Bristol Stinks!


Now, before all you folks from Bristol get upset, I’m just the messenger. I just found an old fax in my desk with, shall we say, odorous news.

This is true. A few years ago I received a fax from a prominent company that has been making people smell well for years. The company that sports an old sailing ship logo named the top 100 sweatiest cities in America. And, lo and behold, Bristol, TN came in 66th as the sweatiest city in America. Bristol, VA was not included, the lucky fragrants.

The fax obvisiouly was a marketing technique to promote their underarm deodorant, which would, if used by everyone on the Tennessee side of State Street, eliminate Bristol from the odoriferous list. It was a ‘Buy now, Smell Well’ subtle message.

People on the Virginia side of Bristol evidently don’t smell and didn’t make the list. That’s one reason, as young men, we traveled to Sullins College, a girl’s junior college, on the Virginia side to date girls. In most cases they smelt okay.

The company has been naming stinky towns for a number of years. I’m not sure how they determine who to include on the list. It’s obvious any city south of the Mason Dixon line is going to be hot and sweaty. However, Des Moines, IA was one spot ahead of Bristol. They don’t even need deodorant in that town because the wind blows so hard you couldn’t smell someone’s BO in a cafeteria line. This past week at the Iowa State Fair people say it was a little stinkier than usual, probably pontificated hot air or something.

They say rankings are determined on the amount of sweat a person of average height and weight would produce walking around for an hour. Did they check our hard working farmers in the early morning feeding the cows? I bet not. Did they study folks’ armpits at high noon while trying to cross State Street?

And another thing, everyone knows women don’t sweat. The wet pit formula must apply only to men. There, it’s happened again. We get the short end of the stick. I wonder who they sent down from the smell well plant to complete the sweat study. Did they ask people to raise their arms? Did they ask them to fill out a questionnaire while standing in the sun?

Bristol Motor Speedway may have helped contribute to the listing. As everyone knows, during the August race it’s elbows to armpits with race fans. Maybe it was a bunch of Yankees trying to break line getting to the race. Maybe they were overwhelmed by Tennessee’s August humidity. We’ll never know.

The company’s spokesman listed on the fax was Jay Gooch. With a name like that it’s easy to see why he’s in charge of the sweat list. “Hey Gooch, who’s stinking up the town this week?”

Phoenix was number one on that old list and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Living in the middle of a desert brings on drippy pits the second you step out the door. Gooch’s facts point to the Phoenicians sweat production of having the ability to fill an Olympic size swimming pool in only one day. And those are the only people they know about. Our friends in Bristol might only fill a three-foot wader pool.

I don’t agree with Mr. Gooch. Folks over in Bristol have been protecting their armpits for years. It’s the capital of Country Music. It has the best car race in the world. Bristol native, Tennessee Ernie Ford never sweat unless he was singing his 1954 hit song, “16 Tons.”

And people don’t sweat during Rhythm and Roots concerts either. They just chill out!


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