Sunday, August 07, 2005


Attention farmers of the Midwest: I bring good news. I know it's been a rough summer for all of you. That's why I, at great expense of personal resources and brainpower, have figured out a simple solution to this drought problem.

It all came to me two weekends ago. The Travoltas -- the disco tribute band from Canada with legions of fans here in the Quad Cities -- were playing outside at Ribco in the District of Rock Island. Because there was no opening band, I was hired in my usual moonlighting capacity to hop onstage and spin some records for two hours to warm the crowd up.

Problem was, the crowd was already warmed up, owing to it being 100 degrees outside at the time. Add to that the extra heat of the stage lights blazing over my head and I was quickly learning the REAL definition of "Disco Inferno." That's when it happened: I started to sweat. But this wasn't your average, everyday, "hey-I'm-out-in-the-sun" kinda sweat. This was a full-on deluge. I looked like I'd been on the losing end of an epic battle with a Water Weasel. I've never felt so gross.

Ten minutes later, sitting in my car with the air on blast, I got to thinking about just how nasty sweat really is. When you're working hard and break out in a mild sweat, it feels almost satisfying, as if it's liquid testament to your hard work and diligence. Heck, sometimes looking at members of the opposite sex as they're sweating is a turn-on. Personally, if anyone had looked at me onstage that night and thought "sexy," I would have been fleeing in terror. When you really ponder it, sweat's just plain icky.

Think about it: we secrete weird biological fluid from the pores of our skin in order to cool off. LITERS of the stuff, in fact. That doesn't sound natural to me at all. That sounds slimy, alien, and gross. Thank heavens for whoever came up with the word "sweating," because let me tell you, Richard Simmons wouldn't sell any copies of something called "Secreting Fluid to the Oldies."

After lengthy research (aka typing the word "sweat" into Google,) I was even more appalled. Sweat comes from glands all over your body, some of which (your apocrine glands) produce sweat that's ripe with protein and carbs. When released to the skin, that protein gets munched on by bacteria that naturally hangs out all over your body. The bacteria then produces its own waste material that often has a distinctive odor (known by its scientific name, "da nasty funk.") So the next time you're standing next to some dude who's rank as decaying fish inside a gym sock, what you're REALLY doing is inhaling tiny molecules of, essentially, bacteria doodie. Folks, there are reasons I don't like to go outdoors; this is one of 'em.

I'm already the most self-conscious guy in the world; I don't need the added paranoia of wondering if I'm stanky or not. I'm a proud endorser of Mitchum deodorant, just because of its slogan: "So Effective, You Could Skip a Day." Not that I'm about to try it. Regardless, Mitchum or no, that Saturday night was the only time I've prayed that cute girls DIDN'T come up to the DJ booth to request a song.

I despise sweating like a pig. Except for the fact that pigs don't sweat. Pigs actually have the decency to keep their body fluids to themselves. This makes us inherently more gross than many of nature's creatures. I mean, would you keep a housepet if it sweat all over the place? Would you still love little Fluffy or little Fido if they cuddled up to you at night all wet and sticky? Ewwwww.

So I've learned that, when faced with massive temps, I sweat gallons. Drought schmought -- I'm just going to hire myself out to farmers. Just stick me in the sun and let me roll around the cornfields a bit. On that note, I'd best be off; this column paints SUCH a sexy picture that I'm guessin' the ladies will be e-mailing like mad.

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