mom and dad take a natural supplement called Omega-3. They mix the
flaky powder, which is mostly flax bran, into their morning glass of OJ.
I was hoping this naturopathic energy booster would sleigh my lethargy replacing
it with a brilliantly luminous smile and bestow upon me the the energy to
treat my bed as a solely nocturnal companion. The only results I noted were
entire mornings of noxious burps offered up along with a little bilious
liquid. Realizing the road to well being is not all roses and baby powder
I was undaunted and continued my daily doses.putrescence
One afternoon about two weeks later, I was squatting before my typewriter
(which I preferred to my Apple IIe at the time) with one leg folded underneath
and the other drawn up to my chest My nose alerted me of a funk to rival
that which had led me to a juicy gopher in the garage closet. It
smelled like a wet dog perfumed with rotten onion and lemon juice with a
dash of cumin. Stunned, I sniffed first over one shoulder, then the next,
then with neck stretched and snout raised in the style of a bloodhound embarking
on a new mission. I was soon horrified (and fascinated) to discover that
the offending odor was wafting up from my groin area. Granted I had been
ignoring the convenience of modern pluming for a few days, but this was
something beyond mere unwashedness.
I thought perhaps I had inadvertently expelled the decomposing corpse
of an undetected tapeworm. A quick check eradicated this and related possibilities,
so more than a little distraught, I had a long and thorough loofa session
with Dr. Bronner's.
night, a Friday, I received a call from a temp service at about
7:30 - they needed someone to show up for a job that had been abandoned
without warning earlier that day. Although the client was Honeywell, builder
of heat seeking missiles and other products of questionable utility, I took
the assignment - the urgency of the situation aided me in successful negotiation
of a generous wage for a temp who types 25 WPM.
My job was on the eighth floor of a building in which all visitors are
required to be escorted, so my responsibilities as a receptionist were pretty
much limited to directing maintenance workers to burned out light bulbs
a couple of times a week. I also took "zero diversion" calls for
forty some lawyers, which totaled about a dozen calls a day. It wasn't uncommon
for me to have stretches of an hour or more of absolutely uninterrupted
reading and writing time. Each week I read a novel and several zines, and
wrote up to five lengthy letters a day. It got so I felt put out when someone
would ask me to do a small task, like address a few envelopes or put up
the Christmas tree.
stenches continued to visit me, despite two showers a day. On the
job, I began to notice fleeting wisps of unpleasant smells - all of which
could be under the heading of "Olfactory Signs of Bad Human Hygiene."
Not underarm or foot smells, but less common ones like the greasy hair of
someone who eats a lot of curry or a gangrene patient's fingernail dirt.
They usually appeared to me immediately after I stood up. Although they
were always different I thought they were being released from my scalp.
I changed shampoos. Nope. I told my Aunt Ann of my problem - she suggested
discontinuing Omega-3. I was soon relieved of the fumes from down under,
but the experience of standing up and discovering a new airborne malignancy
continued for several weeks, always striking me when I least expected it,
always different - I was swimming in a rainbow of putrescence.
One day a lawyer addressed me from across the room, at least ten feet
away. My brain rattled with the smell of halitosis like a pair of sneakers
full of rotten worms banging around in a clothes drier. Over the next few
days I developed the ability to sense a person's unpleasant bodily excretions
- gas, liquid and solid - at quite a distance. While walking down the hall
I'd smell a different medley of bad breath and toe jam outside of each door.
I began carrying around cedar oil and dabbing a bit on my upper lip occasionally.
After a while it seemed ridiculous, so I began sucking on mentholated cough
drops, which seemed less kooky, until the sugary buildup on my tongue acted
as a buffer between me and the world of taste, and of course this was no
y entire existence was soon devoured by the unpleasantness which would
pop up at the most unpredictable times and I began to fear others would
soon smell the demonic halo of rotten air around me. I couldn't concentrate
throughout a single task without thinking of my malady. I read an article
about birth control implants and searched my body for lumps. I have been
under general anesthesia three times and am paranoid enough to speculate
at length upon the possibility of carrying in my body a surgically implanted
time release balloon of dumpster juice. Kind of like an odious Everlasting
Gobstopper. As of yet, I have not found any evidence to support this suspicion.
I segments of my my self-examination required a significant amount of flexibility.
Each time the end of my Honeywell assignment grew near, I was asked
to stay on longer. I enjoyed my co-worker's company. Each time my assignment
was extended, I felt guilty about agreeing to continue to labor for a large
military contractor, but when weighed against the positives - amiable co-workers,
good pay and an inordinate amount of free time (dressed in jeans, sweaters
and high-tops) I always said "Sure another month would be fine."
I quit to embark on a three month road trip. They had a party
for me on my last day. From what I could gather, the long string of temps
who held the position previously could not handle all the free time. I had
found in the desk several drafts of a bitter letter of resignation, complaining
"I am capable of a hundred times more the responsibility than you
ask of this job. I am idle [sic] of this mindless work."
My mystery stink perception was left behind with the job. I never figured
out what it was. If I had to guess, it was a penance my subconscious mind extracted
for contributing to a cause that I deemed morally wrong.
Then again maybe those doctors are releasing their pestilent bouquet
by remote control and are having a jolly laugh over my engineered affliction.