Take my breath away

“Everybody’s good at something,” my mom told me. “You just have to figure out what that something is.” Little did she know at the time that her daughter would excel at potty humor. Her counselor assures her that it was nothing she did wrong.

The small town of Gilroy in California (due south of other small towns that nobody’s heard of) is good at garlic. People flock to Gilroy to participate in their yearly tribute to bad breath. In my misbegotten youth, when I lived in the San Francisco Bay area, the Gilroy Garlic Festival was not on my short list of things to do before I died.

I chose to flock north, to the Sonoma County Harvest Festival. I could have been slurping down garlic ice cream, but decided instead to swirl and swish free samples of fine wines with gourmet magazine columnists. Heathen that I was, I never spat.

Problem is, now that I live on the opposite side of the country from Gilroy, I’ve discovered my love of garlic, and the detrimental effects of alcohol on my police record.

At the best of times, medication I take for the sanity-challenged has the side effect of dry mouth. Add a clove of garlic, and you now have a full-blown halitosis fallout zone with a radioactive half-life of at least six minutes. After I have a meal of garlic chicken, even the dog doesn’t want mouth kisses, and he licks his own butt.

Where does that leave romance? In the movies, each time the actors are having wake-up sex, my first thoughts are a) why isn’t her mascara smudged down to her cheekbones, and b) how can they do it without breath mints, gum, or Clorox shots? (Medical disclaimer: the author does not recommend the consumption of chlorine bleach, paint thinner, or drain cleaner except under a doctor’s supervision).

On my second dinner date with husband number two, we went to a fine seafood establishment. We both had the swordfish, heavily seasoned with garlic. We almost didn’t make it to date number three.

If you and your loved one must make a pilgrimage to Gilroy, allow me to recommend the garlic ice cream, and separate motel rooms.