simply bake a batch of post~holiday cookies, and substitute the vanilla for pine... *grins

200 said...

Keep it in your guy bag and use it as pepper spray.

sour cream said...

those due-dates for things like the pine spray stuff are never right. they are just a way to make you spend more money on cans of the stuff. keep your pine spray until next Christmas...it may smell a bit different but it's the same general idea...

come on people said...

you guys need to post earlier!