Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Be Careful What You Ask For

I'm not a cheapskate. Well, not all the time. But there are times that I have save a few cents here or there by making some sacrifices. And sometimes those sacrifices have unexpected benefits.

It's been over nine years since I left the Army. And there were many things about wearing my country's uniform that I really liked. But, for the moment, I want to focus on some of the various characters I encountered in the military.

One thing that many in the military will do is share items. Personal items.

Like deodorant. And razors. And soap. And such.

Now, I don't know about you, but it seemed a little odd to share some items. Oh, don't get me wrong, if another soldier needed a personal care item, I would share. But I always tried to make sure that I didn't need to borrow another soldier's stuff.

Let me make clear that by "borrow" I do mean "borrow" and am not using the term as a polite way of saying "steal." Sure, like anywhere, you'll find people that will "borrow" without asking and never return the items. That kind of borrowing can be called "stealing." And that's not the kind of "borrowing" I'm talking about.

I'm talking about someone saying, "Hey, I forgot my deodorant. Can I use yours?" Or "Hey, do you have an extra razor?" Or "Anybody have some soap I can use?"

That kind of borrowing. Asking first, accepting, and then returning the item.

But, like I said, it struck me as ... well, different ... that people would casually borrow other personal care items. Maybe I've got some Mr. Monk in me, but I guess I would borrow someone's personal care items, but I'd try to make certain I didn't have to.

And I did make sure. I don't ever remember borrowing those kinds of items from others.

But some would ask to borrow from me. And of course, I'd share.

Now, you remember a little bit ago when I mentioned that I will be cheap on occasion? Well, one way is to, at home, buy just one brand of deodorant. Or one brand of razors. And the like.

But the then-wife (now ex-wife) didn't want to use my Ban Roll-on or my Suave Solid. She'd want her Secret Roll-on or Solid. Usually the blue container with the "Powder Fresh Scent." Which was okay with me. Remember, Secret was "strong enough for a man, but made for a woman." It works. It's a good and effective deodorant. At least, that's how it was for me.

So, I'd use the Secret deodorant. And, when I had to go on a field exercise, I'd throw the Secret into the shaving kit. Right next to the Lady Bic razors.

The then-wife used the disposable Lady Bic razors. Or she bought them one time or something. Anyway, rather than buy the standard Bic razors, I'd use the pink Lady Bics.

Now, Lady Bics are good razors. It may be all in my head, but it seemed to me that they were better razors than the standard bics.

It seems they'd have to be. Think about it. How much surface area is taken up by a man's face? And how much surface area is taken up by a woman's legs? Lady Bics got more work to do. And they do it just fine.

So, I didn't mind using the Lady Bics. They were good razors, and my using them meant only having to buy one type of disposable razor.

Anyway, I'd take the Secret Solid in the Powder Fresh Scent and my pink Lady Bics with me on field exercises.

And, invariably, someone would forget some personal care items. And someone would ask to borrow my deodorant. Or ask for a razor.

Breaking out the Powder Fresh Scent Secret deodorant always got some odd looks. But the borrower would ususally say "Thanks anyway, but I'll get something else."

And, when I'd answer their request for a razor by tossing them a pink razor, they'd usually give it back to me with another "Thanks anyway."

Heck, I didn't care. Those items worked. And I gave a darn what they thought. Every soldier that asked to borrow an item, after I switched from Ban to Secret and from Bic to Lady Bic, never asked again to borrow an item. They didn't want to be caught using Secret deodorant or a pink razor. They cared what others might think.

I didn't. I was clean-shaven, had a Powder Fresh Scent about me, and was ready to kill!


  1. I used to know a guy who worked construction. He used to paint the handles of his favorite tools pink. Or he would mark them with pink paint. He claimed that he used to get a lot of tools stolen, until he began doing that. And he claimed it stopped, that no one wanted to "borrow" or steal his pink tools.

  2. Hilarious. I freely admit that the lady bics are good razors when I have been reduced to using them out in the boonies, and I'm too cheap to chuck them away even when we had them at home.

    However, the only time my father-in-law ever, EVER, got mad at my wife, was when she used his face razor for herself. She got the silent treatment for three days. We have sloved this problem by all switching to the electric variety.

  3. Tooooo funny. It sounds as if you are very secure in your manhood. Isn't that "powder fresh" supposed to smell like baby powder?

  4. Yeah, somewhat. It's not overpowering, though. Certainly not enough to overpower the smell of a freshly fired M-16A2.


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