It’s well established that my mom is what psychologists politely term “eccentric.” Growing up, she paid my sister and I to skip trick-or-treating, she refused (and still does) to buy a microwave because of it’s capacity to infect us all with cancer, and for a solid two years of my childhood she bought everything in the food store that had NEW! printed on the box. (Note: None of his should be construed as anything but affection. I absolutely love that I have a mother who bought an electric toothbrush and two days later offered it to me complaining that it “made her dizzy.”)
Her latest whimsical escapade has been into the world of “organic.” If it’s organic, chances are my mother has it: organic toothpaste, organic sugar, organic shampoo, organic cotton, organic pancake mix and organic peanut butter. I imagine if a salesman showed up at her door tomorrow with an “organic air filtration system,” she would take out her checkbook and buy five on the spot – one for herself and one for every member of the family who is unfortunate enough to have been breathing inorganic air all these years.
Being a person with strong feelings about receiving free stuff from others, I have never turned down any organic product my mother has sent my way. I loved the organic soap, although the organic toothpaste, with it’s ability to froth up to twenty times its own mass, took a bit of adjusting too. The organic chicken, I’ll admit, tastes infinitely better than your run-of-the-mill, dirty, man made chicken. And when I was at my parents house a few weekends ago and handed a stick of organic deodorant, I was naturally (ha!) excited to try it.
What’s the point of an organic deodorant, you ask? Great question. Apparently, most deodorants contain chemicals such as Aluminum, Zinc, Propylene Glycol, Phthalates, all of which may be harmful if absorbed into the skin over long periods of time. Indeed, there are warning labels on all deodorants to not use the product on open wounds and to immediately call poison control if it is ingested. One look at the active ingredient in my current deodorant (Old Spice Red Zone) and, sure enough, there it is: Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex, which, if my high school chemistry still serves me, stands for “Aluminum with Zinc and three Chloriney Hydrogen things.”
Three?! That does sound dangerous.
The organic deodorant, on the other hand, contains things like corn starch, candelilla wax, shea butter, and tea tree oil, all things you might find in your kitchen cupboard or your hemp medicine-woman fanny pack. I may not be the most holistic person, what with my predilection towards alcohol and pain medication, but I appreciate the logic that if something natural can do a job just as well as something chemically unnatural, why not go organic?
Unfortunately, what the organic deodorant label doesn’t tell you is that while corn starch, candelilla wax, shea butter, and tea tree oil may be great for arts and crafts, they have no ability whatsoever to keep you from smelling like a pile of garbage. When I got home from work yesterday, the first day I tried the organic deodorant, and took off my sweater I almost passed out. Flashing before my eyes was a scene of paramedics finding me in my bathroom with a gaping head wound caused by my head hitting the porcelain sink when I collapsed. They were all wearing surgical masks and trying to get to me, but were routinely turned back by the horrible odor.
I literally had to shower right then and there. As I scrubbed away with a coarse loofah and the most fragrant body wash I could find in The Girlfriend’s stash, I reflected upon how close I had come to becoming the first person I knew to die from their deodorant. And not because over the course of 50 years Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex seeped into my lymph nodes and crippled my body’s circulatory system, but because my own stench was too much to bear. I implore everyone reading this, especially the ones who I come into contact with on a regular basis, to continue using your harmful, slowly degenerative, chemically compounded deodorants; because trust me – when you’ve been where I was, where it almost ended so pungently . . . well poisoning myself has never felt so good.