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Posted: September 10, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Cologne by the six pack

I love to smell fine fragrances. Wear chic French perfume around me and I’ll sniff the air and try to guess which movie star you’re pretending to be. Give me a scratch-and-sniff cologne sample and I’ll wear my fingernail down as I scratch up the sweet aroma. But if you apply too much fragrance, I’ll turn red and make gagging noises in your direction. I can’t help it. I have a sensitive nose, and some people just don’t know when to stop spraying, splashing and misting.

When these clueless folks visit a drugstore, do they look for a cologne label that says, "Best used in large quantities on every inch of your body"? Even if they do find a label like that, it’s probably just a can of bug repellent someone’s misplaced. Colognes and perfumes are subtle fragrances best used in tiny amounts on strategic parts of the body. They’re supposed to be dabbed on, not applied with a bucket and sponge. Since the world has forgotten this basic fact, let’s do something about it.

Here’s the plan. Most fragrances contain alcohol, so we’ll have them classified as "distilled spirits" and force liquor stores to install perfume counters. That would keep kids from becoming hooked on cheap lilac scents. But some adults might actually prefer to buy aftershave lotion in six-packs, so we need to be careful this plan doesn’t backfire on us. Maybe, we can ask the FDA to regulate fragrances as controlled substances. Then, when your neighbor needs another gallon of her special, rose-tainted toilet water, she’ll have to settle for a tiny 30 day prescription and hefty insurance charges. And if she uses too much scent on any given day, she can be prosecuted under our current prescription drug laws.

As much as I’d love to make this happen, it’s probably a doomed effort. Southerners don’t like being told what to do and they don’t like being denied "their rights." Somebody’s going to get mad, fire up a copper still, find some old family recipes, and before you know it, homebrewed cologne and perfume will flood the black market. If my nose burns now, it’s going to be unbearable when folks start buying quart jars of "eau de sour-mash" from a cross-eyed old man and his banjo-playing business partner. And, even if those old boys wear name tags and white lab coats, it still won’t be like shopping the perfume counter at Macy’s.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers. He can be reached at davmccoy@bellsouth.net.

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