Warning! If you are even slightly shy, you might want to stop reading now. Because today I will be discussing an intimate body part known as the “intergluteal cleft.” Translation for those of us not having a medical dictionary at hand, I am referring to our butt cracks!
If you watch even a smattering of television, I’m sure you’ve noticed the commercials for a product called Lume, pronounced Lu-mee. (Sorry, my keyboard doesn’t have the appropriate diacritic key.) It’s hard to miss. The in-your-face face of its inventor, one Dr. Shannon Klingman, does a close-up so close up on your screen that it provides a TV viewing experience akin to IMAX.
In her all-to-frequent ads, she of the giant head proclaims that she has created a full-body deodorant so safe and effective that it can be used anywhere on your body, including your private and not-so-private parts. I watch in amazement as she pantomimes the application of Lume (please picture the mark that turns the final letter into a long “e”) on her own enlarged anatomical structures. I mean, who knew that my boobs might be smelly even if I showered every day! I’ve never had any complaints. But that’s a topic for another day.
I’ve gotten used to seeing her take over my entire TV screen, so when I hear her voice, I have been able to tune out her enthusiasm for eliminating body odor. But the other day, one of her commercials made me sit up and take notice. While most of her spiel includes a rundown of all possible areas of the body where bacteria could be lurking, this commercial had a particular focus on the cleavage between our lower cheeks, crudely known as the butt crack.
What I found so curiously startling about this particular 60-second segment was that Dr. Klingman was actually quoting statistics from a study, complete with visuals such as a bar graph, that proved that an application of Lume was effective in eliminating 100% of butt crack odor for a full 72 hours, whereas 60% of odor (or something like that) remained or returned in the same time period after a mere shower.
Wow! This was amazing. Not the deodorant, but the idea that such a study even existed. I mean, who funds a study on butt crack odor? And why? And what is the protocol? I don’t even want to think about it!
Did the study’s participants agree to not shower for three days? That’s not the habit of most people I know.
And tell me, how do we know that our butt cracks smell? I’m no contortionist, and it certainly never occurred to me to ask a friend, or even my husband.
Dr. Klingman, I have a fresh marketing idea for you. Have you ever considered selling your products through Petco? Because it’s dogs, not people, who get acquainted by sniffing each other’s butts. Having raised five dogs over the years, I have countless memories of getting tangled in dog leashes while my and a neighbor’s canine circled each other nose to rear end, deciding if they could be friends.
And think of all the creative new scents you could develop. Smells like Fire Hydrant, Chicken Bones, Goose Poop and all those other good whiffs to which dogs are attracted. Even the fiercest of dogs could become best buds based on the pleasing aromas emanating from their rear ends.
No need to acknowledge me for authoring this novel concept. And I don’t want any royalties. But you could do me one big favor. Please remove your face, and all your body parts, from my TV screen. I, and my dog, thank you!
So, we turned the clock back an hour this past weekend. Unless you live in Hawaii or Arizona. Those states are on perpetual Daylight Savings Time. Unless you are a member of the Navajo Nation who happens to live in Arizona. In that case, like the rest of the 48, you did turn back the clock.
I see you scratching your head, so I will explain. To be in conformity with their brothers and sisters who live in neighboring states where clock-changing is a seasonal ritual, the Arizona Navajos have decided that if it’s twelve noon for a cousin who lives in Gallup, New Mexico, then it should be twelve noon for the cousin who lives near Flagstaff.
However, what happens when someone leaves the tribal land and steps into the Daylight Savings Time zone? And then returns. Does their mobile phone keep flipping the hour back and forth? I wouldn’t want to be Siri in Arizona!
After this long digression about the southwest, let me get to my main point, which is sleep, or lack thereof. If you’re like me, messing with the clock can mess with an already fragile sleep cycle. Which reminds me of an essay I wrote several years ago that is every bit as true today as it was then.
The Insomnia Games
I am not, by nature, a competitive person. If I even so much as win at a game of Scrabble, my inclination is to leap over the board, hug the loser, and say “sorry.” Yet, each morning, upon opening my eyes, I find myself engaged in a verbal duel.
I’m not exactly sure when this all began. Perhaps it started on that critical birthday. The one when my bladder decided to stop cooperating with my need for hydration, and instead taunt me during the night in two-hour intervals. Which I think is very spiteful.
I’m reminded of my former dogs. When they were old, I had to remove their water bowls no later than 5:00 PM to prevent them from awakening after bedtime and having to go outside to pee. At least I don’t have to go outside, but I’m considering rolling back happy hour.
What is referred to as “a good night’s sleep” has become elusive. As it has for my husband, who swears he hasn’t slept through the night since he was 10 months old. His parents are deceased so I cannot confirm or deny this report, but I do know that another factor in my sleepus interruptus is the glow of his iPad at some ungodly hour.
As a result of this pernicious insomnia, we have become quite competitive, constantly challenging each other as to who has had the worst night. A typical morning conversation might go something like this:
“How did you sleep?”
“Yeah, well, I slept worse.”
“I woke at 3:00 am and haven’t been to sleep since.”
“Yeah, well, I woke at 2:50.”
“No, you didn’t. I saw you. You were sound asleep.”
“I was just pretending.”
“So how come you were snoring?”
“I had to go to the bathroom three times.”
“I had to go four.”
“Yeah, well, I had leg cramps.”
“I know. I heard you marching around the bedroom.”
“No, you didn’t. You were sleeping.”
The verbal jousting is halted by the current dog, who is covering his ears, and our need for coffee. This requires one of us leaving the bed, usually me.
I’m quite sure that competitive not-sleeping isn’t limited to us. I believe we have entered a stage in life where sleep deprivation may very well be the new status age-related deficit, edging out other contenders, like the greatest number of body part replacements, who knows the best doctors, and HDL scores.
Conversations around a dinner table often focus on the virtues and pitfalls of Ambien over Lunesta, or how spraying lavender on your pillowcase is very soothing and will lull you to dreamland. I tried that. I wound up with a damp pillowcase and an allergy attack.
And don’t ever complain to a friend that you’re tired all the time because you average only four hours of sleep. Sympathy will not be forthcoming, but rather, “you think that’s bad; I never sleep.”
As for me, I’m tired, and would like to withdraw from the game. I’d gladly relinquish the gold medal in exchange for a few nights of sound, solid, restful sleep.
And when my husband laments in the morning about how bad the night was, I would gently pat his hand, commiserate, and try my best to refrain from gloating. After all, I’m not a competitive person.
About the Author
Susan is the author of two award-winning collections of humorous personal essays: “How Old Am I in Dog Years?” and “How to Complain When There’s Nothing to Complain About.” Check out her Author Page HERE.