I was with my wife inside a super-duper mega store (the kind that makes you think about The Truman Show, and the wall of clouds) when we passed a table full of men’s cologne. And, lo and behold, I saw it. I saw the first true signs of the apocalypse: Tim McGraw’s new ‘fragrance’.
He decided to drop his first name, so the test bottle read, simply, in silver letters: McGraw. A glass bottle that looks like a smashed flask, with a black top. I read the coupon-sized printout in front: “McGraw is a spicy woody fragrance with notes of bergamot, nutmeg, lavender, moss, amber, patchouli, sandalwood and aged whisky”.
I shook my head and walked toward the food aisles.
“What’s so funny?” she asked me.
“On the print-out. It said ‘notes’. Since he sings, they decided to use the word ‘Notes’, like it was some kind of pun.”
She laughed, and as we walked around the super thunder power market center, I kept imagining scenarios with men who get caught wearing ‘too much’ of that sweet cologne that probably cost millions of dollars to make. The first situation I thought of was simple: You’re at a friend’s house, having, I don’t know, an egg nog party, and everyone’s wearing a Christmas sweater, laughing at every other line cause, damn, sometimes you just need to laugh. And then in walks this guy. He’s bald, tight black t-shirt, his itty bitty sleeves rolled up so he can show you his King of Hearts tattoo. The guy clears his throat and nods at everyone as he passes, but you just happen to recognize that scent.
“Hey,” you say.
“What kind of cologne are you wearing?”
“I don’t wear…”
He looks around. “McGraw,” he says.
“Sure, I don’t know…”
“You’re wearing Tim McGraw.”
“So right now you smell like Tim McGraw.”
“Look dude, I get it…my girl got it for me. She likes it.”
“Where’s your girl right now?”
When I think about capitalism, and the required onslaught of products that are hurled toward us by giant-sized discus throwers, it doesn’t take me long to understand how we, in a way, need recession. At least for my wife and I, we don’t feel this economic blast of sadness because all we see is the glorious decline in gas prices. To us, and I have to think to millions of others (I’m not unique), this recession is still inside our TV sets, screaming at us with their hair on fire: It’s over! For the love of God sell your house and move. Sell your house! Aaah!
I’m not an economics expert, but I have to believe that every economy, every government, inhales and exhales. And what I would love, more than anything else, is to watch this gigantic country full of power and ego blow everything, including McGraw, off its selling tables and get back toward something resembling honesty. As I kept saying to my wife, walking down the aisles built for humans on stilts: “We have TOO MANY PRODUCTS.” Is it not clear enough by now that the majority use most of their day staring at three different-sized screens…TV, Computer, cell phone. With this new electronic holy trinity, does it matter anymore what we surround ourselves with?
We got back home and within seconds contradicted everything I felt angry about. I stared at one of three screens that enslaves us and I looked up an article on McGraw, only so I could extend my shake-of-the-head anger a little longer, and I saw that the creator was going for a more woody, spicy scent which would radiate masculinity. Then I thought about running madly into the middle of a forest. I imagined myself falling on the long grass and letting the rain drench me. Because of my horrible selection of things I choose to remember, I would recall knowing that Wayne Newton, who became furious over his voice not changing, once left his family and walked into the woods and let out primal roars ‘for over six and a half hours’ until his voice had disappeared. In its place grew the nasal-yet-husky baritone we’ve grown to, um…love.
Tim McGraw, Wayne Newton…Patrick Parr.
Let the exhale continue…