For many years now, I’ve used Right Guard as my deodorant, and more specifically, the Right Guard that’s got red highlights on the can. I don’t know what scent or variety it is, though I think it says something about sport on it. I just look for the black can with some red trim in the logo. It’s been increasingly difficult in recent months to find my deodorant, and I recently picked up a different variety of Right Guard. As it turns out, it smells a lot like what I think of as the smell of Raid bug spray (hey, what happened to the clunky, rusted orange can I remember from my childhood?).
The other day, as I lodged my misdirected daily complaint about my new possibly bug-resistant (though that’s sort of beside the point) odor, M suggested that I just toss the can of deodorant and find something else. (Some women apparently, by the way, spend lots of time smelling deodorants when they pick them out; I don’t do as much diligence, though perhaps I should, given my tendency to complain when I smell like the death-stench-nightmare of bugs everywhere.) But no fucking way am I going to toss a can of deodorant for which I paid between three and four dollars and out of which I can usually expect to get at least two months’ worth of (de)odorizing. It’s just wasteful.
M was greatly amused by the fact that I complained about wasting four bucks’ worth of deodorant at the same time that I had spent $400 on an iPod. We also recently spent thousands of bucks on bedroom furniture and home decor (the bedroom furniture I very mirthfully proclaimed in a conversation tonight would last, by gosh, until we broke it), and I’m thinking very seriously about putting around 500 square feet of decent wood flooring in my home, not exactly a cheap proposition. At first glance, my being frugal (some would say cheap) about my deodorant does in fact seem kind of funny.
But it’s really not all that comical. To throw away perfectly acceptable, if not altogether desireable, deodorant is simply wasteful. To put money toward very nice bedroom furniture that we’ll spend the next forty years enjoying trying to break is a good investment (the old furniture would have held up for another year or two, max). To spend three grand now putting wood floors in my living room so that my house is worth an extra five or six grand on top of normal value accrual in five years is simply a good investment in addition to being a good idea because I have pets that yak on my cheap carpet with some frequency. And the iPod, well, it’s a luxury item to be sure. But music is a part of my daily life. It helps me work. Several years ago, we spent fifty or sixty bucks on a CD player for the car that we’ve gotten good use out of, and the iPod is a great deal more user-friendly and safer to operate while driving. And the tape-deck CD player and the 250 CDs I’d need to pack to meet my iPod’s capacity aren’t exactly great for plane trips.
For things that are important to me, I demand quality. I could have gotten a bedroom suit for a half or a quarter of the price I paid for mine, but I wanted sturdy, beautiful furniture that would last me for the rest of my life. The same goes for the wood floors; if I go through with it, I’ll get decent quality wood (nothing synthetic) because I want something I’ll enjoy that will also increase the value of my home and ultimately be a good investment. The iPod too is an instrument of high quality, and I think it’ll prove more enjoyable to use than any other mp3 player would have been.
The deodorant, though, is repugnant apparently only to me. I’m the only person among those I’ve had sniff my freshly (de)odorized armpits who thinks it smells like Raid, and as something important but fairly (if you apply it correctly) unobtrusive, it’s something I can compromise on. I wouldn’t intentionally buy the same deodorant again, but it’s not something whose quality (so long as it masks my body odor) I value enough to waste money on buying a replacement for. It doesn’t burn when I apply it, and in fact, after it’s gotten a little stale, it smells a bit like some sort of cheap cologne (I would only buy cheap cologne, as scent isn’t a valuable commodity to me), so in a way, this deodorant provides a bonus I could never have expected.
Who in his right mind would waste such a find, even though he wouldn’t find it again if he had his way?