[Author's Note: Thanks for your interest in this article. This article has been published on Yahoo! also. Feel free to check it out there if you would like.]
We all know Charlie Brown and Snoopy from the Peanuts comic strip, but there’s another character, not nearly as familiar. While he looks a lot like Charlie Brown and Linus, his disheveled appearance and the cloud of dirt that follows him sets him apart. Appropriately, Charles Schulz gave him the name Pig-Pen.
Recently, we were shopping at Whole Foods—one of a handful of stores safe from the escalating onslaught of chemical pollution. At once we were both shocked to find the pleasant market air invaded by a blanket of laundry odor. The carrier, never closer than 15 feet from us, a hardworking young man, conscientiously performed his duties completely oblivious to the streams of pollution pouring from his clothing.
I know that to many people this reaction sounds very strange and perhaps petty, but to someone who suffers from chemical sensitivity, this kind of thing is very offensive. In fact, exposure to these smells triggers migraine headaches in my sensitive wife. In a very gentle and positive way, she pointed this out to the store manager . The next week the nice young man was there working as hard as before, but now he was free from the cloud of poison that had formerly enveloped him. Since then we’ve never noticed any personnel there with even the slightest trace of artificial “fragrance” on them.
During the 20th century we’ve witnessed a progression of products developed for personal hygiene. From Listerine®, to Ban®, to Head and Shoulders, the cures to our every offense conveniently packaged in a bottle and designed to provide cash cows to a few big corporations. By the sixties, these products came into their own as slick new color TV ads flooded the airwaves convincing viewers that they had a problem (bad breath, body odor, dandruff) and needed their products to solve it.
Fast forward to today. The latest deception says that people won’t like you unless you smell like a laundromat. We’ve noticed that in general, the people upon whom the large U.S. consumer products companies prey with this daily diet of propaganda are the poor and the uneducated. Think about it.
Who frequents laundromats, and what do laundromats and their patrons smell like? They’re the typical low-end “consumers” who are not particularly discriminating or judicious about what they buy and who fill their bodies and lives with junk. They’re the ones most susceptible to buy into the lie that polluting your environment with artificial, dangerous chemicals is a “breath of fresh air.” They, feeling somewhat outcast and inferior, remain most vulnerable to the idea that they need their clothing to be saturated with a fake smell to be accepted and loved by others.
The good news is, when this observation gets around (and it’s happening already), it will suddenly become very “uncool” for to anyone smell like that, and the stronger the smell, the more disdain it will evoke. Young people in junior high and high school will then rather die than be caught wearing that badge of shame. At that point, multinational corporations will need to find another avenue to trick the gullible public into poisoning themselves.