Nasal Appraisal

A cow [15/365]I am standing in front of twenty potential students who are taking entrance exams today. The dean of the school and one of the heads of department are standing next to me. Two administrators enter the room and go out of their way to stand directly on my right. I take a miniscule step backwards, away from everyone and mumble, “Oh for the love of…” letting it peter out. The walls closing in on me and I am almost certain that the students will start leaping onto my back.

For anyone who reads this blog or has ever met me, it should come as no surprise that I am one of the anxious people. We are quick to discomfort and find stress in basic situations, and once that uncomfortable situation begins, it becomes eternal and moist.

This is one of those times.

I made the mistake of going out for a few beers last night. Usually, I leave my unruly evening activities to the weekend and whenever I get a haircut, but last night was a friend’s birthday celebration and we threw caution to the wind and acted like 20 year-olds. So today, in almost every way, I am suffering. My head hurts, I am surrounded by people, I am expected to ascertain linguistic levels, I am wearing a sock with a heel hole and my back feels like a sprinkler system for my butt. I’m a wreck.

Making matters worse is the paranoia that comes with my inability to smell. I can not smell anything – if you did not know this, make your own joke now. This has its obvious problems such as tasting food or smelling women’s bellies, as well as more serious issues like recognizing gas leaks and the putridity of chicken.

But my biggest concern is my own state of hygienic odoriferousness. The idea of stinking and being unaware of it is a constant worry. This is doubled on a day after drinking, as stinking is one thing, stinking of booze is another. And if I must meet, communicate or in any way be near other humans the day after a pub night, I engage in an extensive scrubbing and descenting regimen. This includes the overuse of toothpaste, gum, deodorant and after shave. Nearby friends are often cajoled into assessing my nasal essence. Even after that, however, I still spend the day keeping my distance from people, especially authority figures, students and those I would like to at some point penetrate.

This morning, as if to antagonize my paranoia, everybody wants to be close to me. The administrators, my colleagues, even the students decide that today they must be in close physical proximity to me this morning. This trend attacks not only my olfactory woes, but also my natural inclination towards not being anally violated in front of a classroom of teenagers. I send out time-honored signals of discomfort such as leaning back, shying away from direct eye contact and saying things like, “Please go away now.”

Nothing works and I remain a prisoner of my own imagined and rank gravitational pull.

The dean continues talking to the prospective students, telling them about the day’s events and the testing and interviewing process. Eventually, he introduces me as “the linguistic expert who will establish the students’ level of English.” AKA: The jerk off who’s going to make you sweat for the next 90 minutes. He goes on: “He will give you the test and then sit with the panel of interviewers over the next three hours.”

The thought of sitting on a panel across a narrow table from a terrified student is enough to begin the sweats.

It’s OK, I have an extra bar of soap in my briefcase.



  1. #1 by Chris on September 7, 2012 - 3:55 am

    Well it sucks being brothers with a non-smeller. You know how many times I ask you ‘doesn’t that smell amazing”?? Only to be met with a look of disappointment. It blows. Think about ME for once.

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