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My first bottle of Dr. Bronner's came to me at age seven when my father, having returned from work late, realized I was suffering from ennui. Nothing could shake me out of the funk, not candy, not hugs, not my special interest.

I have always hated the sensory experience of taking a shower. I don't want to stand in water, I get shampoo in my eyes, and afterwards I feel soggy and cold. So it was a stroke of genius when my father, exasperated with his whiny offspring, went out into the garage where the cleaning products were stored and came back with a brown bottle bearing strange slogans on its blue and white label:

1st: If I'm not for me, who am I? Nobody! 2nd: Yet, if I'm only for me, what am I? Nothing! 3rd: If not now, when?

The warning went that the soap was too powerful, that it would tingle if I used too much. Intrigued, I agreed to run the water for the shower and eventually get in the tub to try it out.

Everything changed after that. It tingled pleasantly! It invigorated! It smelled like peppermint and adulthood, something withheld. It felt like a secret had been uncovered for me—what new world was this, where soap was this much fun and papered in cryptic statements?

Now, whenever I use this soap, I remember my father and his delightful cabinet of mysteries, and the charm of being age seven. Even still, I find that Dr. Bronner can cure my malaise.

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