Thursday, September 30, 2010

That Stinks

As I walked into the men’s restroom at work I was greeted by one of the most fowl smells that has ever taken the journey up into my nasal cavity. It was as if an evil mad scientist birthed a retched stench in a test tube, put it in a box and poked it with a stick for many years to get it nice and angry only to let it loose in our men’s room. I actually heard hundreds of my nose hairs suddenly cry out in terror and were silenced before they fell like rain onto the sticky bathroom tile. Who would leave such a trap?

Spock... use... Lysol!
This, of course, got me thinking about how smell works. Vaporized odor molecules float from the object giving off the smell, travel up your nose and dissolve into the mucus, or as they call it in the ear, nose and throat business… snot. Under all that snot mucus is receptor cells that detect the odor molecules and then send the information off to the brain.

Or as I like to call it... the nose.
Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. Feel the cool air travel through your noise, down the back of your throat and even into your mouth. The air fills the whole nasal and parts of your oral cavity. I love fresh air.

Here is how my parents let me get some fresh air when I was young.
Now let’s think about this more carefully. If you can feel the fresh air filling your nasal cavity and traveling down your throat and even into parts of your mouth and when you smell something you are actually detecting tiny molecules from that object then whatever you smell is actually going up your nose, into your mouth and into your lungs.

Go head, Chief... Pull my finger.
So basically when you walk into a stinky bathroom vaporized parts of the fecal matter and urine that are floating in the air are being sucked into your nose and are being deposited into your nose, lungs and even your mouth. Speaking of mouths, I think I just threw up a little in mine.
This is an actual lung of a bathroom attendant after just one year of employment.
So next time you are sitting next to that smelly guy on the plane remember that his body sweat has just sucked up your nose and has made a home in your mouth. Or that elderly woman who sits in the pew in front of you can’t hold in that gas (they don’t call it a pew for nothing) just remember that you are inhaling what actual particles that, just moments ago, exited her backside.

God bless the malodorously challenged.
I hope I have educated all those out there on what really occurs when you smell a distasteful odor. As for myself I knew instantly as I exited the bathroom and saw a workmate with a huge grin on his face that had soiled the men’s room. I shook my fist in his direction, “Curse you and your broken digestive system!”


  1. Ok, now I'm going to go throw up a little myself.
    Thanks ever so much.

  2. True story. There is a reason they tell you not to store your toothbrush out in the open in the bathroom. Don't want to be brushing my teeth with fecal matter.

  3. I saw a Mythbusters where they stored their toothbrushes under glass in the kitchen and it still ended up with fecal matter on them. yum.