Whitman on Body Odor

Deep in the recesses of “Song of Myself,” Walt Whitman mounts the most poignant defense of body odor yet penned. He declares, proudly, “The scent of these arm-pits is aroma finer than prayer.”

I have employed this line many times, and can attest to its provocation and utility. It has, on more than a single occasion, reduced my accuser to tears, and groveling about the earth like an abject and stricken beetle in penance.

However, many other lines of Whitman can be deployed whenever one is accused of, well, anything. Take, as example, the following humdingers:

“All truths wait in all things…”

“I am the man…. I suffered…. I was there.”

“Swift wind! Space! My Soul!”

“I speak the password primeval.”

“What is a man anyhow? What am I? and what are you?”

“Do you guess I have some intricate purpose?”

Enthusiasts! The next time you find yourselves confronted by some injurious foe, whip out some Whitman! Open a can of Walt! See that your would-be insulter does not quiver in his sickly convictions!


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