We were headed to Fargo, on a quest to replace a burned-out table saw.
"Are you sure this is a manly scent?" I asked.
This isn't the sort of question I usually ask. I worked for a quarter of a century as a pig farmer. Mix in a few years of crop farming, as well as years that involved heavy lifting and hard hats, and you've got plenty of odor-producing opportunities. Over the years, my wife has occasionally mentioned her preference for me to smell just a titch less manly, if you get my drift.
But this was different. She'd bought some lotion for me, because in the winter time my skin has a tendency to get a little out of condition. I tried it for the first time that morning and I was concerned about the aroma.
I don't know what it is about Minnesota and winter, but ever since I was a little kid my skin has dried out and gotten disgusting as soon as the weather turned cold. When I was a kid, I got an erector set for Christmas, but my hoped-for career as an engineer came to a crashing halt; my fingers were too cracked and sore to tighten up the tiny little nuts and bolts. If it hadn't been for that (and some calculus and algebra issues), I could be making a fortune right now, designing the cities of tomorrow.
That may seem a little wussy, but what can I say? I'm a fragile blossom.
This wasn't my first lotion-related issue. A few years ago my wife had some whiplash problems after a car accident. Since my retirement plans pretty much revolve around her making lots of money, I did my best to rub out the kinks and knots so she could get up, get dressed and go to work. Then I'd go to work with my hands smelling like Chanel Number 5. It didn't bother the hogs, but the guys I worked with thought it was pretty funny.
Anyway, my wife brought the lotion home for me shortly after she watched a special about iguanas on the National Geographic channel. She knew it was time for action when close-up shots of the iguanas reminded her of the skin on my legs. So just before we started out for Fargo, I had slathered some on. Lucky for me, it didn't smell like either baby lotion or Chanel Number 5. The label on the bottle read "Wilderness."
This, by the way, is just one more example of why I don't have a job designing ad campaigns on Madison Avenue. When I think of wilderness smells, I think of wood smoke, the muck at the edge of a slough, and fish bait.
This smelled nothing like any of those. I'm not sure what it smelled like, but I was a bit concerned. I was, after all, going shopping for a new table saw, in a store called "Tool Crib of the North." It seemed like the sort of place where a guy would want to be a little careful just what he smelled like.
It all worked out. The odor faded after a while and I wore one of my son's Marine Corps hats just in case. No one sniffed or did a double-take when I walked by and my legs, I gotta say, are silky smooth.
Copyright 2007 Brent Olson