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Sunday, December 11, 2005

What's that Smell?

With that first whiff you hardly notice. You are only aware that something is slightly amiss. You try to go about your business, but there is no mistake; that is no alpine meadow you are smelling. You cautiously inhale through your nose. Oh yes, that is definitely not good. That is mildly offensive, no doubt about it. Now it’s starting to roll in like a morning fog, a very unpleasant haze. The fetid fog is quickly becoming a malodorous miasma. I’ll just spray a bit of this air freshener. OK, this isn’t funny anymore. It’s official now; it stinks in here. The smell has just graduated into a stench. Can someone open a window? PU.

Who died? For the love of all that is holy, can somebody light a match or something? I would burn down an orphanage if it meant that smell would go away. The aroma is so bad that I think that I may be asphyxiating. Think of a wonderful perfume, and now think of the exact opposite, now think of it being ten times worse than the opposite of the world’s finest perfume. Now try to imagine that someone has crammed your nasal passages with the rancid flesh of a rotting musk ox carcass, a rotting musk ox carcass with BO.

What could possibly be the source of this profane stench? Take a guess. The smell is coming from God’s little miracle: the human body. There is no getting around it; we reek something fierce. Left to its own devices, the human body would gag a maggot, it could knock a buzzard off a meat wagon, it can peel paint.

At least this is what American advertisers would have you believe. So much of America's economy is based on the buying and selling of products to combat odors. Marketers have done a great job of making us self-conscious of every single human emanation and discharge. To an advertiser, an armpit is a stinking Chernobyl, the human foot becomes a malodorous Katrina, and the mouth is more disgusting than a port-a-potty at a chili cook-off. Michelangelo took a hunk of marble and fashioned David; advertisers take the human body and make you believe that it is an olfactory holocaust that requires a long list of products to keep it even remotely tolerable.

Lemony fresh, pine scented, maximum strength deodorizer, odor neutralizer, kills germs that cause bad breath, peppermint, and these are all things supposedly contained in a single breath mint the size and shape of a rat turd. Your body is a toxic waste dump. There is more than a need to keep a constant vigil, no, you need to wage an all-out war to combat the forces of odor that live inside of you. It is a life-long battle that begins with a baby’s first diaper change, through the disgusting hormonal teen years, and ending in death. That’s when humans really start to stink up the place. We actually have to be buried or burned when we die because of the horrible smell.

This inexorable process initiated by advertisers has finally taken on the human body’s biggest odor challenge: excrement . Someone has produced a pill that lessens the odor of fecal matter. Now if they can just do something about the taste.

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