by Mad Dog
actually had Monell design this standardized fragrance to emulate one of
the world’s worst odors: English Leather cologne. Just kidding,
actually it’s Old Spice.
||Of the five senses,
there’s little question smell is the most underrated. No one wants to
lose their ability to see, hear, touch, or taste, but when it comes to
living without a sense of smell, no one gives it much thought. If they
do, they figure it would actually be nice not to be able to smell
because it would mean they could hang around groups of guys without
cringing and asking, “Who cut the cheese?” every few minutes.
Actually it would be even more blissful if you couldn’t hear too.
But smell is an important sense.
It’s closely tied to taste so it helps you distinguish between
something good to eat, like Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch,
and something that’s not, like your dirty sweat socks. Okay, so being
able to see doesn’t hurt either. Scientists say there are actually
certain foods we can identify only if we smell them while we eat, like
raspberries. Here’s an experiment: try holding your nose, closing your
eyes tightly, and putting a raspberry on the tip of your tongue. There,
now don’t you feel silly?
Smells can repel and attract. Rotten
eggs, limburger cheese, and that guy sitting next to you on the bus are
examples of repellent smells. A company in Philadelphia, Monell Chemical
Senses Center, spends a lot of time and money recreating smells like
these. Some of their finer brews include aroma of armpit, essence of
rotting flesh, and that old favorite, U.S. Government Standard Bathroom
Malodor. Seriously. The government actually had Monell design this
standardized fragrance to emulate one of the world’s worst odors:
English Leather cologne. Just kidding, actually it’s Old Spice. Okay,
the truth is it reproduces a typical bathroom smell so the government
can test deodorizers. Which end up smelling like English Leather.
the first time you hear an alarm going off announcing, “Who cut the
cheese? Stand back from the car. Who cut the cheese?”, you’ll be
happy there’s something that saved you from having to wash your nose
out with soap.
But that’s not the only bad odor Monell is creating for the
government. According to a story in the Baltimore Sun they’re
trying to come up with a truly putrid stink bomb as part of the
military’s Non-Lethal Warfare program. This program is designed to
create weapons which incapacitate rather than kill. The stink bomb will
join such other cruel and inhuman weapons as the complete set of Jackie
Collins books, Nick At Night’s non-stop Cop Rock Week, and the
tape of 4,297 schoolchildren taunting “Scuds and stones may break my
bones but names will never hurt me” in an endless loop. They all sound
pretty lethal to me.
Once scientists started creating
synthetic smells they figured they needed artificial noses with which to
smell them. These are a great invention because they don’t clog up by
catching a cold, meaning they can always give advance warning when one
of the government’s stink bombs accidentally goes off, which is bound
to happen if they’re manufactured by Bell/Boeing, those fine folks who
make the V-22 Osprey rotorcraft (motto: “What goes up must come
down”). Trust me, the first time you hear an alarm going off
announcing, “Who cut the cheese? Stand back from the car. Who cut
the cheese?”, you’ll be happy there’s something that saved you
from having to wash your nose out with soap.
Actually, artificial noses aren’t
new, they’ve been around since 1982 when the first one was
transplanted onto Barbra Streisand’s face. Like most inventions, it
took them a while to figure out how to make them smaller. Just kidding.
Actually they’re box-like gadgets which are used in industry to smell
whether meat has spoiled, sense if chemicals are leaking, or detect if
you’re the one who cut the cheese. In an effort to cash in on new and
emerging markets, one company is trying to build an artificial nose that
can smell anthrax. “Clear the room! Clear the room! Something
stinks! This area is either contaminated by anthrax or American Pie
3 is being shown. Clear the room! Clear the room!”
A chemist claims that men’s armpit sweat can stimulate a
woman’s menstrual cycle. He also says it can increase deodorant sales,
stain T-shirts so badly nothing can remove the yellow color, and help
make better fart noises when you put your hand under your armpit and
pump your arm.
researchers at Tufts University Medical School are trying to create an
artificial nose that’s red and round like Bozo’s. Just kidding
again. Actually you can get one of those simply by drinking too much for
too many years. What the researchers are doing is trying to make a
machine that can smell a land mine. This is
good idea because even if it winds up costing an arm and a leg it
will save many arms and many legs.
Smells don’t just repel, they can
also attract. And interestingly it may be some of the same stinky stuff
that does it. George Preti, a chemist at the Monell Chemical Sense
Center, claims that men’s armpit sweat can stimulate a woman’s
menstrual cycle. He also says it can increase deodorant sales, stain
T-shirts so badly nothing can remove the yellow color, and help make
better fart noises when you put your hand under your armpit and pump
Apparently the active ingredient in
men’s sweat is androstenone, which also happens to be a sex pheromone
in wild pigs. Put men’s sweat on a boar’s nose and the sows go wild.
This may help explain why big, beefy, sweaty guys tend to attract pigs.
The animal kind, of course. What it doesn’t explain is why men have to
surreptitiously wipe their hand under their armpit and sniff it to
detect an aroma, why they can’t smell that the T-shirt they’ve been
wearing for 12 straight days is beyond hope, and why cutting the cheese
in mixed company isn’t an endearing trait. Come to think of it, maybe
the artificial nose isn’t such a bad idea after all.
©2002 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them while holding your nose.