Wake up and smell the coffee… and bread
The smell of fresh bread and coffee is a lovely combination and one that is likely to reveal the presence of lying cheating bastards.
“Mmm, something smells nice,” you might say to the lady of the house.
“Oh, I’ve just made a loaf of bread,” she will reply with all the innocence of a Disney mom. “I always bake my own bread.”
But be warned, she is probably lying. If there is a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front garden, she is definitely lying and she is trying to con you into buying her lovely homely house.
That smell takes me back…
Smell is an incredibly emotive sense and often triggers things that are deeply embedded in our psyche. Not only is it strong, but it is bi-directional because a smell can bring back a memory, or a memory can evoke a smell. For example, the smell of floor cleaner and disinfectant takes me back to my junior school in Bristol. I can only assume we were particularly disgusting children and everything we touched required disinfecting. More pleasantly, a certain mixture of a fruit bowl and cut flowers takes me back to my grandmother’s front room, and the smell of a coal fire puts me into a different room of her house. Conversely, whenever I think about the scullery I can invariably smell roast beef, cabbage and carbolic soap.
Marketeers latched on to this fact long ago and for many years they have used the sense of smell to encourage shoppers to buy what they don’t want. By having bread baked (or more accurately reheated) in-store, shoppers are made to feel safe and comfortable and are more likely to fill their trolley with additional items, many of which they don’t want and which will ultimately become landfill.
While Pavlov used a bell, some tubes and veterinary surgery to test the response of dogs to a stimulus, it is considerably easier to test the effect of smell on humans. Simply pop a few slices of bacon into a frying pan and wait. Within seconds, someone will say:
“Mmm, that smells lovely, I could just eat a bacon sandwich.”
Even vegetarians can be hypnotised by the aroma and they too will suddenly desire a bacon sarnie.
Smell is indeed a powerful sense.
What a stinker…
But, it doesn’t work in every case. Although bacon, bread and coffee can be powerful weapons, there are some cases where it doesn’t quite stimulate the senses the same.
It may be because of my rather sheltered life, but I do not recall anyone passing a public toilet and saying:
“Cor, what a pong. That’s made me need a poo.” Or, “Eurgh! That takes me right back to a poo I had in 1993, the day after I had six pints of lager, four whiskeys and a Big Mac.”
Which brings me rather nicely onto the subject of poo itself.
Elizabethan number II
Imagine, if you will, a time far into the future. Not tens of years, or even centuries, but thousands of years from now. The entire population has changed beyond all recognition, be it through evolution, Armageddon or just plane stupid human error, and the dominant species of the time is looking for answers. The archeologists of the future will surely build a strange picture of us and will be convinced that we had a strange obsession with poo.
As they carefully excavate the material of the ancient Elizabethan site, a regular call will go up, and the scientists will leap out of the trench and take cover.
“Poo grenade!” Will be the shout, as the tip of the archeologist’s trowel punctures yet another plastic bag full of poo. But, this will not even be human poo. As far as the people of the future are concerned, we would have been a population that collected dog poo and preserved it in non degradable containers. Obviously, some obscure ceremonial ritual, maybe a sign that Elizabethan man believed that an animal’s soul resided in its bum.
Equally strange will be their view that Elizabethan man mummified baby poo and wrapped it safely in a padded bag for safekeeping.
Boy, are those archeologists in for some surprises when they start digging. You may think that finding The Snettisham Hoard, or digging up 52,000 gold coins in a field in Somerset is impressive, but when they unearth the Peterborough Poo Mountain or Dagenham Doggy Doo Doo Dump, the way the people of the future will view our civilisation will be slightly different to the way we see ourselves today.