I’ll never forget the day it happened. I was completely wrecked from the night before when I had eaten nothing but three bags of goldfish crackers for dinner and then downed about thirteen Southern Comfort and Squirts. In my drunken state, I stumbled around town in a panicked attempt to ascertain the whereabouts of my ex-girlfriend. I wanted to argue my case against her dumping me, because I really hated being single and I didn’t want to do it anymore. When I did finally home in on her location, it was too late. She carefully explained to me that she had a new boyfriend who was much better than me in every way, including but not limited to: appearance, employment, hygiene (both regular and dental), bedroom activities, sense of humor, sense of decency, common sense, not engaging in brazen acts of flatulence, not being so self-absorbed, etc. etc. She had that list saved in her phone and read the whole thing to me. It took 15 minutes.
With tears in my eyes, I found the nearest 7-11, filled a slurpee cup with hot nacho cheese, and mixed in a couple shots of So-Co from the flask I always kept in my left sock. By the time I made it back to my apartment, I had consumed every last ounce (which is a feat in itself because it’s really hard to drink nacho cheese through those red straws). Within a few minutes of being home, I was projectile vomiting like a nacho cheese dispenser being vigorously pumped by an over-eager teenage stoner. One of these days, I’ll have to repaint my bathroom if I have any hope of getting my deposit back.
So anyway, the next morning I woke up in a world of hurt. Not only did my former lover choose another, much better man over me, but I somehow held onto enough booze to achieve a hangover that inspired me to envy death. I even googled images of cemeteries on my phone so I could bask in their serenity. I felt pretty bad.
After alternating between crying and moaning in 10 minute intervals for the better part of the morning, I finally mustered the strength to stagger to the shower. I turned on the warm water and collapsed on the floor near the drain just in case I needed to throw up again. I wiped the tears from my eyes (since I never stopped crying or moaning) and reached for the soap. Now normally I wouldn’t have had soap in my shower because I am much too lazy and/or forgetful to pick it up from the store, but my ex must have left some. I poured a small puddle of the liquid cleaner into my palm and proceeded to lather, rinse, and repeat. And I must say, I was mesmerized by its scent.
Ordinarily intellectual curiosity isn’t something that ever burdens my mind, but for whatever reason — fate, perhaps — I inspected the bottle to find out the name of the splendid fragrance. Before I could find the brand, however, I was immediately drawn to the tiny print sprawling across the label. I couldn’t figure out why a simple cleaning product would need so many words to describe it. Was this some magical soap that went beyond the basic functions of a normal cleanser? Soon I would discover the answer to that question: Yes. Yes, it was.
The water may have gone cold as I stood in that shower, but it cleansed my skin as the words cleansed my soul. Little did I know that my life was about to change.
The first bit of enlightenment I read: “A Human being helps teach great work, love-song-health-speech to inspire-rally-raise-train-evolve all of God’s children or that being is not yet Human!” I interpreted this insight not as the random assortment of words it seemed to be at first glance, but as a holy commandment from above. How often had I helped with love-song-health-speech? Not very often-seldom-rarely-if ever. Was I wasting my life?
Then I read: “I am the son of God & so are you! I am manifestation of God’s Law & so are you!” When your soap more or less calls you Jesus, you simply have to feel better. Soon after I read these lines, a little glimmer of hope eased its way into my soul and I stopped thinking about my ex or the partially digested nacho cheese stains on the walls.
Another: “Thank God we don’t descend down from perfect Adam & Eve to sinful sinner, Brother’s Keeper, divided slave. United, hardworking-trained-brave, from dust we ascend up! Thank God for that!” Yes, thank God for whatever this means! (Also, thank God for exclamation points! These teachings wouldn’t be much without them.)
And another: “It takes strength to take revenge & hit back! It takes greater strength to teach the Moral ABC instead! Like the U.S. in Japan: Only by making him my sincere friend can I destroy my enemy! So go the 2nd mile, turn the other cheek, brave, not meek! For we’re All-One or none! EXCEPTIONS ETERNALLY! ABSOLUTE NONE!” Now, I wasn’t so crystal clear on this one. In fact it sounds like it’s vaguely racist and/or justifying the use of atomic weapons during WWII. But I rolled with it at the time, because, like I said, I was extremely hung over and therefore incapable of thinking too deeply about any single thing.
Lastly (as in the last I read and not the last on the bottle by a long shot): “...For on God’s Spaceship Earth, with Bomb & Gun, we’re All-One or none! All-One! All-One! Exceptions eternally? Absolute none!” It took me awhile to figure this one out — I guess I’m easily confused by words that shouldn’t have hyphens between them — but in the end I concluded that we are ALL-ONE! And I thought about possible exceptions to that rule, then concluded that there were ABSOLUTE NONE! (Though it makes more sense to say, “absolutely none,” I have no choice but to repeat the dictum on the label and not come up with thoughts on my own.)
When I turned the water off after my inadvertantly religious shower, I realized that this Dr. Bronner guy had life all figured out. Before I set foot in that bathroom, I was a lost soul, devastated by news that my ex-girlfriend had moved on. After I towelled off, I realized that I was probably Jesus and so was everyone else (ALL-ONE motherfucker!). Ever since then, I have kept an empty soap tube next to my bed. And every night I read another screed and chant “all-one, exceptions none!” 28 times before bed. (Why 28? It’s the P.O. box number listed on the address. In other words, it’s fate.) They say cleanliness is next to Godliness, but when you shower with Dr. Bronner’s, they’re one and the same.