Shower Scene, 2012
So this week we’re hearing from some cockamamie congressman from Missouri who believes women who are raped “legitimately” don’t have to worry about becoming pregnant because, to simplify things, they’re too scared to ovulate?
It used to be that when I did marketing research on controversial topics—e.g. stem cell research or xenotransplantation—we’d go to Kansas City to get a feel for what “middle America” thought about such things. Inevitably someone out there would remind me that “they don’t call Missouri the ‘Show Me’ state for nothing;” that they’d have to be shown that something that seems unusual or creepy isn’t either, but is, rather, just the result of new science.
I also used to work with a PR guy who grew up in Missouri. Whenever someone would say something the least bit unusual, Hank would tilt his head to one side in an expression of disbelief.
Like those people in Kansas City, Henry didn’t take anything at face value. “Well, you know,” he’d say. “They don’t call Missouri the ‘Show Me’ state for nothing.”
I mean, really. Have you ever heard anyone in the course of normal conversation explain themselves by saying, “Well, you know they don’t call Virginia the ‘Old Dominion’ for nothing” or “Well, you know they don’t call Pennsylvania ‘the Keystone State’ for nothing”?
I’m puzzled by the cultures of some midwestern states. I’m convinced that Ohioans, for example, have to be warned about every upcoming bend in the road. Why else would there be all those signs indicating upcoming curves, or complaints when they have accidents because they didn’t know there was a curve ahead? (I swear, I read that in a newspaper story in Cincinnati back in the 1980s.)
Midwesterners are nothing if not practical. If they weren’t how would you explain these dispensers in the shower of my St. Louis hotel? If I had to guess their history, I would speculate that they’re the result of some cost-savings brainstorming. Some bean counter at the hotel company probably said, “You know, those little containers of shampoo and conditioner are killing my bottom line.” The next time the hotel manager went to a hotel convention he probably saw this little trio of dispensers displayed in the “portion control” section of the exhibit hall and the rest, as they say, is history.
Note to Missouri hotel manager: Unless you want us to be reminded of roadside rest stop bathrooms every time we step into your shower, how about showing me some little containers of shampoo and a bar or soap or two.