My Dubious Advice

Back in my “Velvet Sparkle Hammer” days, I had strong opinions about everything. No white shoes after Labor Day, always send a written thank you note, remember birthdays, and never, ever forget to bring a hostess gift. I even wrote a few “ask Fabulous Jabulous” advice columns about the topics that concerned me most. Blogs didn’t exist then; it was just a long and tedious stream of letters written to oh so lucky friends. As I read them now, all these years later, they sound stuffy and “do you know who I am?”

Who was I, anyway?

Here’s an example

Dear Fabulous Jabulous,

A friend recently gave me a “buttered popcorn” scented candle. I’m not sure whether I should burn it or not. What do you think?

Catherine McWick
Phoenix, AZ

My response:

Dear Catherine,

Thank you for your thoughtful question. I, too, once received a food-scented candle. It was called “Hot Cocoa.” Naturally, I mailed a “thank you” note immediately and lit the candle. It was not offensive, but I had the same mixed emotions you’re having now. After burning the “Hot Cocoa” candle off and on for several weeks, I concluded sugary hot beverages in burning wax form were just not right, or shall we say “Hot Cocoa No No?”

Why not?

Simply put, there is no substitute for a clean house and a piping hot cup of cocoa made from the finest chocolate one can afford. We live in an age that encourages us to present an image of hospitality without the fulfilling activities required to create warmth and friendly festivity. Sadly, in the frenetic pace of modern society, we burn a “Hot Cocoa” candle while bolting a glass of Scotch by our lonesome. Is it working?

If and when I burn candles, they are generally from the wood and garden family of fragrances. Roses, lilac, and pine all make a lovely background scent for the home. Lemons and apples may suffice, but do avoid over-perfumed varieties which (frankly) just stink.

Some baked goods of the holiday variety can be reasonable replacements for the real thing. Pumpkin and apple pie come to mind.

If the goal is to mask a cigar or a smoking litter box, a cup of white vinegar in an open bowl can absorb some odors. And please, always try to keep one’s home as sparkling clean as time will allow, which is always healthier and more cost-effective than burning through a Vatican-sized supply of candles.

Warmest regards,

Jabulous (Fabulous, of course)

I can’t help but wonder what my life might have been like if I had written such foolishness in a blog years ago. To tell the truth, casting my writing out beyond the safety of my epistolary pursuits seemed overwhelming, frightening, and hopeless back then. It does today, too.

I’ll drink to that.

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2 Responses to My Dubious Advice

  1. Loosehead Prop says:

    Wow, what a Monday change-up pitch!

    But that’s good advice for the candle-sniffers. What makes it dubious–the advice itself, or that someone has to ask for it, or that someone has to give it?

    Catherine should be thrilled to receive a letter like that.

    • Reggie, where would I be without you, my one man marching band, cheering section, and drum corps?
      What was dubious is that having such strong opinions on things that don’t really matter, like smelly candles and cleaning products. Although there are a lot of people who have allergies to strong scents. I just don’t want to be considered a candle “hater.”

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