Dear Olfactory-Obsessed Co-Worker

By: Jack Bedrosian

Dear Olfactory-Obsessed Co-Worker,

The other catalogers and I are becoming concerned that your interactions with your fellow office peers are becoming too, well, “smell-oriented.”

Much of our department’s interactions with you tend to very quickly spiral into a discussion regarding a particular smell — or smells — that we have, to a person, found to be totally (the conversations that is) unappealing, and borderline inappropriate.

Also it is my understanding that this issue has been broached with you before now, only to be met with — as one disgruntled colleague put it — “bullshit qualifications” on your end, really exacerbating our situation here. I’ve been told that a common response to these accusations is your insistence that your nostrils are much too large — perhaps freakishly so — along with a yet-to-be-supported claim that you can in fact fit a regulation size table tennis, or “ping-pong,” ball in at least one of them. This is of course compounded by the fact that you, according to yourself, sport a nose that can only be described as “mousy,” making the utter hugeness of your nostrils seem greater still, while simultaneously causing an intensification of any and all smells due to the large intake capacity of these (apparently) overwhelming blowholes you have smack dab on your face paired with the regrettably tiny and under-equipped nasal cavity that you have been so humorlessly dealt.

Now, I am aware that it is highly unorthodox and generally frowned upon to comment on an employee’s appearance, but I, on behalf of the cataloging department, feel that it is nothing short of an absolute, unquestionable, and simply undeniable necessity, to let you know that you, despite your protestations, have a PERFECTLY NORMAL-LOOKING NOSE. Admittedly, I personally have not seen your nostrils, or rather — have not observed them in any great detail, but I imagine the very fact that I have yet to notice them in any way would strongly suggest that they are indeed very ordinary nostrils. If anything, you may be dealing with a certain type of nasal dysmorphia, but honestly that isn’t a problem that we can afford to add to your list of self-imposed grievances — at least not at this time. Speaking of lists of grievances — there is one, actually.

Below, you will see the contents of the office “Suggestion Box” from just this past month and, as you can see, the majority of them are not at all comments or suggestions as much as they are complaints concerning this very issue to which you are most central. To wit:

“I don’t believe that her doctor prescribed her pescetarianism. I just don’t believe it. She should be required to provide a note.”

“Does my scent really resemble a Callery pear? Semen-ish, you say? Is this an office issue I’ve been kept in the dark about?

“Her choice in odd lunch cheeses is getting so bad that a replacement of the break room carpet is now an inevitability. I liked that carpet, it had pizzazz.”

“Honestly, I’m not sure whose face I have to sit on to get a working computer around here. By the way what’s up with Nose Lady?”

Perhaps the easiest way to begin addressing this issue would be an honest examination of your daily office vocabulary. Based on anecdotal evidence from just about all of the other catalogers your, how shall we say, “liberal” use of particularly unpleasant words such as “odor,” “stench,” and various derivations of “stink” (stank, stunk, etc.) is simply staggering. I personally find just typing these words in the same paragraph to be mildly nauseating, and can say with some certainty that I will probably be skipping lunch in order to deal with a now inevitable facial twitch I feel coming on from all the frowning and nose-scrunching that’s been required to type this (hopefully) cogent point I am trying my best to make on behalf of the office at large.

I hesitate to even send this e-mail, as I fear it may only perpetuate your obsessive behavior and further ingrain a vicious cycle that I am very much attempting to derail. I want to be clear that we are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help you through this, but it is really quite necessary that you bring this preoccupation with your nose to an end. The cataloging department is, frankly, up in arms. Please stop.

With all the sincerity that can conceivably be mustered,

A Caring Co-Worker



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