On Aqua-Net, DDT and Being a Tortured Little Brother


Being a little brother in the sixties was hard.

I mean, there you were, minding your own business, after spending maybe 16 hours outside in the brutal summer Oklahoma sun.

Riding bikes. Playing “skateboards of death”. A bit of football. Some wiffle ball, basketball, tree-climbing and high jumping.  Maybe digging in the Edwards’ backyard “Hole to the Center of the Earth.”

Before you knew it, it was 7pm and you went home for dinner. And all of a sudden, for no reason at all, your big sisters would gang up on you.

“Mother! Make Billy take a bath! He smells like a pig!” the eldest sister would shriek, quickly joined by the middle sister.

“And look at him! He’s caked in mud. He’s been digging in the Edwards’  stupid hole again, Mother! You should hose him down in the front yard and THEN make him take a shower. He is so disgusting!”

Hose Abuse

As difficult as it is to confront child abuse, I have to admit that my departed mother, whom I loved dearly, was guilty of hosing me down more than once. 

In the front yard.  Right in front of God and the neighbors.

To be fair, though, I think she did it out of love. She couldn’t really scrape off all the hardening dirt without removing one or more of my ears, and that would have been noticed at school.

Yes, having older sisters was a terrible ordeal every day of the week, but  especially on Friday nights.

To get all girled up, they’d have to bring out that horrible can of Aqua-Net hairspray, and lock themselves in the bathroom for hours.

When they finally opened the bathroom door, a thick cloud would roll out like London fog.

But it wasn’t fog. It was a toxic cloud of shower mist and Aqua-Net hairspray.  It was just awful.

I’m pretty sure it took a full can of Aqua-Net for Cathy, the middle sister, to get her long hair into the perfect “flip”.

Lynn, the older sister, needed another can or two to secure her beehive-ish hairdo (and to cover the smell of her cigarette smoke, which I’m not supposed to mention).

It is truly a miracle that I haven’t developed Aqua-Net-related lung cancer.

I guess my lungs were hermetically sealed in the Sixties by all the DDT we inhaled when all us kids got on our bikes and followed Norman’s mosquito-spraying Jeep.

And for that I am eternally grateful.



Click here for more Oklahoma stories and here to buy me a beer. {grin}.



7 Responses to “On Aqua-Net, DDT and Being a Tortured Little Brother”

  1. Cindy Schrimpf says:

    Steve Madden has told me of many of DDT Jeep chasings through the streets of Norman as a boy with you…. Now with positive confirmation I now understand “Fat Man” & One Armed Tank” much better…lol Much like a teenaged sister’s hair….fried, dyed & laid to the side!

  2. Cathy says:

    Ok, Lynn got you… but she did have big hair, and you did stink sometimes, really. I, on the other hand, only had to work on that darn flip. Amazing we lived through all that!

  3. Lillian L. says:

    I so did NOT ever have a beehive…and you did stink, like all nasty, sweaty little boys…just so you know.

    • hams says:

      Such lies. The only time you were EVER over 5 feet tall was when you had half a foot of hair atop your head. And I never smelled. Wait.

  4. Don’t harsh on AquaNet — it has its good points. I once used AquaNet and the lighter I used to soften my eyeliner pencil to annihilate a gigantic spider that was threatening my teammates in the school locker room. I also used it to fix a car visor hinge that was so loose it’d swing down and slap at my face while I was driving. And then there was the time it helped stop a group of male attackers (read: older stepbrother and his wrong-headed friends who thought running up the stairs was a great idea just as I was standing at the top, lacquering my curly 80’s bangs into up-n-at-em attention).

    You have no appreciate for all the good AquaNet has done in this cruel, frightening, hair-frizzing world.

    • hams says:

      Crystal, you make a very interesting case for Aqua-Net and its many uses. We have considered it and made our ruling. GUILTY AS CHARGED! Why? 1) You are a girl. 2) You are a sister who has brothers. 3) You use Aqua-Net. The Navy Seals are on their way for sentencing…

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