June 18, 2004

Hygiene: The American Art As

Hygiene: The American Art

As our regular readers must know, a few members of the crack young staff are vacationing in beautiful Rome (IT). The city, for those of you who have been unlucky enough never to visit it, is much like Rome (NY), only slightly more historically significant. And, we hasten to add, a bit more cosmopolitan.

Naturally, the staffers who have headed to Rome—let’s just call them “Chip”—have thus far thoroughly enjoyed the sites and sounds of Italia. From the Pantheon to T-shirts that read “Sexy Destroy Bomb,” there isn’t much to dislike.

They have noticed, however, one major irritant that has made them reflect upon and renew their undying love for America, land of the free, home of the Atlanta Braves.

This, dear reader, is the curiously low standard of hygiene kept by many of Rome’s inhabitants. Albeit bedecked in chi-chi clothing that make Liberace seem like a beacon of sartorial traditionalism, many modern Romans appear to have the bathing skills of the average stray cat. And, unlike the cat, we hope, the Italians don’t lick themselves.

It can’t be that bad, you say. On the contrary. A few days ago, “Chip” enjoyed a day trip to Hadrian’s villa, where s/he could wander ancient grounds with amazement, delight, and a particularly fearsome need to urinate.

Before “Chip” could navigate this Roman emperor’s haunt, s/he had to endure a bus trip that would make a garbage man (excuse us, fellow feminists, “garbage person”) wish that he had lost his sense of smell.

One man on said bus was so horrendously mephitic that the trip was well nigh torturous. Before boarding the bus, this fellow seems to have spent the previous few days wading in a urinal trough at Fenway Park. Immediately afterward, he ran a marathon in southern Florida clad in a three-piece suit. Then he got on the bus.

Unfortunately, dear reader, we, the members of the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” spending time in Rome, were compelled to sit rather close to this fine gentleman. If, by rather close, you mean “on the same bus.”

While taking in this man’s fetid stench, a powerful thought overcame us. Europe is purportedly the center of sophistication, a lodestone of culture. America, on the other hand, is supposedly a collection of NASCAR enthusiasts, whose idea of high art is “Dogs Playing Poker.”

All true, all true. But isn’t cleanliness also a sign of sophistication? If so, it seems that many Romans have much to learn from the citizens of, say, Butner, North Carolina.

Posted at June 18, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack