A lady goes up to a rummy lying on a park bench. She looks disdainfully at him and in a superior tone of voice says: “Sir…you smell!”. The rummy slowly opens one eye and glances up at the lady. “No Ma’am”, he says, “You smell…..I stink”.

I’m sitting across from a spectacularly gorgeous woman. She’s exquisitely dressed. Her make-up is impeccable. We’re having a coffee as I’m interviewing her for a research project. But I’m having trouble concentrating on what she’s saying….not because of her beauty….but because of her smell. She’s wearing the most overpowering, sicketating, “old-lady” perfume I’ve ever smelled. I try shifting my head in various positions in order to avoid the downdrafts, but to no avail, the restaurant booth is very tight and I can’t escape. The interview is finally mercifully over, and I can barely remember what she said. The G-D smell lingers in my nostrils all day.

It seems that while most senses dull with age, the sense of smell becomes, if not more acute, certainly more selective. I’ve always liked after-shaves, but these days can barely bring myself to wear one. Except for the Booster line of highly watered-down shave splashes, I can’t tolerate any of my old standbys. I used to sneer at reports of growing hypersensitivity to perfumes and the banning of such in hospitals and public workplaces. Not any more. Not sure what’s going on…too much environmental toxic overload? Brain tumor? Whatever it is, I’ve got a closet-full of high-end after-shaves to give away.

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