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40 Ounces of Personal Hygiene

40 Ounces of Personal Hygiene        
Kevin Peterson (b. 1980)
Oil on Canvas, 2009.

TARBOT: what …
going on?
so… gas station.
is that gas floating around or did a river overflow?
I can see why the man’s taken to drinking and smoking

CROE: so malt liquor comes in 40-ounce containers
i think he’s bathing in it
but why he has a pig-face, that i can’t tell you

TARBOT: the wrinkles on his face are frightening
wonder why there’s an empty jar
floating around

CROE: so the jar…
it’s closed and floating. it looks cleaner than everything else…
it’s floating away.
maybe it’s repulsed by the dude

TARBOT: what’s with the title? … is it saying this man HAS no personal hygiene
like, he peed in the water/gasoline?
as one does in a pool?

CROE: i guess i kind of see a homeless guy that’s an alcoholic. the injured/missing arm and leg suggest a rough past..maybe a veteran
the title “40 ounces of personal hygiene” – maybe the 40-ounce malt liquor is how he washes himself
like, metaphorically.
of his past, his sins, what have you
and the pig
is typically considered an unclean animal
so it symbolizes his uncleanliness that he can’t escape?
the brown liquid could be gasoline… from the pump
(is that what that is?)

TARBOT: I like your interpretation of the alcoholic drink washing him
etc. :)
he’s a veteran.
fighting for his country.
so his country can get good gas prices.
and now that he’s home
he’s missing limbs, going through all sorts of soldier-y head crazy and trying to make it go away with drinking and smoking…
meanwhile, the gasoline is slowly killing him
too much?

CROE: i’m sure we could tie in some sort of addiction to alchohol/addiction to gasoline.
i don’t know whether to laugh or cry.


One response to “40 Ounces of Personal Hygiene

  1. Plorange ⋅

    This whole discussion reminded me of a song by Less Than Jake, Plastic Cup Politics ( ). I agree that this probably has something to do with cleansing a dark soul with forty ounces of… something.

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