Monday, October 4, 2010

Shampoo and the Decline of Western Civilization

I went to the grocery store this afternoon. We just came back from a weekend in Arkansas (one of my wife's cousins was getting married), and we needed to restock on various things. So I pushed the cart around the store and loaded it up: cat litter, laundry detergent, tea bags, dish soap... and shampoo.

And it was there, in the shampoo aisle, that I saw the shape of things to come: our civilization is doomed. Our culture is too far gone to survive. We have crossed the Shampoo Horizon.

Look, I'm not opposed to variety. I like variety. Competing brands are the sign of a healthy Free Market, and there were plenty of competing brands on the shelf. I walked past Head And Shoulders, skipped over the Prell, ignored the Johnson's No More Tears. Finally, I found the brand I was seeking: Pantene.

It was here that I stopped, dumbfounded. I mean, this shouldn't be too difficult, right? It's shampoo. You find the brand you want, drop it in your shopping cart, and make your way to checkout. The only problem was, I couldn't. I stood facing an entire wall of Pantene bottles, and I couldn't find the fucking shampoo. Over here we have Pantene Frizzy To Smooth Shampoo - and matching conditioner. Here, Breakage To Strength. And here, Flat To Volume. Below that, Dry To Moisturizing. Next to it sits Curls To Straight.

You know what kind of shampoo I need for my particular thickness and texture of hair? Dirty To Clean. That's it. I want the bottle that just says: "Shampoo."

And I found it... eventually. It was hidden away, down on the bottom shelf, looking lost and forlorn beneath rows and rows of its bright and specialized cousins. And I put it in my cart, and went to the checkout. On that front, all was finally well.

But now I know. We will not survive. The varieties of shampoo have begun to proliferate. They've taken on a life of their own. Folks, they are growing at a geometric rate. It won't be long until our entire manufacturing base is completely devoted to the production and distribution of shampoo - a process that will continue to expand until there is a precise, personalized shampoo formula for every person on the planet. That will never happen, of course. We'll starve to death long before then, human sacrifices to our ablutory masters.

But at least our hair will be healthy and clean.


  1. It is overwhelming. I feel that way about deodorant. I mean holy hell I just want the stuff to make me not stink!


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