Stink Eye

Most days, after undergoing a very involved morning routine that begins at 7:30 AM and ends at about 9 AM, whose details will remain undescribed, I roll into my executive handicapped bathroom to brush my hair, shave with my Norelco electric razor, and brush my teeth. Having acclimated to the calibrated use of Coumadin to keep clotting factors in line, I took a bold step and bought a shaving brush, two round cakes of shaving soap, a mug in which the soap is lathered-up, and a Gillette razor with real nick producing (potentially) blades. I tolerate a not so close electric shave most days. More like a whisker thatching, really. About once a week, for a true close shave, I lather up and raze the face.

On my countertop, in the corner, there are three bottles of Cologne and aftershave that stand like little soldiers. My wife got me these. She researched this scents, got samples, and gave them to me on special occasions.

For months after returning home from my first rehab experience, these manly scent containers were absolutely ignored. After all, most days I dressed in athletic stretch pants, a T-shirt or possibly a polo shirt, white support hose and knockoff crocs. Not exactly making any fashion statements. I only made appearances at places like Target, or when I went on trips around the neighborhood in my manual wheelchair. None of those were reasons to smell fancy.

Sundays were different, as I got to dress in real khaki pants, a button-down shirt, black support hose, real Docksider shoes, and my navy blue Duluth Trading Company presentation jacket, before heading off to church. Until one fateful Sunday, my visits to church, like any other day, were non-scented occasions.

On that predestined day, in a surreal moment, I heard one of my bottle-soldiers speak to me through his suddenly articulatable atomizer-mouth. “Pssssst!” I turned to my right and heard him say while at A-Ten-Hut! “Requesting permission to speak, Sir!” I granted his request — you’d have done the same. “Go on. Smell good, Sir!” I couldn’t believe it! So, with my right hand, I reached over and began to push Lieutenant Christian LaCroix Noir in my direction. Before pushing him off the edge of the countertop, I clamped him between my right and left palms, and removed his top with that other useful appendage: my teeth. This revealed his atomizing spray pump which I aimed in the direction of my neck. Cradling him in my left palm, I began to push his atomizing spray pump with my right palm. One, two, three, four, . . . . Nothing. I put on my cheater glasses and squinted at his now silent atomizer hole to see if it was clogged. As far as I could tell it was in perfect mist-emitting condition.

So I moved him back onto the countertop, aimed his atomizing spray pump to the left, and pounded it with my right palm. Success! A perfect Underwriters Laboratory mist was emitted. So, I held him once again in my left palm and prepared to push his atomizing spray pump with my right palm. The muscles in my neck, right shoulder, right triceps, right forearm tensed for an instant. In the blink of an eye, I forced his atomizing spray pump down. With the velocity of a speeding bullet, a textbook mist was emitted . . . directly into my left eye.

Its autonomic, reflexive blink was not fast enough and for a moment, I was disoriented, fearing I was going to be half blind. I waited. Did a systems check. Determined my vision was not significantly impacted. Sent Lieutenant Christian LaCroix Noir to his barracks — all leave cancelled.

Off to church we went. And, despite the burning and watering, my eye smelled great.

Published by cfheidel

Chuck Heidel here. Father of eight, married to lovely heroic Alice over 30 years. I'm a former midlife recreational cyclist, who was hit by a motorist while out riding in August 2009. Further validating Sir Isaac Newton's notions, the score that day was: Cars: 1. Bikes: 0, and I became a C7 tetraplegic, paralyzed from the mid-chest down. Author of WheeledWords:

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