No, it’s not a broom that doesn’t become dislodged from its handle with every use — the one that I’ve been carrying on about for years. It is something, if you can believe it, even more useful and, dare I say, far more marketable than the Super Broom. After all, everyone has a nose. (Even Danish astronomer Tyco Brahe, who lost his in a duel, had a tin one!) For the purposes of a prototype and, fingers crossed, funding opportunities, let’s call it “The Smellometer”. You don’t have to call it that. Call it whatever you want, I don’t care, just get on it already. We needed this thing yesterday!
More and more I am convinced that people cannot smell themselves or that they are afraid of soap and water. While even I will grudgingly admit that there is not much an invention can do to address the latter — although I hear behavior modification techniques can work wonders for these types of maladies — I have to optimistically wonder if there isn’t someone out there who could develop a device to combat the former.
When I worked in an office there was always one person who would stink up the joint with their unpleasant bodily odors or, in what I can only assume was an attempt to cover up those same odors without employing the usual methodology — bathing and/or showering with something as simple as a bar of soap — he or she, mostly this person was a “she”, would douse themselves in some type of cheap perfume (or cologne).
For those of you unfamiliar with these products, they are the ones that are very likely sold in industrial-sized bottles at the convenience store. They are the ones that, before you have registered the first whiff, but once you get within ten feet of the person wearing them, you find that your eyes have begun to water, your throat seems to be clamping up, and you’ve started to itch (from head to toe!). As an added bonus, you may be afflicted with hot, red welts following the most cursory contact with this stuff.
Still, when I encounter someone whose scent sends me running for an antihistamine, I have to give them points for trying. I remind myself that the sweet, cloying smell of their perfume is likely far better than the alternative. How, I often wonder, would they smell without it?
Like ass, that’s how. Sadly, because I work with the public, I know what that smells like. Some days I long for a return to those halcyon days when my olfactory senses were assaulted by only the one co-worker who, I was convinced, fancied themselves a descendent of The Wicked Witch of the West, so fearful were they of being covered with water that they eschewed showering.
At least back then I could gird myself for interactions with this person or devise creative ways to avoid him or her while fantasizing about taking a hose and some cleanser to their armpits. Now I can’t do any of those things (outside of the fantasizing) because I have to wait on them or, at the very least, walk past them on my way through the dining room. My fantasies have changed, though. Rather than dragging them out back, I often toy with the idea of leaving little hotel-sized bar soaps or hair products (you don’t think these people have clean hair, do you?) atop the check presenter at the end of the meal.
That’s why the world needs this invention. To stop people like myself from losing their jobs as a result of one too many attacks on our senses. Sure, I could go around wearing nose plugs if my employer would allow such a thing. (They most certainly will not! I checked.) I’ve often wondered, if I pretended to be germ-phobic or if I produced a doctor’s note claiming to be suffering from a diminished immune system, if they could stop me from wearing one of those snazzy face masks — you know, like surgeons do! At the end of the day, I’ve decided, solutions such as these are a long way to go, plus they would require a fair bit of subterfuge on my part — and I’m no good at subterfuge, obfuscation, yes, but subterfuge, not so much. And, really, why should I have to engage in lying to combat a problem that when you come right down to it, isn’t my problem at all.
If I worked where the outside temperatures regularly topped out at over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I could understand how even the best deodorant might fail a person. If my place of employment was situated next to a coal mine, I would have to be compassionate toward the smelly mine workers. Of course if I did work aside of some sort of mine, I think I could make my case for the face mask — secondary mine dust being what it is.
Unfortunately, I live in a fairly temperate part of the country with an appalling lack of mines. This is why I need to beg for an invention that will allow people to smell themselves or, barring that, a handheld gauge (like a gas meter?) — “The Smellometer” — that could indicate whether or not a person should, in their current state of smelliness, be allowed to interact with other humans.
I have taken the time, in an effort to jump start the research, to develop a rudimentary method of measurement for “The Smellometer”. Here is a sample of what the read-outs might look like.
Smellometer Reading: 1
Congratulations! Not only have you showered, brushed your teeth, and put on clean clothes, but you have also applied precisely the correct amount of perfume or cologne. You, my friend, are fit to go to a movie theater and sit next to a stranger. You smell so delightful that people want to emulate you! I wouldn’t be surprised if you were stopped on the street (or at the movies) and asked “What’s that you’re wearing? It smells fantastic!” I would highly recommend that you alert the local department and drug stores to stock up on your brand of scent. No doubt there will be a large demand for it once you go out into the world today!
Smellometer Reading: 5
It seems that perhaps you’ve had a hard day. It is entirely possible that you are one of those people whose bodies cannot process hard cheeses, such as provolone or parmigiana reggiano. May I suggest a breath mint and, just to be safe, a ghetto shower in the nearest loo? Barring this, you may want to just go ahead and “air out” prior to having anything resembling intimate contact with the rest of humanity. I understand this may sound harsh, but trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.
Smellometer Reading: 10
I think that you may have just killed the cat or reduced the number of lives he has left to eight. Under no circumstances should you even consider coming within a hundred yards of another person — that’s the length of a football field, my friend — even one you know well, even your own mother. Vomitoriums smell better than you do! What did you have for lunch, anyway? A dead person?