When the guy on the tiny Delta plane that I was sharing a seat with told me about “Cincinnati chili,” all I could think about was the notorious “Cleveland Steamer.”
I mean, how was I to know any different?
Everything I knew about Cincinnati had been mainlined into my body via two sources: “WKRP in Cincinnati” and my favorite NFL head coach of all-time, former Bengals boss Sam Wyche. And this guy looked nothing like Johnny Fever. Or Wyche.
The man’s hands were strong – too strong. And when the flight attendant stopped in our row and examined a lanyard around his neck, he nodded at her — a slow, pronounced nod that was accompanied by the universal “shhhhh” hand signal of an index finger placed tenderly over his lips while making intense eye contact with the stewardess — it became clear he was some kind of TSA officer.
Needless to say, I crossed my legs and looked the other way. But all this guy wanted to talk about was chili.
“Yeah, so you can have a two-way Cincinnati chili, a three-way, heck, even a four-way.”
Old Spice is known for weirdness, and on the tarmac in Detroit en route to the “Queen City,” the weirdness was already cranked up to one billion percent. Old Spice actually came into existence due to a four-way of sorts.
Old Spice’s parent company, Procter & Gamble, was started by two real dudes, and the only reason those dudes met is because they each married one of the former Norris sisters, Olivia and Elizabeth. William Procter had emigrated from England, and James Gamble from Ireland, and they joined forces to create a company that would go on to generate over a million dollars in annual revenue in 1858.
158 years later, the brand decided to put its new Hardest Working Collection to the test by inviting bloggers from several men’s lifestyle sites (Joe’s Daily, The Manual, The Tie Guy, Vee Travels, to name a few) to participate in a Tough Mudder at the Kentucky Motor Speedway. Old Spice has teamed up with Tough Mudder and is the official Men’s Body Wash and Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant Partner of the obstacle course series.
But a day before we hit the course, we were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Procter & Gamble archives. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you or someone you love is probably using a P&G product right now.
— Paul Eide (@EidePaul) June 10, 2016
From there, we headed to the Old Spice Compound, where we donned scientist jackets and listened to/watched actual doctors and scientists explain how the new Hardest Working Collection eviscerates odor’s dumb feelings. Look, there was a beaker and errything! #LegitScience
We look the part, right? #WeirdScience
After that, we were treated to a Reds game where I met the man himself, Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa. If you don’t know his backstory, bone up via this interview we did.
He played football in NFL Europe, won $46,000 on game show “The Weakest Link” and is a legit cool dude. The OSG put up with all of us for two days and never once crushed our skulls, even though he easily could have at any point. Isaiah is bigger than you think.
The following morning, we departed for the Tough Mudder at the Kentucky Motor Speedway. Having tackled a Tough Mudder previously in Lake Tahoe, I knew I could take it.
I joked around with Isaiah before before we hit the course and asked him the best and worst things about being the OSG, which he handled deftly, while I unknowingly rocked a glob of suntan lotion on my forehead.
My second time running a Tough Mudder seemed more brutal than the first. It was roughly 95 degrees and it felt like all I did was run on gravel, up hills, all day. Which is probably because that is exactly what I did, the running interspersed with 20 obstacles over a 10-mile course.
For as difficult as the course is, it is equally rewarding. Teamwork is emphasized above the “race” aspect of the event, and as a result, everyone helps each other overcome obstacles, whether they know you or not. It’s a great feeling. Here are a few action shots to give you a taste.
A bro in need is a bro indeed. @themaleaddict. @joesdaily killing #photography. #toughmudder #cincinnati #nofilter #balls A photo posted by Paul Eide (@pauleide80) on
— Joe Miragliotta (@JoesDaily) June 11, 2016
After roughly two hours and 10 miles (and after being dipped in mixtures of mud, lake water and presumably human waste), Team Old Spice lined up to approach the final obstacle.
Before we did, the Tough Mudder emcee had to test the staying power of Old Spice’s new Hardest Working Collection. As you can see by the look on her face, my scent was warmly received.
Even though I didn’t meet Johnny Fever or Sam Wyche, the entire experience was amazing. Probably because I never tried the Cincinnati chili.