Monday, January 23, 2006

Smell This

Something I could never understand: Why do we call it 'gas' when it’s a liquid?

Does that make any sense? I mean, that’s at least one instance where I think the Brits are smarter than us. They call it 'petrol', which sounds a little weird but at least doesn’t mean something else.

If we call the liquid that we put in our cars 'gas' then shouldn’t we call the gas that we heat our homes with 'solid' or something like that? Natural Gas IS a gas, but gas is a liquid – it’s like we have a fundamental misunderstanding about basic Physics.

And another thing – Natural Gas doesn’t have any smell. They add that rotten egg smell to it so you can tell if it’s leaking. Who decided on rotten eggs? Why rotten eggs? I mean, I know you don’t want it to be something that people like to smell – like roast turkey or something. ‘Cause then you couldn’t tell if Grandma was trying to commit suicide or getting an early start on Thanksgiving. But why rotten eggs? It’s unpleasant, but it isn’t disgusting like dirty feet or something.

If you want to make it something people really don’t like to smell - make it smell like spoiled milk. Nobody can stand the smell of spoiled milk. My parents would stand in front of the refrigerator and argue about whether the milk was spoiled because neither one of them wanted to smell it.

'It’s past the expiration date.'

'Well, I had some yesterday and it was fine.'

'Yesterday wasn’t past the expiration date.'

'Well, smell it then.'

'I’m not gonna smell it. You smell it.'

This would go on until finally one of them would get a bright idea – 'Billy!'

So I’d come into the kitchen. 'Yeah Mom'

'Smell this.'


'Never mind why – just smell it.'

And that would work, too. Because there’s no way you can smell spoiled milk and pretend it’s okay. When you smell spoiled milk you just gotta make that 'spoiled milk' face.


'Okay, it’s gone bad – throw it out.'

I sometimes think my parents only had kids because they didn’t want to smell spoiled stuff in the refrigerator. My mom used to get me to smell stuff all the time. She claimed she couldn’t smell very well. 'Okay mom I’ll tell you what – you smell it. And if you still can’t tell if it’s bad then I’ll smell it.' That never worked.

My dad was worse. He’d get me smell something that he knew was bad. 'Here Billy – smell this.'

'Ugh. Oh god, that’s awful!'

'Yeah, well what’ja expect - it expired last August.'

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