REALITY CHECK: Television is to blame for the way I smell

Reality Check | Mike Taylor

To my coworkers who sit near me at the office, my sincerest apologies. I know, I’m starting to smell … well … bad.

It’s not my fault. I’m bathing regularly. My teeth are brushed, may hair is washed (and combed to perfection, if false modesty, for a moment, may be set aside).

Yet I stink.

It’s not my fault, but the fault of the laundry where until a couple weeks ago, I washed my clothes. It’s a nice enough laundry; most of the machines work, the dryers are hot, the attendant keeps things clean.

The problem is the televisions. There are two of them, and they are ALWAYS tuned to the most vile garbage imaginable; the most vile garbage I can imagine anyway. Maybe you can imagine worse, but I doubt it.

Before I go on, let me state emphatically that I am NOT one of those literary elitists who watch only PBS while nibbling brie and sipping Chateau Lafleur from a crystal goblet. In fact, I had to Google “expensive wines” to obtain that Chateau Lafleur reference; I drink the stuff that comes in a box.

I enjoy the Three Stooges (at least the episodes with Curly), the “Planet of the Apes” movies and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Sure, I’ll occasionally watch “Masterpiece Theatre” or listen to “World News Tonight,” but mostly because I dig the British accents.

So what does all this have to do with the way I smell? I just can’t go back in that laundry, that’s what. I can’t. I can’t bear to fold sheets and socks for 45 minutes while some TV judge tries to shout down the two morons in his (or her) courtroom; while a TV host with hair even more perfect than my own gives his (or her) second-grade-level opinions on what’s wrong (or right) with teenage motherhood while a studio audience of what can only be described as the Stupidest People on Planet Earth shout and moan their collective approval or dissent.

I have only a handful of working brain cells left and they are being rapidly depleted by talk shows covering topics like “Lesbian space aliens who have been kidnapped by Amish farmers and forced to do the work of plough horses!!!” or “When weight loss turns deadly! Why the California Banana Cream Pie diet may kill you!!!”

Enquiring minds may want to know, but mine does not.

My wardrobe is beginning to show evidence of this fact; my socks in particular. They used to be white, but no longer. My pants all have bicycle chain grease on the inside right cuff. The pits of most of my office shirts carry an odor that can only be described as tragically reminiscent of my ninth grade gym locker.

I suppose I could bag up all my filthy clothes and drag them along some weekend when I go to visit Sweet Annie. She has her own laundry facilities and would be more than happy to share. But we see each other too seldom and when together, prefer to do fun stuff rather than ironing.

As a last resort, I could take my laundry in later in the evening, after the cultural and moral wasteland that is daytime TV has ended for the day, but who wants to spend Saturday night watching a spin cycle?

So for now, at least, I’ll continue to smell funky. I figure, eventually the stench will grow bad enough that when I enter the laundry, everyone else will leave. At this point, I’ll be free to change the channel to PBS. Or maybe find a “classic” channel airing the Three Stooges.

Mike Taylor’s paperback book, “Looking at the Pint Half Full,” is now available at Robbins Book List in Greenville and in eBook format from

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