2009.12.23 The odd smell of cigarettes

Written by David Green.


We have the leg cramp situation covered pretty well: toe pointing, nose pinching and Ivory soap.

I asked for assistance with the annoying little splits in the skin on fingers, and I received a few calls on that one, too.

So far I’ve done well to control them this winter. One on the index finger healed with the old Vaseline under a bandage technique. I thought the one on the thumb was on its way out, too, until I was cleaning some stuff out of my nails with a little brush and the bristles ran right into that wound. A painful awakening.

That one is in good shape, too, for now. Sometimes they reopen rather quickly.

After mentioning the problem last week, I first heard from Pete who told me to use ChapStick. Pete works outdoors a lot and he knew what I was talking about. Just rub some ChapStick on the wound and use it to lubricate the ends of your fingers every so often.

I have used ChapStick in the past and it’s probably helped. When I’m away from a Band-Aid, I’ve rubbed a little on the split, but it never lasts long in my job. I soon see the stuff spread across the keyboard. My splits always seem to conflict with typing.

I think an anonymous visitor was next. She said my problems would be over with New Skin. I thought she might have meant Nu Skin and got derailed for a while looking at anti-aging formulas, wrinkle-smoothing products and lotions to make every inch of me feel divine, day and night.

I decided she must be referring to New Skin Liquid Bandage, the product that forms a “tough protective cover that is antiseptic, flexible, waterproof, and lets your skin breathe.” She said you can’t even feel the painful split once it’s covered with this stuff. Something new? No, it’s been around for more than a century.

That sounds good, but then she added this interesting fact: “My daughter just uses Super Glue and that probably works better.”

Super Glue in an open wound? More on that later.

Dee from Fayette told me to get some Watkins Salve. Her mother always used it and it has a long history of success.

But things have changed in the J.R. Watkins line of products. I doubt if J.R. was selling Aloe and Green Tea or Mango flavored salve back in 1868.

It sounds like good stuff, except that I always have trouble pronouncing the word “salve.” I always want to put the “l” in it. Why not just spell it “sav”?

Jean sent an e-mail recommending O’Keeffe’s Working Hands. I like the double letters. This product has been around only about 25 years, a “kitchen-table project” that made it big. 

Sounds like good stuff. Like Watkins, it stays away from the greasy Vaseline or Bag Balm approach.

Then came one more phone call. Mike from Lyons said I need Super Glue. 

“It’s instant relief,” he said. “If doctors use it, it’s got to be safe.”

I’ve been reading a little about this and the reviews are very mixed. Some people say it’s OK. Others point out that doctors use a medically-approved, anti-bacterial version called Dermabond.

Some say it’s all the same; others say Super Glue can cause some irritation and shouldn’t be used on deep wounds. It’s great on a liver where stitches can’t be used and it can avoid the traumatic experience of stitches when your youngster cuts his face.

So what am I going to do? I think I’ll work a little harder on avoiding the need for Super Glue. I’ll keep those digits lubricated better and hope the splits are fewer. I’ll keep an eye open for some O’Keeffe’s and, if necessary, I might invest in some New Skin.

The thing I want to ask about now is the cigarette smoke that I smell now and then. There are no cigarette smokers around here, but every now and then I smell it. Often at home, sometimes at work.

And I’m not the only one. There are several on-line discussion groups about this topic. Never a definite cause or solution, but dozens of statements such as, “I’m so glad I found this site. I thought I was going crazy.”

Super Glue would effectively close off the nostrils, but maybe someone has a better approach.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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