"Pee-ew! You smell like a skunk soaking in sardine nectar for a week."
OK, so I can be a little candid every now and then. It's not something I would say to Attila the Hun during a pre-battle pep rally. But it was not Attila the Hun standing in front of me. It was just my buddy Bart.
"Pee-ew! You have bad breath."
So when the phone rang that night, the last person I expected to greet me in a cheery voice was Bad Breath Bart. "Hey, Happy Guy. I'm feeling great," he said. "Want to guess why?"
"You just won the gold medal for the ten-meter turkey toss?"
"Nope," he replied. "But thanks for the tip. I'll start training for it tomorrow."
"OK, I give up. Why do you feel so great?"
"Because I discovered an easy way to stop bad breath," he declared. "Want to guess how?"
"You bought a book on stopping bad breath and you are following the instructions?"
"Sa-ay, that's a good idea," Bad Breath Bart said. "But that's not it. My plan is even simpler. I covered up my bad breath."
"Bart, that won't work. Since Julius Caesar first invaded Paris and declared 'Veni Vidi Vino', people have been trying to cover up their breath. But mint just is not strong enough."
"Bingo!" he shouted. "Mint is too weak, so I found something stronger. Want to guess what?"
"You've been rinsing with five-week-old milk?"
"You've discovered that cologne is best taken internally?"
"You downed a bottle of vanilla extract, mistaking it for beer?"
This guessing game was giving me headaches and foot cramps. "I give up, Bart. What's your secret to stopping bad breath?"
"Garlic," he declared.
"Garlic. Now nobody can smell my bad breath, because all they smell is garlic," he beamed.
"Of course, there are some side effects," Bad Breath Bart noted. "For instance, my pet vampire has run away. And this afternoon I blew a kiss to my wife, and she slammed the door on my face."
"Can I offer an alternative, Bart? Something that won't put your nose in a cast every time you get the irresistible urge to blow at your wife?"
"Try using some mouthwash with cetylpyridinium chloride in it. That always works for me."
"Wow. That's a mouthful," Bad Breath Bart exclaimed.
I was glad to have finally given Bad Breath Bart a mouthful that would actually help him cure his problem. I did not anticipate the call I would receive the very next evening.
"Hey, Happy Guy. Thanks for the tip," Bad Breath Bart said. "That cetlip... cettap... centapyr... That unpronounceable mouthwash ingredient is superb."
"Excellent!" I was thrilled that he had taken my advice and that it was working so well.
"Yeah. It really tastes great," he continued.
"You bet. And so filling, too."
Suddenly I felt an ominous sensation closing in. "What do you mean by 'filling'?"
"After taking that cetilp... cettep... certip... that unpronounceable concoction, I don't feel hungry anymore," he explained.
"Bart, what did you put in that concoction?"
"Oh, the usual