The other day I was in the health food store in Ellsworth, Maine and I heard this salesman explaining to a woman why she should spend $14 bucks on a small container of deodorant.
This deodorant, he explained, changes the climate of your underarms. And with the change of climate comes a change of bacterial count. And with the change in bacterial count comes a change in the type of bacteria your armpit produces, so pretty soon you won't have any odor-causing sweat. Amazing product. Because what happens next is that after a while you don't need deodorant at all. Me, for example. I never need deodorant anymore, even when it's 95 degrees outside. I only needed a few months of this expensive deodorant but it really paid off.
But the secret is, he added, you can't use ANY other kind of deodorant because that will mess up the climate and the bacterial balance. And then you will smell worse than ever.
The woman nodded and put the deodorant in her cart.
He was so convincing, how could she resist?
I wondered after how many products I have bought over the years, buying into some absurd logic. What is the dumbest thing I've ever spent money on?
I think of those dumb homeopathic vials that make you relax. Right. Relaxing drops. Jeepers. And those pillows to reduce neck pain. And . . .
What about those books that teach you how to write a great poem? I own a few but never read them. Maybe that's what I need to do, come to think about it.
AWP in Minneapolis, and recommended reading
3 weeks ago