Calgon, Take Me Away!

In the late 1970s and through the 1980s, the bath and beauty company Calgon produced some iconic advertisements. One of the commercials for Calgon bath powder from 1978 starts  with woman considering all the hectic and stressful events in her life. She mentions traffic, her boss, a crying baby, and the dogs.  Then she said “That does it!  Calgon, take me away!” In another advertisement, a woman wearing a fluffy pink robe is seen in a chaotic home scenario. As tension rises, she utters the slogan “Calgon, take me away!” The next scene shows her relaxing in a bath in a quiet room. 

I remember these commercials when I was a kid, and last night as I was thinking of all the aggravation of the day, the slogan came in my head, “Calgon, take me away!” Yesterday was was not exactly stressful, but it was aggravating. I had a virtual staff meeting that seemed to drone on forever. Then, my mother called which in itself is a little aggravating at times. 

The most aggravating was dealing with my boss’s insecurities. Yesterday afternoon, I sent some promotional material for some upcoming public programs for the museum to my boss, and he sent them back commenting that he “made several grammatical and wording changes.” I wouldn’t have minded this too much except I knew these were perfect. I’d had an editor, my friend Susan, look over them before I sent them for his approval. Every time I send him something that just needs his quick approval, he makes stupid changes. He does this to all of us because he’s so insecure in his own abilities that he uses thins like this to exert his authority. It’s aggravating because: 1) I am far better educated than he is, 2) I used to teach English and grammar and 3) he has the worst grammar of anyone who works for the museum. So, yes, it pisses me off when he makes changes just so he can look like he’s doing something.

Furthermore, the university where I work is having a COVID outbreak because students broke quarantine, and now we are getting close to the threshold where the state says we will have to transition completely virtual learning for the semester. If that happens, we will have a huge budget shortfall, and we have been told before that if this happens, there will be layoffs. They are doing everything they can to keep all employees working. Our university president released a message last night saying that they believe the university has the situation under control. However, it’s not clear yet if in person classes will be able to begin next week or not.

Add to all of this, I need a vacation. I usually take a vacation or two each year to get away from the stress of life and work. However, the pandemic hasn’t allowed me to travel for over a year. I did not go home at Christmas and New Years, and I haven’t had any other trips. I’d love to head up to Montreal for a few days or down to Manhattan to see my friend Susan. Since I moved to Vermont, I have done more traveling than I have ever done previously in my life. Most of my traveling has been for work, but it was rarely all work and no play. I just want to get away somewhere. However, I don’t think a bubble bath is going to do it. I think we are all feeling this way, so “Calgon, take me away!”

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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