It has been quite awhile since I have posted anything of considerable humerous value (some might say I have missed my mark again; but I digress...), anyway the events I am about to relay have just come to a close and I write this upon returning home from the Emergency room.
A number of days ago I was sitting in the squad room after muster (I'm a Cop). I was discussing with my fellow Officers various topics of nostalgia. We still had a few minutes before our cars came in and we would start our evening patrol. Someone had made a remark about my aftershave (this seems to be a popular topic as I have proven in the past that I have absolutely no fear what so ever in using aftershave. My particular favorite at this time is Stetson). The remark was something to the effect of "Hey old man (I am 42), at least you can still buy your Hai Karate by the Gallon!"
I then began to ponder as the laughter rang harshly in my ears.....whatever happened to Hai Karate? I vaguely remember the commercials and I don't recall EVER seeing Hai Karate in any After Shave Isle since I began shaving. I know my Father used it and his Father before him. But where was it now?
I began a Quest.
Now I work the night shift, on night shift we engage in all manner of hi-jinx to make the stress and very real danger of the evenings more managable. These exploits range from seeing how far we can venture outside the city between calls to purchase a cup of coffee to seeing how often we can use outdated police terminology (such as "heater", "perp", "pinch") in offical police dispatch radio transmissions. I thought, "How cool would it be for the whole squad to show up to muster wearing a generous slathering of Hai Karate and then work the whole shift smelling like the mens room of a discothèque?"
I began my search, I soon found out that Hai Karate was no longer being made. There was; however a brisk market for this fragrence on Ebay. After several days of bidding and then subsequently being out bid (I would like to imagine by William Shattner or possibly Teli Savalis.) I discovered it would be impossible to own this "Holy Grail" of Aftershaves for anything less than $80!! Yes, that's right Eighty American Dollars for 4 onces of Aftershave that sold for $1.25 in 1970. For prespective I submit the following....In 1970 a Gallon of gasoline sold for 35 cents, today a reasonable comparison would be 4 onces of Aftershave for ~$9.50! Well, not to be detered (I have spent $80 for far less meaningful things!) I "purchased now" a brand new (more or less) bottle of 4 once Hai Karate for $80! (DO NOT TELL MY WIFE!!!)
After several more days of waiting for my precious parcel to arrive I was barely able to keep my surprise a secret. Then at 2:45 PM on Monday a UPS truck pulled up to my house, a Meticulously dress man in a brown uniform lovingly placed an unassuming brown cardboard box in to my eagerly awaiting arms. I knew by the return address "Nostalgic Reactions" that my prize had arrived ( I would later come to realize the sinister connotation).
I breathlessly tore open the box! There, carefully packaged in shredded newspaper rested the object of my obsession.
The bottle was definatly authentic, the black lable that wrapped around the bottle of Emerald liquid was scuffed a little, but the slightly faded letters still bodly exclaimed that this was indeed an original bottle of Hai Karate Aftershave! It even came with a "self defense booklet" instucting one how to defend themself against unwanted attention by the ladies! This was indeed a treasure! One I could not wait to share with my friends, my brothers, my co-workers!
I sometimes feel that the Gods laugh at the truely happy. As I had no idea of the travisty that would unfold over the course of the evening.
I showed up to Muster that evening with my new instrument of mirth. My co-workers where immediatly in awe of my prowess and cunning and we soon agreed to liberaly dowse each other with generous quantities of this wonderous liquid. I opened the bottle. Now to say the scent was "unique" would be an understatment. I have visited many countries in my life and had the opportunity to imbide a wide variety of scents and odors. This was entirely new to me. While not totally "unpleasent" it was, to say the very least; unexpected. The Officers of B squad Night shift began to baste themselves in our Fathers and our Forefathers past.
It should have been clear to us what folly we where undertaking when our squads cannine (Rommel) took one sniff of the air and immediatly ran from the room wimpering (he hid under the Leiutenants desk for the next 5 hours. No amount of coaxing would extricate him from his self imposed exile!)
It was priceless when the LT and the Sergeants strolled into the room. At this point the odor had to be overpowering and judging by the tears welling up in our supervisors eyes; almost debilitating. We proudly wore our new musk! We where escapee's from a Starsky and Huch episode and enjoyed our new prestige. T.J. Hooker, Kojack and Beretta lived in everyone of us! We could hardly wait for the gutterslime of the city to behold our new aura (or aroma!)
Now, it is important to comment on the nature of chemicals and time. Not being a chemistry major, nor having any grasp on the complex nature of reactions and mutation; or for that matter not knowing that 40 years ago the FDA probably had fewer restrictions on what could be applied to the human body. We could not know what the passage of 40 years would do to the composition of such an innocent liquid (I should have at least turned off the lights to see if it glowed in the dark!)
After an unusually jovial Muster, we went about our shift. It was truely glorious to see the reactions on the faces of those we encountered. Although they would not comment, you could see in their eyes the wonder, the confussion, the awe! They knew no mere mortals patrolled the streets this night. Nay! We where men! Manly men! and we had the smell to prove it!
Then things began to go wrong, TERRIBLY wrong.
It may have been the unstable chemical we had applied to our bodies. It may have been a sequence of events....the house fire, the exhaust fumes, the temperature any number of factors. But each of us in our own way began to "pay" for our brief walk with the gods of the 1970's.
Over the next few hours each and every memeber of B squad had been to one of the various Emergency rooms around the City. As mutation goes (once again, I am no scientist) I believe that only a very small percent actually work in a positive way. 100,000 people may get bitten by a radio active spider but only ONE will develope into a web slinging crime-fighter who stalks the city at night righting wrongs.
We came nowhere near that figure and our mutations definatly went the course of the other 99,999!
Various afflictions, rashes, hives, burns, partial paralysis followed. An entire Police Squad had been layed low. Not by a Criminal genious, not by a Natural catastrophy, not even by an Alien Invader.
Nope, just one small, tiny, innocent bottle of aftershave from a era lost in the wispy tendrils of time.
So, now a lesson.....
Well, I think the lessons clear. Something about meddling with time I guess, or at the very least ancient unstabble chemical compounds.
The Emergency Medical Technicians say we will recover (given time) and I think no one really blames me (alone) for this unexpected chain of events.
Me? I'm still clinging to the hope that something good will come of all this (at the very least, maybe I'll develope some manner of retro dancing superpower), thank goodness it was a slow night and the "uneffected" squads where able to cover our decimated ranks (no offical sanctions) but I don't think Rommel will ever trust me again.
If you have $80 burning a hole in your pocket, I can deffinatly tell you what NOT to do with it. Open another CoH account, buy a round at a biker bar, send it to a starving child in Indonesia....heck, throw it in a wood chipper.....but.....well you get the idea........
(Original posting can be found here.)
Thursday, January 01, 1970