Mmmmm. Nice. This one's for you, ladies.
I been away a long time.
The closing words, if memory serves me right, to Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest – uttered by a narrator who has finally made his escape from a mental asylum.
(Please do not read too much into this allusion.)
Returning to my parental home for Yuletide, I discovered that I'd been away a long enough time for my bedroom to have been refurbished. Or, more accurately, stripped bare, in preparation for refurbishment.
This discovery affected me relatively little (I suffered, I confess, no great pang of loss. Heartless, non?). Until, that is, the consequential olfactory deprivation struck me.
For numbered amongst the items cast into the abyss (quite reasonably) by my parents was a certain, exhausted deodorant. Possessed of the kind of scent that only a blocked-nosed eskimo might be fooled into considering 'citrussy', it had nevertheless provided a nasal counterpoint to many of the leitmotifs of my teenage years.
My first foray to Birmingham's mighty clubland – bedecked handsomely in two-tone shirt, acrylic black trousers clinging with static to my spindly adolescent legs? It was with me then.
My school's (misguidedly entitled) Leavers' Ball – held, grandly enough, in the school dining hall – at which I found myself exchanging more words (and certainly more lucid words) with my teachers than the hoodlums of my own age? It was with me then.
My first student 'bop', at which 'ironical' youngsters gyrated alarmingly while condensed sweat dripped from the stone ceiling? It was with me then.
I confess that it had become the Intellectual Hooligan's habit, when returning to the parental abode, to avail himself of a surreptitious – yet narcotically intense – nostalgia hit from this venerable item, for which 'body spray' is too cursory a denomination. It was my homecoming.
And now it is lost.