Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ramblings of a sick mind

When I was a child I not only knew but was thoroughly convinced that soap and water was not (as my betters informed me) good for me but was in fact positively harmful and probably toxic. On the rare occasions that my grandmother Nellie managed to corner me, soap in one hand and scrubbing brush in the other, she would scrub away at my filthy skin, ranting and raving about disgusting children and, in my opinion, she should have been arrested and taken away by the Cruelty Man.

However, I managed to get to my teens relatively clean - and then discovered girls. Girls were very strange indeed, they thought belng clean was a great idea and were even known to get washed without first being beaten senseless by their elders. They did it because they wanted to! As I say - very strange creatures indeed. For some reason girls found gut-wrenching odours offensive and quite obnoxious, and insisted on their boyfriends having at least one wash a week and smelling reasonably acceptable.

Girls smelled nice, but I didn't relate smelling nice with soap and water. I thought girls smelled nice automatically because of the sugar and spice sort of thing. So, much against my better judgement, I began to wash on a regular basis and before I knew where I was I quite liked it - liked feeling clean and liked smelling quite nice. I was thirty-six at the time.

Anyway, as a callow youth, I began to get the message concerning personal cleanliness and general self care. My salad days then improved no end because girls were suddenly not averse to cuddling - and even going so far as to kiss me now and then. I would sit with a girl, kissing all night, and on the walk home my face would be soaking wet, my lips would be frayed at the edges and my whole mouth numb - I felt like I had been to the dentist's! Howsomever, let's get back to the original theme - washing.

As the years passed of course, like all nasty, grubby little boys, I became a normal, self-washing cove - and by the time I was about sixteen I was the epitome of cleanliness, just like all the rest of my contemporaries.

Now, in prison, we meet all sorts, and we meet quite a few late starters - you know the sort, not quite up to the speed of the rest of the convoy of life. Some are a bit shy with ladies and have no idea how to talk to them - and some have no idea how to talk to ANYone without being rude and offensive. That's my category. There are a few who still haven't worked out the value of soap and water - they quite simply don't wash or shower. Needless to say, these fellows are a bit short of friends, never mind female friends.

Now, this all came to me when I was in the shower this morning, merrily scrubbing away at any dead skin which may have developed on my feet since yesterday. Don't worry, there will be no guided tour, I just mentioned it.

I know three fellows who never go near the shower.

Having said that, years ago, when I first came to prison, I read a booklet thing which warned me to be careful in the shower. It was "Elf and Safety" of course, nothing to do with any sort of suggestion of molestation, but I chose to twist it because that's what I do to keep myself amused.

Then, the other day someone mentioned the fact that a certain fellow on this wing had never been seen in the shower. I said, "When I came to jail twenty-five years ago, I was told to be vigilant in the shower in case I was molested. I've had a shower every day and not once have I been molested - I feel like I've been robbed!"

The Voice In The Wilderness

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