Note: This "Grounds for Insanity" column was published in the 06/18/12 edition of The Goshen News. If you could bottle anything - anything at all - and put it into a candle, what would it be?
It was a great idea for Father's Day. How many ties, after all, does a fellow need? Or dress socks in shades of navy? For a guy who had plenty of both, it took more than that to light him up.
The answer came, oddly enough, in a jar. “Yankee Man Candles” said the link that someone posted on Facebook one day. Curious, I clicked, and there it was.
“2 x 4,” read the label on the jar. What? The Yankee Candle Company had captured the scent of a lumberyard and put it in a jar? This was novel. For those who liked to hammer, saw and pound, it fit the ticket. Nationwide, tired contractors would relax to the aroma of sawdust, wriggling toes in dusty socks as the day's tension ebbed away. But that wasn’t Mr. Schrock.
“First Down,” said another. Just like that, I heard the roar of a stadium; smelled the popcorn and hot dogs. Saw foam fingers bobbling around as The Wave swept the crowd one section at a time. I saw great, hulking giants wallowing in the mud, putting stains on white pants that would make their mamas bawl.
Sweaty players, muddy turf. Popcorn and locker rooms. It would be a huge hit with the Average Joe dribbling cheese dip on his shirt as he hollered for his team from the couch. But that wasn’t The Mister, either.
read a third. I shuddered. Man Town ? Where no one shaved and socks moldered? Man
Town , where they burped
out loud and wore shirts two days in a row and pizza grew fur in boxes? If it smelled like our game room after a
night of teenagers huddled around the X-Box, I’d take a pass and head straight
for the florals. No way would I light a
wick on something like that. No way. Man
It was the fourth jar that set bells to ringing. “Riding Mower,” trumpeted the label. Well, now. A candle that captured the essence of a riding lawn mower? This was a must-have for our Happy, Happy Mower, the guy who’d not stopped grinning since he’d purchased his new toy, a 61-inch Bad Boy, this spring.
“Mow with an attitude,” ran the slogan on the front. He’d taken it straight to heart, beaming brightly as he whipped over our acreage, turning on a dime and setting records for speed. Each time he’d finish, I’d check surreptitiously along his gumline, looking for bugs that had lodged in that thousand-watt smile.
“Riding Mower,” huh? If it carried fresh-cut grass undertones infused with gasoline fumes, it would be a hit. Why, it’d be like having his machine right there by the couch while he watched the History Channel. I couldn’t quite see him schlepping it from room to room, but I’d been wrong before and wasn’t too proud to admit it.
As unlikely as the other man candles were, I had to give them points for creativity. Seemed to me they were on to something even though they’d overlooked some bestsellers. Where were the food scents? If a man’s stomach held the way to his heart, they’d fired and missed.
Mr. Schrock, I knew, would pay cash money if they’d recreate his favorite, a hot fudge sundae, in a candle. So would the rest of the men in his family. The possibilities stretched like an endless line of gooey sundaes. Buttered popcorn. Pizza and nachos. There was money here. I could feel it.
There’d be money, too, if they’d expand their feminine line. If Mr. Schrock would pony up for “Hot Fudge Sundae,” I’d pay on the spot for “Cute Orange Purse.” If they could fit a 2x4 in a jar, they could figure out how to get a purse in there.
Apple cinnamon was now passe. The estrogen crowd wanted more. Wanted scents like “Clean Kitchen” so that no matter how many times the kids tracked, dripped and smudged on the floor you’d just mopped, you could light the wick, close your eyes and hit rewind.
They’d buy “Bubble Bath,” too. For the innovators at Yankee Candle, this should be a breeze. Bottling the bliss of a long soak in a hot tub behind locked doors would shoot company stock prices through the roof. I couldn’t say what it’d do for productivity in offices wherever “Bubble Bath” was burning, but the folks at corporate would be grinning.
“Coffee Shop.” That's the last freebie I’m giving those fellows in R and D. After this, they can start paying for my brilliance.
It’s pure gold, that’s what. As in bucks in the bank. To nail it cold, they’d have to come to “my” coffee shop to research. Smell the beans, fresh ground. Savor the scones, fresh baked. See the faces, fresh scrubbed, and then go home and mix that up.
I’ll take a trunk full of those, please. They’ll fit nicely alongside “Riding Mower” and “Clean Kitchen.” And if they have a bug guard to protect The Mister's smile, I’ll take one of those, too.