The Bottomless Aerosol Bottle of Barbasol

Do you remember “Phoebe B. Beebe and her new canoe canal in Saugatuck near Naugatuck, Connecticut” from eighthgrade English class? It’s impossible to improve on that, but I’m rather proud of “The Bottomless Aerosol Bottle of Barbasol.” It twill wist the tongue.

But I didn’t intend it. It just came out that way. What I want to say is that ten years ago I had an aerosol bottle of Barbasol Original Thick & Rich Shaving Cream for Men, 10 oz. At that point it had been an American favorite for nearly as long as America has had favorites. The premier Close Shave formula delivered exceptional razor glide to minimize irritation and produced a rich, thick lather that moisturized and lubricated even the toughest facial hair. It gave us men confidence. I’m not sure confidence for what, but whatever confidence comes from a close, comfortable shave.

What it didn’t have at the time, which newer cans do today, was a rust-proof aluminum bottom. Everywhere I placed that old can it left an irritating rust ring that was as hard to remove as the toughest facial hair. Still, that was okay because the can was bottomless!

And what do I mean by bottomless? Well, not what the Levi Strauss Company once meant by bottomless. There were cowboys back in the late 1800s and early1900s who weren’t just skinny. They were so thin that when they turned sideways you couldn’t see them. Because two regular pockets wouldn’t fit on the back of their levis, Levi Strauss gave them two choices. They could have either two little-boy pockets or one regular man-sized pocket. Thus was born Levi Strauss’s “Bottomless Blue Jean Line.”

Nor do I mean bottomless like the Bottomless Lakes outside my hometown of Roswell, NM. These lakes aren’t really bottomless. They’re more like digging a hole all the way to China. Thanks to the latest technology, divers have now successfully been able to dive down to see how deep these lakes are only to emerge in China. In other words, the Bottomless Lakes here in America are the same ones as the Lakes With No Bottoms outside Low Swell, China.

Nor was my bottomless can of Barbasol like the bottomless salad bowl at Olive Garden and several other such restaurants. These really aren’t bottomless either. The deal is that for the menu price you can refill your salad bowl as many times as you want, although I’ve never been one to stuff myself with rabbit food. Maybe if I was Harvey, the pookah. Remember him from the Jimmy Stewart movie Harvey?

Jimmy Stewart played a fellow named Elwood P. Dowd in the 1950 movie, Harvey. Elwood is a bit eccentric in that his best friend is an invisible 6’3½” rabbit, actually a pookah, named Harvey. And although Elwood always bought two martinis at Charlie’s bar, one for himself and one for Harvey, the movie didn’t adequately deal with how much it cost Elwood to feed a 6’3½” rabbit. That’s why I figure it must have been economical for them to have eaten at Olive Garden, which would have also been logical following martinis at Charlie’s. Harvey could have filled his bottomless salad bowl again and again without bankrupting Elwood. But again, that’s not what I mean by bottomless.

My bottomless aerosol bottle of Barbasol just kept on producing shaving cream like a well that never runs dry. Now, the shaving cream wasn’t rich and lathery after a point. Eventually it was no more than a thick liquid. Still, morning after morning, week after week, month after month enough liquid came out to get the job done. Finally, I threw the bottle away and got a new one. I don’t know why exactly, but maybe it was like wanting a new car. The old one still gets you there, but you want more out of your shaving cream.

And I regret it to this day. I should have flagged down the garbage man as he drove away with the trash that day, climbed in his truck and retrieved my discarded bottle, but I was too late. He’d already driven out of sight and by the time I’d collected my wits, I couldn’t tell which of several garbage trucks driving around that part of town had collected my garbage. They all looked the same.

It bothers me when I think of how much money I’d have saved had I kept using my bottomless aerosol bottle of Barbasol these past ten years. As we get older, frugality is more attractive than it was when we were eighteen. At least it is for me.

And do I think it was a miracle? The miracle of the bottomless aerosol bottle of Barbasol? No. If you will do the research on a can of Barbasol, the claim is that no can has CFCs (which deplete the ozone layer). I think that somehow in the manufacturing process, the Barbasol people didn’t quite remove the CFCs (which deplete the ozone layer) in this particular can. And somehow the depletion of the ozone inside the bottle manifested itself as oozing shaving cream, world without end.

The reason I mention all the above is that this week is National “Squeeze the Nickel Off the Buffalo” Week. If we approach all our resources as though they are a bottomless aerosol bottle of Barbasol, that nickel of ours will go further and further. And next week is National “Good to the Last Drop” Week. If we are determined to use our products until we actually use up the last drop, we’ll be good to not stop by the store and buy a new bottle or tube or can or whatever. The goal is for our money to outlast our retirement.

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