I was taking a nice, relaxing, hot shower early this morning, with a large, white, freshly opened bar of original Ivory soap, when two things happened. I somehow managed to get some soap in one eye, and then the rectangular shaped bar slipped out of my hand, fell, and landed squarely on the top of my foot, a few inches back from my toes. I’ve often wondered about two things. What’s in soap that can burn the heck out of your eyes, and why does a four-ounce bar of soap, dropped just four feet on to your foot, feel like the force of a bowling ball dropped off the top of the Empire State Building.
Do you know that a package of Ivory Snow soap says it’s 99.44% pure? What do you think is in the other .56 percent – battery acid? As I stumbled out of the bathroom, wrapped in a small towel, while rubbing my red and burning eye, and hopping on one foot; my wife kept laughing at me. She said I looked like a one-legged, drunken kangaroo, and that for some strange reason it was kind of sexy. “Ha, ha, honey. It’s very funny, considering, I may have broken some bones on the top of my foot,” I said, while frantically searching for some ibuprofen for the pain, and some Visine drops for my irritated eyes. I then paused, thought for a moment of what my wife had said, and replied, “Excuse me sweetheart, but, did you just say, what I thought you said about me being sexy? Well, I guess you know what costume I’ll be wearing this year for Halloween.” I know what you’re all thinking; but if you happen to be a middle-aged man, and your wife gets a little frisky – you do what you have to do.
Soap is one of those things like toilet paper. It’s a vital part of our modern world, and one of the wonderful luxuries we often take for granted. Imagine a world without soap, and what would it would possibly smell like. On the bright side; my face mask business would be booming. I did some research last night, on the origins, and history of soap. Did you know that the earliest recorded evidence of the production of soaps, dates back to around 2800BC in ancient Babylon? Different variants of soap were also used by the Egyptians, and the Romans. The first hard toilet soaps with a pleasant smell were produced in the Middle East, around 1200 years ago. Though it had been around for a few thousand years, until the late 1800’s, only the rich and powerful had easy access to soap.
Here’s something that most people don’t know. I learned almost all soaps, besides the addition of specific fragrances, colors and moisturizers, are basically made out of tallow and Alkali salts; especially sodium hydroxide. That’s a strange combination. I had to look up tallow, to find out that it’s basically a rendered form of beef, mutton, or pig fat. I also found that sodium hydroxide or caustic soda as it’s sometimes called, is known by the common name, lye. Now, here’s where it gets a little crazy. I looked up lye, and it said it’s a caustic and corrosive agent, which besides being used to make soap, is an additive in diesel fuels, oven cleaners, and drain openers! In simple terms, this means that this morning, I took a shower, and thoroughly scrubbed every inch of my delicate skin with a bar of fat, mixed with some kind of acid. It’s a miracle, I didn’t come out of the shower looking like an overweight skeleton!
Are any of you old enough to remember when you were a kid, and a bad word slipped out of your mouth? What happened? If you said, your mom threatened to wash your mouth out with soap, you’re right. Pretty horrifying threat, wasn’t it? Not only because soap tasted terrible back then, but your dad, who had more hair on his body than a grizzly bear, had just finished his shower, and didn’t rinse off the soap. Did your mom ever follow through with her threat? Mine did a few times. Too bad, we never had some of the more palatable soap products that are on the market today. Yes, I admit it. A few times, while showering, I couldn’t help myself, and gently placed a bar of soap in my mouth, and slightly penetrated it with my teeth. Do you know something? A few of the latest in personal hygiene products don’t taste too bad. If I had some of them when I was a kid, I’d probably have cursed like a sailor. If my mom said, “I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap,” I’d probably reply with, “Okay, but could you use some Irish spring. I hear it gets you as clean as a whistle.”
Whenever I do my simple observations of everyday life, I always seem to bring up many unanswered questions. This post on soap is no exception. Why doesn’t soap have some type of instructions on it? Every other product does. How do you know the proper way to use it? I think every bar of soap should be inscribed with the words, “Wash Face First” on both sides. I come from a big family, and I remember, all of us sharing the same bar of soap. Is that really the best way to ensure that billions of germs don’t spread throughout the household? Why doesn’t everyone have their own personal bar of soap that they lock in a personal safe between uses? Have you ever heard of “soap of the month clubs?” Who joins these clubs; and if they do, do they have incredibly boring lives?
Why is the soap we find in hotel bathrooms, the size of a tic tac, looks like one of those disinfectant things they throw into bathroom urinals, smells terrible and won’t produce any lather, no matter how hard you rub them on your skin? Have any of you frantically scrubbed yourself with one of these tiny pieces of soap, and had it suddenly completely disappear? Did you check everywhere, including inside your ears, and under your armpits, and still didn’t find it? Where do you think it went? Have you ever had a bar of soap that was so slippery, it fell out of your hands twenty or thirty times? By the time you had bent, twisted, turned, stretched, and reached in your retrieval efforts; did you end up performing nearly all thirty, classic yoga poses? Did they include the downward and upward facing dog, the camel, the corpse, the intense side stretch, and the dolphin? Do you know that the original Ivory Soap, floats in water? Do you ever think it saved someone from drowning? If I ever go on a cruise, should I pack a hundred bars of it, in case the ship goes down, and I can’t find a personal flotation device? Do you think that when the Titanic sank, survivors were found, not only desperately clinging to bars of soap in icy waters, but were also, sparkling clean?
I guess I better get going. I just got back from a costume shop, and guess what? They were completely sold out of kangaroo attire. The owner said, he’s never seen so many middle-aged men, desperate to celebrate Halloween dressed as an Australian marsupial. The good news is, he still had one wallaby costume left. If you don’t already know, a wallaby is a smaller, cuter, and less rugged version of a kangaroo. I guess it will have to do. Now, I’ll just have to practice my one-legged hoping.