Quiet Desperation

When life gives you moisture, make the moist of it


Headline: “Celebrity swears by moisturizer.”

Tell me: Who swears by a moisturizer?

What exactly is a moisturizer?

Is here a man alive who can say the word “moisturizer” with a straight face? My father never said the word “moisturizer.”

Like father like son.

You’re not going to hear me say “moisturizer.”

I’m one of the lucky ones. My father didn’t work at a moisturizer factory. If he had worked at a moisturizer factory, I’d have to say “moisturizer factory” whenever I was asked where my father worked.

Maybe there are other jobs a father could have that his son would hate to admit to.

“He makes automobile scent diffusers.”


“You know? Those little pine trees you hang from the rear view mirror.”

A moisturizer is a lotion or cream that prevents dry skin.

So does St. Louis. Ever been there?

Dry skin in St. Louis is an impossibility.

Could you live there? I couldn’t. It would be double trouble for a curmudgeon. Walk out at dawn to pick the morning paper off the driveway and watch rivulets of human dew run down your arms and splash on the daily. No thanks.

Is moisturizer sold in Missouri?

I don’t swear by anything because I don’t swear. I leave that to others. There’s plenty of it already.

Oh, I might swear when I’m alone, but never in public.

Swearing is so commonplace in films that your kids can hear the brunt of it in just about anything that’s made these days.

Remember one of Rhett’s last words to Scarlett? That was a big deal in 1939.

Not now.

Swearing is easy. One word in particular gets used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and floor polish.

It is used so often it has no meaning. Just like maraschino cherries.

If you have ever wondered where maraschino cherries come from, I’m here to tell you.

They come from the Marasca region in coastal Croatia.

If you have ever wondered where Croatia is, I’m here to tell you.

It borders Slovenia.

I only know where Croatia is; I don’t know where Slovenia is.

In another month or two, you’ll hear someone say, “We need the moisture.”

Then, after it rains, you’ll hear someone say, “We needed the moisture.”

Observations like this should be felonious.

Along with, “Hot enough for you?”

And the broken-record kid at the checkout stand who says, “Have a nice day” to everyone who comes through. He says it in the same, flat tone of voice that gives the impression it’s the last thing he wishes on anyone.

Try something else.

“May flights of angels carry thee to thy rest.”

“Purl one, knit two.”

“Bob’s your uncle.”

The celebrity who swears by her moisturizer is well known. She has a brother in the business as well, although his star doesn’t shine as brightly.

My sister outshined me in high school by a mile. She was a golden-haired cheerleader. Say no more.

Boys opened doors for her. Teachers opened doors for her. The principal opened doors for her.

Me? I experienced none of that. I still don’t. The last time someone opened a door for me, Mickey Mouse had five fingers.

But I can’t complain. My skin is naturally moist.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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