Believe it or not, I am extremely cautious about how I employ names in this blog. I never use a person's first and last names without permission.
|THE DEVIL YOU SAY: Imagine the|
moment you learn you share a name
with a famous dictator.
With some exceptions. For example, if a guy is famous. Or dead maybe. And of course family members and good friends, I write about with abandon.
But other than that? No names.
Well except for this chap I once did some business with whose name tag told me he is "Victor Mao." Victor Mao. I'm going to tell you about him without asking his permission.
When I asked about the surname, he told me that he'd grown up in Canada and had no idea who Mao the Chinese ruler was until his opthalmologist mentioned it when Victor was 14. Imagine being a teenager in the the eye doctor's chair and finding out your surname is one billions of people associate with one of history's most famous and infamous people.("Okay Mr. Mussolini, what letters do you see on the chart?")
Me, I just started by asking about his first name--Victor. Were his parents expecting much or what? Can a guy named Victor be allowed to lose? At anything? Ever? (There are no Victor Carters, by the way.)
Victor Mao. Not only did he seem like a well-adjusted young man, he appeared very happy when I left his office.
But I digress. The person I'm writing about today is Karen MacIntyre, and I did not ask if I could use her name.
Karen, you have to know, is my good friend Trevor's sister.
Trevor and I first started pal'ing around when we were eight or nine; and Karen would have been all of 15 or 16. I haven't talked to her in ages.
But when I was eight or nine, in my eyes, just being in the same house as the beautiful Karen MacIntyre was reason enough to be Trevor's buddy. She has no way of knowing this but up until that point, I'm pretty sure I'd never been in a room with a woman as good looking as Karen MacIntyre.
|KAREN AND FRIENDS:|
a.k.a., the 'Old Spice Girls'
That she was halfways nice to skinny little big-eared me was just icing. Karen also has no idea of the profound effect she had on me.
(Pause for breath)
Here's what I'm talking about.
Four days ago, my wife Helena and I were at Costco. We were heading for the check-out line when I realized I needed deodorant. Not like, then and there. Rather, I remembered, I was running low at home.
We strode toward the deodorant shelf.
The choices were--as always--almost overwhelming but frankly, I don't care what brand I use. It's all the same to me. Except.
There was one type on special: five sticks for $13. And because it was on sale, that was the brand I was going to have. Under any other conditions, I never would have given it a moment's thought.
But this was different.
Here's the thing.
The older I get, the more I realize you never ever know where what you say is going to land. And take root.
We stroll through life, having conversations here; making jokes there; offering one liners on all manner of topics, never thinking for a moment that somebody might actually be listening to what you're going on about. And they'll take it to heart and carry it around for the rest of their born days.
A long long time ago--let's say 40 years--Trevor and I--a pair of pre-adolescent grade-schoolers--were lucky enough to travel from our hometown of Sudbury to visit the wondrous Karen, when she was a nursing student in Hamilton, Ontario.
A few things stand out from the trip.
I remember Karen and her pals showed us around McMaster University; then they took us to the Stoney Creek Dairy for ice cream cones; and finally, I remember overhearing Karen talking to one of her girl buddies.
One of them was describing how some guy had been coming on to her. And, she said, he was okay looking, but a fatal flaw made his chances of having any success less than zero.
His felony? "He was," she told Karen, "wearing Old Spice."
Ooo----ick. Old Spice after shave.
Who knew? A buzz-kill before the word was invented.
Up until that moment, for me, splashing on Old Spice aftershave was something I sort of looked forward to doing. (Okay, shaving was pretty high up there on the wish list too.)
|SEND IN THE COLOGNES: Yup. The instructions came with the product|
After that? Once shaving was a thing, it had to be Brut or Hai Karate, which came with instructions on how to fight off girls, or anything; even the celtic scent of Irish Spring.
But no Old--spit ptooie--Spice for me.
Until this past Sunday. I caved.
Seems like I crossed a bridge of sorts.
This very morning, when deodorant time rolled around? It was Old Spice.
Does this mean I'm washed up? Only thing I know for sure?
Getting old is the pits.