Living Out Loud

Getting Dirty


When did people start having an aversion to getting dirty? With indoor plumbing being a modern convenience, it stands to reason that modern society is the cleanest on record. Back in the days when I used to watch nnetwork TV, I seem remember a veritable plethora of commercials for shampoo, soap, bathroom cleaners, Softscrub ad nauseum. Most grocery stores have entire aisles devoted to nothing but cleaning supplies. Why, Wal Mart even has a section devoted to organizers for cleaning supplies.

I shake my head in amazement when people apologize for being dirty as they always do. How many times have I reached out to shake the hand of a new acquaintance only to have the person refuse this formality because his hands were dirty. There are people I work with who would go home and change clothes if they dropped their mustard covered sausage biscuit on their trousers in the cafeteria in the morning. Society perpetuates this stereotype. Dirty equates to disreputable. Dirty equates to unhealthy. A dirty child is a neglected child. When Jimmy Cagney didn't say "You dirty rat......" was the insult the dirty part or the rat part?

When I worked with my uncle at a hog farm in North Carolina, I was in the eighth grade and new to farm life. I tried to tip toe around without getting any, uh... hog by-product on me. Growing impatient with this nonsense, Uncle Fred grabbed my wrist, leaned over and scraped a healthy portion of by-product off the ground and explained, "Now you have hog shit on you. Don't worry about it any more." I didn't. A couple of years later I was gathering cow manure for the neighbors roses when Fred saw me in the pasture. 

"Where's your shovel, boy?" he yelled from the window of his current pick up truck.

"Don't need one" I yelled back, and it's true. Dried Cow manure is odorless. After all it's just organically processed grass.

Dirt is good. God supposedly made Adam out of dirt. When you die, you will turn into dirt. So next time you get dirty, don't hyperventilate in panic as you search for a shower to jump into. Escape the cult of cleanliness.