It used to be that I avoided confessing weaknesses. Part of that, no doubt, was growing up in a large family of unrepentant teasers with elephant-trap memories. I still shudder at the recollection of assorted siblings chanting “Chesterton packs more pleasure / Because Chesterton is more perfectly packed!” In retrospect, given his aphoristic style, it was probably funnier even than they realized at the time. And I probably was insufferably in love with his style (cf. the title of this blog).
But now, being older and wiser, I am beginning to come to terms with certain … eccentricities that previously seemed too dark and devious to confess in the light of day. (Speaking of which, we won’t talk about fear of the dark; that’s for another post.) For example …
There is an entire category of words that I avoid using. Anglo-Saxon words? Well, no, for all the elaborate Victorian prose that sometimes festoons this blog, I do love a good British word when I find one: girth, for example, or hog. Swear words? Well, admittedly, this is not the most likely place to go looking for those. But that is as much a matter of principle as anything else; and I am speaking of matters of taste (because what else does this blog exist to dispute about, hmmmm?).
Here it is, the dirty truth: I don’t much like the word “soap,” and I really can’t stand “shampoo” and “lotion.”
Now before you start to back away with your hand over your nose (can I prevail upon you to take a sip of coffee?), let me assure you that I have no objections to routine ablutions.
Mind you, as small children multiply, these routine ablutions may be …
curtailed in frequency and length.
But I digress..
I fully understand that the difference between us and the Middle Ages is that we are clean and they weren’t, and that’s why we don’t have the Black Death.
Actually, none of that is true. Europe in the Middle Ages was relatively clean;
and there are lots of other differences that are more important anyway.
But again, I digress.
But that doesn’t alter the way I feel about these words. The things themselves may be necessary; the words describing them are nasty. Especially the L word. Why could we not (instead of that) say, for example, rubcob? Would not s--- be more fittingly represented by the sound poom? And s------ by pillibalm?
But I digress; for my purpose was not to propose these alternations but to deliver a warning. Here’s where things grow dark.
There’s a conspiracy out there, mon frères. A deep, dark, devious conspiracy to surround me with the L-word. I’m not entirely sure what the motivation behind it is, and it probably won’t do me any real harm; but let me just lay the facts out before you.
First, I should observe that a number of my acquaintances, especially mothers of young kids who wash their hands multiple times an hour, frequently discuss their favorite L-products. Church, barbecues, Facebook, store check-out lines, you name it: no place is safe from the mention of the L-word.
Second, it is becoming abundantly clear that, with the rise of Etsy and similar online platforms, as well as the Organic movement, more and more people are swapping and sharing recipes for home brews of the L-thing. And if “home brew” makes you think of comforting autumnal beers rich in oatmeal and amber, think again: we’re talking more like witches’ brews here.
I’m just waiting for them to come up with a “Pumpkin Spice” hand ----.
Third—and here is where the plot really thickens into something you wouldn’t want to stick your fingers into—there is an obvious plan to introduce young children to the L-thing at an early age, so that we are all inevitably surrounded by a generation Z+ who, having been swaddled from cradle to school bus in the loathsome stuff, will take it to college with them, enroll in classes on how to market it to an unwilling public, and then probably install it in wall dispensers everywhere, just like they have h—d s----izer now.
Skeptical? Don’t think it’s a real conspiracy? I dare you to google “baby bedtime routines.” Just go do it, for me. See what pops up. Yep, that’s right. It’s mentioned in every routine. Every single one. “Bath, l-----, books, bed.” Maybe with a little “quiet play” or a “song” thrown in to sweeten the deal and make you ignore the obvious weirdness. I mean, how many young kids do YOU know who like being slathered in stinky slimy soapiness at the end of the day?
Oh, you do know some?
And where do you think they learned such disgusting heathen behavior?
Who’s responsible for this conspiracy? Well, Big Pharma, clearly. After all, someone needs to be making these (probably medicated) products for small children to use. Big Organic probably has a hand in it as well. The Freemasons are doubtless players (you’ll notice NONE of those “bedtime routines” mentions night prayers at all; it’s like they don’t exist; L is the new god of the One World Order). And Silicon Valley is obviously involved, otherwise the Google results wouldn’t be so uniform.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m their target. I don’t have those kind of delusions.
Other kinds, now …
But I am saying that you should consider, very carefully, what’s happening around you. I know it’s scary, but we can’t put our heads in the sand forever. Awareness is everything. Preparedness is all. I recommend buying lots of canned goods, and don’t forget the can opener.
Oh. And remember, whatever you do, don’t say the L-word.