Me and Lady MacBeth are exactly alike about washing our hands.

I’ve beent thinking a lot about Lady MacBeth, specifically Act 5 scene 1, the famous out, out damn spot! scene which finds our Lady distraught to the point of sleepwalking through the castle and imaginarily washing her hands. I’m awake of course, and far less distraught, but I find myself washing my hands a great deal lately and yet they are never clean.

 Lady M.:  Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh!

Me: Here’s the smell of poop still: all the perfumes of Bath and Body Works Peach Bellini antibacterial soap will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh! 

Lady MacBeth had phantom blood and I have phantom poop smell.

See, I have two boys and while they are clean and bathe daily, and they themselves smell of Burt’s Bees and fresh air, it is my little hands that most often wipe their bottoms. Their hands remain free from the clinging, lingering scent of poop. Primarily it is the tiny centurion who is at fault. I could more easily diaper a greased piglet than put clean pants on the Huckleberry. Yet I am skilled…I never actually get the poop on my hands, mind you! I believe it is indeed, all in my mind.


And so I wash. And wash. I scrub with a nail brush. I use antibacterial wipes. And yet as I go to brush my slowly growing out bangs from my eyes I smell it, the faint smell of Hucklepoop.

Out. Out damn spot.

Perhaps I am having a mental breakdown about poop. Like Lady MacBeth was about spilling King Duncan’s blood. Alas, no poop has been spilled.

My husband says he can’t smell it, oh yeah you know I made him check. What a good man! I know my hands are completely poop free but I won’t be insulted if we ever meet and you don’t shake my hand, though I promise they are clean. So clean. Scrubbed raw and red and yet….

 Lady M. … What! will these hands ne’er be clean?

5 thoughts on “Me and Lady MacBeth are exactly alike about washing our hands.

  1. Are you relating the smell of baby wipes to their job of cleaning up poop and therefore thinking you smell poop? Occasionally I’ll wipe hands or faces with a baby wipe and then wonder why something smells like diapers/poop. It’s just a strange association.

  2. Picture it–Tennessee, 1997. I was divorced with 2 toddlers. I was,and at my boyfriend’s house doing laundry. I lived in student housing and didn’t have a washer or dryer.
    My younger son, age 3, had the worst diarrhea. I’d just finished cleaning up his bottom and the bathroom.
    I was very grumpy. My boyfriend wanted to talk to me privately. I thought he was going to say something about what a wildebeest I was.
    Instead, he gets down on one knee, takes my slim hands in his, and proposes.
    I was thrilled and said yes, but it was also on my mind that my hands definitely smelled of bleach, and possibly smelled of poop.
    I figured if he could handle that, he could handle anything. Fifteen happy years and counting!

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