April 28, 2000
Forget the Young Offenders Act. Never mind
gangs, knives and guns. There's a new terror stalking the halls
of our schools, and the RCMP doesn't want anyone coming up smelling
At Duncan MacMillan High School in Sheet Harbour,
N.S. they have a strict policy against anything with a fragrance.
Perfume, after shave, deodorant, hairspray - they're all verboten.
Three years ago the east coast school had
a series of unexplained illnesses. They tore the place apart
looking for the cause. They closed the woodshop, pulled out the
deep fryer, and finally banned students and staff from wearing
anything with a smell.
But kids being the out of control hell-raisers
that they are, continue to come to school smelling good. So good
in fact that ten of them have been threatened with suspension
as repeat offenders. Duncan MacMillian High School has a "two
strikes, you're out" policy when it comes to olfactory offences.
That's what happened to a student named Gary.
He's already been suspended twice for the high crime and/or misdemeanor
of coming to school wearing Dippity Do gel in his hair. A little
while ago he showed up again, not only Dippity Do-ed, but reeking
of Aqua Velva.
He's a rebel, and apparently he'll never,
ever be any good. Although I suspect he looks and smells great.
Live fast, die young, leave a great smelling corpse.
You may be shaking your head and asking yourself,
what happened to those traditional values that sent high school
kids home after lunch reeking of beer or cigarette smoke? What
happened to gym clothes festering in the bottom of a locker,
mingling with the smells of forgotten lunches and the kid who
never showered after phys ed?
It is, my friend, a sad commentary on a lost
generation of Canadian young people. They may be doomed to grow
up to be spritzer men and women in department stores, spraying
strangers and handing out little scented cards, while their fragrance-challenged
peers take their rightful place at the helm of Canadian society.
And don't think for a minute that they're
only hurting themselves with their manageable hair and heady
aromas. The policy at Duncan MacMillan High is in place because
the typing teacher is allergic to all this good grooming. Very
I'm not going to get into the "good of
the many versus the good of the few" argument. And I sympathize,
since my brother in law Don is deathly allergic to nuts. Fortunately
for me, not the human kind.
Don's allergy is the kind that has emptied
our schools of that childhood staple - peanut butter. The extent
of his allergy is attested to by my wife. When he bugged her
as a child she retaliated with chemical warfare - chasing him
with an open jar of Skippy.
So when the typing teacher got a whiff of
the student with the Dippity Do and after shave for the third
time, it wasn't just off to the principal's office. She complained
to the RCMP.
Amazingly enough, the RCMP were considering
bringing charges against the fragrant youngster. Let's see -
"Grooming with intent to wound.. Or how about: "Criminal
possession of Obsession"? Maybe: "Living off the avails
of Old Spice."
After careful consideration, they decided
that maybe no crime had been committed. Another proud Heritage
Moment for the RCMP.
And remember, when smelling good is criminalized,
only criminals will smell good.