by Pablo Goldstein
Ma. Pa. I need to tell y'all something. Something mighty serious. Now, I know you two are set on me taking over the family farm, even with all my frivolities and whatnot. But tending to the land just ain't for me! When the rooster hollers out his morning wail, a wave of dread washes over my being thinking 'bout the long day of toiling ahead of me. I know this 200 acre parcel of land has been under the care of us Slagels for generations but I gotta do what makes me happy! And what brings me joy is writing aggressive yet knowingly winking copy on the back of men's body wash.
Please don't cry, Ma. Dry those baby blues. At least let me explain where I'm coming from. Ever since I was youngin', the best part of my laborious day in the field has been the wet reward at the end of it: a steaming hot shower. And what has made it so intoxicating is the snappy paragraph on the back of my bottle of body wash. Assertive, witty, and supportive, each scent and brand was like making a new friend every time Ma came back from market. For a farmboy like myself with ambitions of heading to the big city, being called "champ" by a bottle of Old Spice Wolfthorn or "the man" by Old Spice Swagger gave me the confidence I needed to follow my dreams. And when I'm given the Old Spice account after being promoted to Senior VP of Creative Services, I hope to inspire the new generation to chase their dreams.
My scent, if you're wondering, will be called FarmHand. Or MountainSeed. It's still in the brainstorm stage but I'll never forget my roots.
When am I leaving? By the end of the fall harvest, I'll be all set up in The Big Apple! The City That Never Sleeps! Heck, maybe the mayor will let a simple country boy like myself come up with a new nickname. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First I gotta hustle my way into the industry. I'm no fool though. Old Spice ain't the only game in town. Perhaps I'll find myself with Irish Spring, writing copy in the voice of the modern Irish man viewed through the lens of a Madison Avenue executive. Y'know, the kind of Irishman who voted yes on gay marriage but still calls women "lassies" and bathes under a waterfall because it's the most convenient place in his village. Shoot, if Dove Men + Care came a calling, I would fight tooth and nail with my colleagues to be the one who takes on that challenge. What better way to make my reputation than personifying a bottle that is jokingly self-aware of belonging to a brand commonly associated with women?
Maybe if I do well in the print department, they'll promote me to TV! Ma, just imagine: You'll be watching the Wheel when all of a sudden a 10 foot tall sentient jet ski explodes to reveal a retired NFL player riding a mongoose, which also explodes into an army of windsurfing bacon. So random! While the more recent commercials aren't directed by Tim and Eric anymore, they retain that signature alternative late night aesthetic that is so popular on the coasts. What's that, Pa? You say you don't understand anti-comedy? I'm not asking you to understand my passion, I'm just asking you to accept that it burns deep within me.
CoolBurn! That's what I'll name my signature scent. Forget FarmHand. I'm a CoolBurn boy!
Please, Pa, don't yell at me. I want us to be on good terms when I head out on my own. I know you haven't been the most supportive father when it came to my love of reading the back labels on body wash. I still remember the hints you dropped by leaving a 4-pack of bar soap on my bed while I was in school. But just like you can't change someone's sexuality by putting a football in an effeminate toddler's crib, you can't change a body wash man to a soap man. Especially when their copy is so stale and stuck in decades past. Describing how the clean the soap gets you is one thing. But you need the body wash to talk to you like it was your pal, your chum, your brother, your very best friend. And I don't got any friends is this one-horse town ever since the guys found out I'm a body wash man. You ever been bullied for your love of a liquid soap that moisturizes your skin and doesn't leave mineral residue in the tub? It ain't no walk in the park.
You're ashamed of me? Please don't say that, Pa. I'm leaving whether you like it or not. And as long as I'm a body wash man, maybe I can do something to make this crazy mixed-up world a better place. Wherever there's a shelf full of 16.9 fluid ounces of pretty-smelling blue goo, I'll be there. Wherever there's a man sick and tired of bar soap's tendency to dry the skin, I'll be there. Wherever there's a young fella without a Bluetooth shower radio who just wants some damn reading material while he gets all sudsy, I'll be there. Wherever there's a--
TractorHunk! Forget all the other names. TractorHunk it is!
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.