The world is falling apart. If this is comes as news, you are either Justin Bieber or one of the Kardashians. The evidence for this assertion is abundant. Gas is the cheapest in 10 years yet no one seems happy about it. Stocks are tanking and airfares are soaring. In Kansas, earthquakes have replaced tornadoes as the most worrisome natural disaster. Fiji just sustained the strongest storm in the recorded history of the southern hemisphere.
There’s more. Last month The New York Times featured this headline: “Argentina Scrambles to Fight Biggest Plague of Locusts in 60 Years.” It seems that farmers there are struggling to “control the country’s worst plague of locusts in more than half a century.” Meanwhile, epidemiologists have added the term Zika to our latest lists of diseases spread by the world’s most unpopular pest — mosquitoes. And right now those pesky insects are headed north.
Kanye West is $40 million in debt and wants us to bail him out. But that’s not the shocking part. People are actually helping him. Someone started a Gofundme account with the promise to “Get Kanye out of debt” and in eight days more than 800 people have contributed.
Additional proof: Since 2014, there have been 49 people who have died taking selfies with grizzly bears, rattlesnakes or too close to cliffs. And maybe you read where honeybees are going into zombie mode and then dying. In the face of this and other turmoil, our leaders are getting weak-kneed. Many are pointing fingers, casting aspersions and causing enormous headlines. And that’s just the pope.
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I could go on but this column has a space limit.
A hundred years from now archeologist will find the cause. It will come at the conclusion of a huge archeological dig. They will convene a world conference and declare their discovery. And their findings will shock those remaining survivors. But I can predict their results. Today. Right here.
The tipping point? Body wash. A.KA. shower gel or body gel. Soap — which for a billion years has been effective in ridding germs and B.O. — is uncool and going unsold. In its place is thinly disguised water that smells.
NPR saw this coming six years ago. They reported that sales of bar soaps have fallen 40 percent since the introduction of body washes. This is true even though they are more expensive and, they determined, “consist largely of water. Gels are also more profitable, so it’s no surprise that companies have stopped advertising bar soaps.”
Those experts many years from now will conclude that this body wash concept was hatched by another bad idea, something called body spray, as in Axe Body Spray. Axe has been fumigating homes around the world, but instead of killing insects, it’s gagging parents. And with body spray came body gel, and then an onslaught of other horrific ideas. Like Crocs, Zumba pants, autocorrect, selfie sticks, those headsets that extend from people’s ears, car alarms and the Farmers Only website, which for some reason gets heavy rotation during KU basketball games. Another precursor to body gels: travel pillows that people bring on planes to wrap around their necks but invariably end up rubbing against your cheek. One thing led to another and our world began circling the drain.
Body wash is a liquid that comes in a bottle with macho names like Timber Fresher, Swagger Red, Denali Fresher and Wolfhorn Wild. If those names confuse you, then good luck understanding how it makes you clean. Yet body wash is flying off the shelves — and sometimes right past the cash register. One news story from Brooklyn reported that a shoplifter stole $55 worth of body wash from a drugstore. “The thief walked into the store near Warren Street around 4:30 am. He grabbed 10 bottles of body wash, skipped the checkout line, and fled in a cab, police said.”
Recently I had a first-hand experience with body gel. I was staying in a hotel with no bar soap. These are the steps required. 1. Get comfortable in the hot shower. Relax. Go to a happy place. Stay there. 2. Now remember you are supposed to get clean. 3. Look for soap. There is no soap. 4. Look for other options. You see four bottles near you. Shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and body gel. The shower is dark. 5. Look closer. 6. Open it. 7. Squirt it. 8. Watch it wash away. 9. Squirt again. Wash away. 10. Repeat. 11. Keep trying. Get angry. Finish shower. 12. Discover you just applied to your body Juicy Mango hair conditioner.
Simple, easy, sensible died. They had a funeral for them. No one came because they were too busy reading labels in the shower. And, unfortunately, the collapse of sanity continues to escalate. Next month, Bieber is coming to Sprint Center. Bringing with him: his “Be with me” body wash.
Matthew Keenan writes the first and third Wednesday of the month. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.