Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Soap By Any Other Name...

We moved into our new home at the end of June, and more ecstatic I could not be. We loved our last home. It was the first home we ever owned. (And by “owned” I mean “owed an obscene amount of money to Washington Mutual.”) Two of our children were literally born inside that house, (one on the couch, one on the toilet.), we loved our neighbors, and we loved the low interest rate. But the time had come when we had really outgrown the place. Plus I didn’t want to have to take my daughter into the bathroom one day, point at the toilet, and say, “I’m afraid the rumors are true, Roxanna…this is where we brought you into the world.”

As fate would have it, I also started a new job this year. A job that has enabled us to own this new house, no less. (And by “own” I mean “owe an obscene amount of money to IndyMac Bank.”) The job is good, the house is wonderful, my family is healthy and happy … but if I’m going to be completely honest, I must admit that my entire sense of accomplishment stems from something else. Soap.

On our first morning in our new home I stepped into the shower to discover a new bar of soap, the likes of which I had never before seen. “This isn’t our standard Spring-scented Ivory,” I thought to myself. No, this soap was white…and kind of oval shaped. Hmmm… I picked it up, wetted it in the shower stream, and began rubbing it between my hands to produce a lather – the way God intended. Sweet saints and soldiers – this soap was fantastic! It smelled of success. It smelled of destiny. It smelled of providence. There is no way that a man having showered with this soap could not have concerted power over his own fate and the fate of the people around him. No sir. This was clandestine soap. This was the soap of corporate executives. Of media moguls. Of members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, for crying out loud! This soap had a new convert, to be sure. I became addicted.

My confidence at work – unmatched My social calendar – filled. My drollness around strangers – above reproach. I was certain that life could never get any better for me, now that I had discovered this life-shifting soap! Psychiatrists should prescribe this stuff, I thought. How much better the world could be if we could all ascertain the power of this soap. Bless you, Katie, my darling bride…bless you for experimenting with new soap.

And then one day the soap had gotten quite small.

“Honey,” I shouted from inside the shower, feeling powerful and masculine. “Can you hand me another bar of soap, this one is almost gone.”

“Really? Are you using the Ivory?”

”No. That is substandard soap.”

"What have you been using?”

“The other soap. The white, oval-shaped soap.”

“Oh. Huh. That soap was here when we moved in.”

I froze mid-lather, my hands to my face. The stream of water from the showerhead beating against my chest with a deafening reverberation. I was partially horrified that I was using a bar of soap owned and used regularly by a man I had never met, and partially horrified that the soap was almost gone, and I had no idea what it was called or where I could find more of it. I quietly wept, hiding my tears in the shower stream.

The soap is gone now. I guess it’s only a matter of time before I can kiss my job and this house goodbye as well. (Who’s going to employ a guy that smells like Irish Spring? Well, I don’t want to work for that employer, mister. I can’t go back to being that guy.)