When I was a kid growing up in southern California, I’d try to escape the blistering summer heat by playing in the sprinklers on the front lawn or floating submerged in a public swimming pool until my fingers turned to prunes. I counted those hours under water as part of my daily hygienic practices. My mother didn’t.
At that age I didn’t know that the reason they chlorinated the water so heavily was because my classmates were peeing or Hershey squirting in the water. It looked clean to me. The way I looked at it, as long as I spent every day under water, I could go the entire summer without having to bathe. Since that time, I’ve learned a lot about good hygiene practices, but have committed to only a few. It’s not that I have anything against being clean – I just have better things to do with my time than shower, wash my hair, brush my teeth and clean underneath my fingernails.
I wasn’t interested in girls while in grammar school, so I wasn’t particularly concerned about how I smelled. To be honest, I was completely oblivious to it. On occasion, I was known to turn my T-shirts inside out to get a few more days wear out of them before they were candidates for the laundry hamper. Walk into any 6th grade classroom and you’ll get hit with the same smell: a pungent mixture of body odor, crayons and peanut butter sandwiches with a little bit of urine thrown in. It’s called the smell of kids.