Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Oh no, not a smell

In case you haven't noticed, Americans live in constant fear of smelling something. I hold my father responsible for this. Not totally, but he played a role in it.
This always come to mind while taking a shower with Lifebuoy soap. Not the special kind made just for Americans so their delicate nostrils will not be offended. I use the real thing, the old time Lifebuoy with a medicinal fragrance all its own. It's still made in Ceylon and available in many parts of the world where people do less sniffing than is customary over here.
Having grown up at a time when walking down the street might mean coming face to face with a horse, when horse-drawn milk and bakery wagons made daily rounds of every neighborhood, when rubber factories and steel mills were commonplace, I find this fear of a smell perplexing. Along with Clyde Bauer Stodghill (pictured in his heyday), I blame this on the coming of automatic dryers that spelled the end of clotheslines. To get that old clean-clothes aroma, Americans now use chemicals rather than fresh air and sunshine.
So how did Ol' CBS help make people afraid of coming in contact with an odor that doesn't come from a candle or a spray can? Ironically, by selling Lifebuoy soap. When he was a traveling salesman for Lever Brothers, Lifebuoy fell short of being a hot item. Ol' CBS would enter a corner grocery and slap a box of it down on the counter. More often than not the grocer would sweep it off onto the floor while saying, "I have to put food there and that stuff stinks."
My father would pick it up, hold it out head high as if it were the crown jewels of Outer Slobovia and say, "If you don't use it, you'll stink."
Other Lever Brothers salesmen were selling it by the case. Ol' CBS was doing so by the carload. He was called to headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts and asked his secret. While I'm sure he wasn't solely responsible, the firm soon began running ads and radio commercials with a deep voice saying, "B-O!" Body odor, that's what you'd have if you didn't use Lifebuoy.
There are those, of course, who will contend that Lifebuoy and clothes driers are not responsible for the delicate state of American noses. I say they are wrong. But who can deny the irony in the fact that the medicinal fragrance that made Lifebuoy so popular in the 1930s and '40s eventually led to its demise? Not everywhere, fortunately, but it had that effect in the land where even the hint of a smell is considered as offensive as armed robbery or murder.


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