Quiet Desperation

Essentially, some of these claims seem pretty oily


Some jokes about oil are too crude for my taste.

But seriously. While I was waiting for my prescription to be filled by the pharmacist, I waited in a small area that was shelf after shelf of remedies, ointments, potions, lotions, candles, salts and emollients.

One display had a palette of what are called “essential oils.”

The word “essential” intrigued me, because it means “absolutely necessary,” and I realized at that moment I might have been neglecting my essentials.

Harry and Jennifer are my primary essentials. After that come music, painting and black-and-white films, like “The 39 Steps.”

My car considers oil an essential. Likewise, my lawn mower. But me? No.

Oh, well, there’s olive oil, and peanut and sunflower, and I appreciate them, but I could live without them.

When I got home, I looked up “essential oils” and saw the word “aromatherapy,” and held on to the armrests of my chair.

That word scares me.

One site (aromatherapyassociates.com) says, “Find a moment to yourself to create the perfect therapeutic ambiance with a bath and shower oil and enjoy a moment of mindfulness to find balance. Experience the full ritual with other aromatherapy products such as candles or pure essential oils on a burner to create perfect surroundings.”

Then it adds, “We use cookies to make your experience better.”

Here’s a thought: Forget all that other claptrap, and just bake some cookies, and you will have all the therapy you need.

Modern life is saturated with alternatives to simply relying on given instincts and abilities to subsist. I know. I have tried: alcohol, caffeine and pie.

Some of us enjoy massages. Pedicures and manicures. Hot tubs and hairdos.

We indulge ourselves whenever possible. I know someone who has every Swatch ever made. I know someone else who has a closet filled with Cons. Converse All Stars in every color and pattern.

Others have books everywhere, stacks of vinyl records, or figurines.

When I read about a town that was wiped out by a tornado, and see a couple crying next to their chimney and nothing else, I wonder how they’re going to make it without their “essentials.” It must be a test to find out what you really, truly need.

Jeans and a radio would be a good start.

The lifestyles of the rich are beyond me. It seems like there are a lot of non-stop and essential oils.

On the other hand, I pass men on the street with nothing more than some misspellings on a piece of cardboard.

I am in between, and I am grateful to be there.

If I were to cook an oil for the purpose of balancing my life, I think I would come to the conclusion that I had finally tipped over the edge.

There are emotional support animals and biofeedback relaxation systems. And cruises.

You won’t find me on a cruise. Unless I am shanghaied. And you won’t find me on a massage table.

I guess I get my therapy by reading. Words soothe my salvaged breast.

Am I making fun of essential oils? You bet. But, like I said, I have mine. There’re just not in tiny bottles.

I think I get exactly the same benefits by looking directly in the eyes of the resident dog.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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