Something in the Air


I am now, well and truly, a man of mass transit. I am not far from the madding crowd. I’m in the madding crowd. I’m just another guy on a bus…a part of the great daily ebb and flow. I’m right there getting whacked with backpacks, run over by strollers and body-checked by people who can’t keep their balance. What a joy! Sometimes it feels like I’m in a Fellini film.

There is a never a shortage of reading material on mass transit. There are warnings and admonitions wherever you can stick a sticker. Complete Human Rights Codes have been posted because some people, in close quarters,  have been known to get more than a little cranky. Most of these signs are lost to my mind’s eye but the other day I saw a something I had truly never seen before. There, among all the printed pleas to move back, be courteous and don’t push on this or that was a hygiene prompt.

Please Wear Deodorant.

Really? We need a public reminder to use a stick, roll-on or spray? There’s no doubt that some people, out there in the great olfactory soup, can be, what one of my uncles used to call,  a little ‘hummy’. But I have always cut those folks some slack (if I don’t outright attempt to manoeuvre away). I figure nobody, given the choice, really wants to smell bad. It must be one of the great miseries of life to develop that kind of nuclear body odour.

We live in a super-sensitized society. Nobody , for example, wants to smell the slightest waft from a fine cigar. There are people who want to rid the world of perfume. I think it’s a joy to smell perfume on a woman…others, apparently, break out in a rash. If you open a peanut butter sandwich in the wrong crowd , someone will call out the HazMat team.

So I was a little stunned to see the advocacy of deodorant right out there in plain sight. The icon shows a red line through the stick man with his arm up holding a passenger strap. What does that mean? Does that indicate that if you  haven’t used deodorant you are prohibited from putting your arm out at a right angle? Do we want smelly people losing their balance in the crowd? Isn’t that a bigger risk.

I’m still not convinced that sticker wasn’t a gag. Somebody found it in a joke store and slapped it on. Still…it did look somewhat official.

What’s next on the hygiene campaign? We’ll see signs soon that say, Please Brush Your Teeth. Change your Underwear. Have You Thought About Waxing?

We’ve got enough shackles in this civilization. If you forget your deodorant one day…it’s okay. You can come and sit beside me. (for  3 stops)


2 Responses to “Something in the Air”

  1. my first laugh of the day, (and i hope not my last) on this st pat’s. mr buck and i exchange transit experiences most days at work. miss you and remember to have the correct change.

  2. Delightful! Made me laugh out loud! Thank you.

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