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Don't Do The Crime If
You Can't Dippity Do The Time

by Stephen Lautens


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 like roses.

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 allergic.

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.


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