On the Love of Showers, Soap, Rubber Duckies, and Thirst Relief International

On the Love of Showers, Soap, Rubber Duckies,

And Thirst Relief International

By

Joseph Anthony

 

So I was
reading some P.G. Wodehouse (“Right Ho, Jeeves”) by candlelight a
couple days ago during one of the recent power outages here in Philly, and
there is a scene where Bertie Wooster (one of the goofball main characters) is
really down in the dumps.  He decides to
take a bath (“splash in the porcelain”) in order to lift his spirits, and it
works!  While doing so he even discovers
there is a rubber ducky in the tub, and his delight really takes off.  Here is how that scene reads:

“After
splashing about in the porcelain for a bit, composure began to return…I have
always found that in moments of heart-bowed-downness there is nothing that
calms the bruised spirit like a good go at the soap and water….The discovery
of a toy duck in the soap dish contributed not a little to this new and happier
frame of mind. What with one thing and another, I hadn’t played with toy ducks
in my bath for years, and I found the novel experience most invigorating. For
the benefits of those interested, I may mention that if you shove the thing
under the surface with the sponge and then let go, it shoots out of the water
in a manner calculated to divert the careworn.”

As in the
above snippet suggests, taking a bath or a shower is completely therapeutic in
the truest sense of the word.  Water is a
great healer, whether one is drinking a nice cool, glass of it or taking a
dip in the tub.  Water heals, refreshes,
invigorates, and cleanses.  And when you
add fragrant soap to the tub and shower, the whole effect is even more wonderful
and enjoyable.

Here’s a
secret that is now no longer a secret:  I
love soap.  Soap and water. And showers. 
Baths are good too.  Any kind of
water contact involving fragrant soap is a miracle.  Really. 
Now that the secret is out, allow me to further elucidate on the
subject.

When I was
growing up the only soap we had in the house was Ivory, which, back then,
smelled like well, a dull, yet somehow biting-block of lard.  Sometimes my mom ordered a bar from Avon
scented with musk or something, but in general, the soap fragrances back then
were limited.  Liquid soap for showers
became popular when I was about 10, but even then, the fragrances were nothing
too exotic—it was like showering with liquid dish-soap.

Today we can
shower with any fruit we want—pear, pineapple, strawberry, watermelon, pomegranate,
grapefruit, peach, blueberry, mango, citrus, cucumber, and more.  We can lather in vegetables, like carrots and
celery.  We can foam up with soaps
scented with almonds, pumpkins, honey, sandalwood, amber, vanilla, peppermint; and
flower essences like patchouli, lilac, clover, honeysuckle, and rose.  We can delight in spreading the rich lather
of cinnamon scented soap, or even chocolate scented soap. Soap making today is
an art form of the highest order (Check out my friend Vanessa’s website: she is one of those artists making [among other many wonderful things] soap): Nirvanaland Essentials).  Her soaps are amazing!

I tell
you the truth that taking a shower in the morning (or anytime) is one the
absolute best parts of my day. I always (and you know I don’t use the word “always”
very often, but in this case, it’s true) step out of a shower feeling like I’ve
been blessed, baptized by holy water—so ready to get on with the day.

The French poet, Francis Ponge, knew about the loveliness of water, and especially of soap.  He wrote a whole book-length prose-poem-meditation
about soap (one of my all-time favorite books for its sheer enthusiasm and adventurous
spirit) in the 1940’s.  Here is a little excerpt from
his book:

“There is something adorable in the
personality of soap.  Why adorable?  Because its behavior is at once the highest
degree appealing and completely inimitable. 
Here is a sort of mediocre pebble, flatly reposing in the plainest
saucer in the house.  A man comes in with
dirty hands.  Then the forgotten soap
gives itself up to him.  Not without some
coquetry.  It swathes itself in
glistening, iridescent veils and, at the same time, tends to vanish…no more
fugitive stone in nature. But then, the game exactly consists of holding it in
the fingers and chafing it, by the addition of a dose of water sufficient to
obtain a voluminous, pearly slobber, wheras if one left it to remain in the
water, it would perish in confusion.  For
soap has its particular dignity…it is a magic stone…the more it foams, with air
and water, clusters of scented grapes, it is explosive…water, air and soap
overlap, playing leapfrog…Yet it is necessary to return it to its saucer, to
its austere oval, its dry patience, and its power to serve again.”

For me
there is nothing like showering and lathering with soap that smells like
heaven.  It is a sensual and truly
self-affirming experience that I can’t recommend enough.  And it is an experience comprised of the
simplest ingredients: soap and water.

And speaking
of water, my friend Lefty has once again started a fundraising campaign with
Thirst Relief International and so any and all donations that come to the
Wonder Child Blog from this post (see the donation button below after the Ernie video) will be given directly to his campaign.  And for every $10 you donate he will donate
$5 until he’s reached the goal of $2,500. So for as long as this post in
online, any donations will go to Thirst
Relief International (TRI).  TRI is a
wonderful organization that helps provide clean, safe drinking water to the
nearly one billion people on our planet who have no access to any.  Of course, you can go directly to Lefty’s campaign
page and donate there too.  Click this sentence for the link.

Now please
don’t think this post was a big set up to try and make you feel guilty for
loving soap and water or for taking long, leisurely showers.  That was not my intention at all.  I love long, leisurely showers and have no
guilt for taking them whatsoever.  I
decided to add the fundraising piece to this post in hopes your love of water
and soap will be shared with others in a real and tangible way.  So have a splash in the porcelain and then donate
to Thirst Relief International.

Thank you
again for reading my friends.  You are
the bee’s knees. 

100% of all donations for this post will go to Thirst Relief International.  Thank you.




Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

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