2012.09.19 Keep me clean, Dr. Bronner

Written by David Green.


My name is David Green and I am fruit washer. I admit it; I wash fruit before eating it.

You would think this is a shameful act by the reaction it creates in my house, yet here I am, confessing in public to this major defect in my life.

That’s only half the story, my wife would tell you. After I wash it, I dry it on my bath towel.

This has been going on for a long time, but it seems to really be coming to the forefront as of late. You know, the kids are gone and we can only turn on one another. We don’t even own a parakeet to kick around.

Well, why not wash an apple before it goes in your mouth? What’s wrong with cleaning off a peach before consuming? The obvious downfall is eating soap. Oh, sorry, I didn’t mention that there’s soap involved. I don’t just rinse the fruit; I actually wash it.

No, it’s not a matter picking up a bar of soap and rubbing it on an apricot. How disgusting. I only do this with Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One! castile soap, or as we’ve always called it, Dr. Bronner’s Hippie Soap. 

I don’t know where I first encountered Dr. Bronner’s soap, but it was definitely in the 1970s. I’ve used it ever since. The bottle label alone makes the purchase worthwhile. I don’t think it’s my eyes. I really think some of the type has been shrunk so much that I can no longer comfortably read it.

I’m referring to the Moral ABCs, “introduced by Kipling’s ‘If’ and Soapmaker Bronner.” It must be down to 4 point type size now. Let me try: “Small minds decay! Average minds delay! Great minds teach All-One today!”

I’m sure the label has changed over the years, but maybe it only varies with the size of bottle purchased. The text on a gallon bottle could probably fill a newspaper page.

Everything is on the web and I found something that claims to be Dr. Bronner’s original rant. Here’s an excerpt:

“Love is like a willful bird, do you want it? It flies away! Yet, when you least expect its bliss, it turns around! It's here to stay! For centuries man struggles, half-asleep, half-living! Small, jealous, bickering with mountains of red tape! To be awakened the night God chose giving His great reward for hard work, the Moral ABC-unity-ecstasy-love evolving man above the ape! The Moral ABC, unity-love evolving man above!”

Enough of that. Somewhere on the label—maybe an old label—there’s mention of the 18-in-1 uses, from babies’ butts to denture cleaning. It also includes washing “most sprays off fruit and vegetables!” Maybe this is where it started for me.

Apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach—they’re all on the list of the “dirtiest” fruit and vegetables in regard to pesticide residue. Dr. B will take care of some of that. I know some people think this is ridiculous and they have no concern about pesticides. If I can take a few moments to wash a peach and keep some chemicals out of me, I’ll do it. 

The other choice is to buy organically grown produce, but that’s not always available. Organics were in the news recently after a study concluded they were no better nutritionally than “regular” products. I never knew they were alleged to be better; I just thought they were cleaner.

Even my wife washes her fruit, but what happens after that is where we differ. I don’t know what she does, but I turn to my bath towel and dry it off. She finds that very disgusting for a couple of reasons. 

First, you know where a bath towel has been. Yes, I would say. It’s been on a clean body. After I shower, I’m clean enough to eat off, although no one has ever tried that, much to my disappointment.

The other problem is peaches and pears. They often leave a brownish-colored residue on a light-colored towel. I have to agree that this doesn’t look good on a bath towel.

This is why I was delighted to find an old dark green towel upstairs recently when the others were dirty. It has a tear in it and I end up having to clean green lint from the shower floor after drying, but I can put up with that. This is one fine towel. The ultimate. I’m feeling unity-ecstasy-love, Dr. Bronner. My towel is truly All-One!

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • 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.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.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016