• big whiff •
Unless you are in the ‘biz’, there’s no reason you should know this, but for those who deliver newspapers (or, as it happens, domestic mail) chemical sensitivity is a thing you just learn to deal with. There are established “exposures” which are “acceptable”, which means, I guess, that you won’t wake up, each morning, expecting clover to be growing from your ears. But, in fact, chemical exposures can be attributable to anything, from actual, measurable, brain damage, to “mere” behavioral changes, not exclusive to, but including, sleeplessness, irritability, irrational, emotional “outbursts”, psychopathy, and paranoia. The list is long, but, oh, well, they’re only “newspaper” people, so, what the hell. Dime a dozen, or, is there any evidence to support this idea? Oh, nevermind. I’m the one with brain damage, and even I don’t care.
The point is, Black Friday is upon us. If you get a paper, expect tomorrow morning’s edition to be as thick as your wrist. Then, imagine some mom, or old guy, like me, handling them, with huge stacks of the same, enclosed in a tiny car, or van, getting slowly sozzled, irrevocably, permanently, on toluene, a “volatile organic compound” (or VOC) which is a solvent in everything, around the house, from Pledge, to gasoline -that smells sweetly, but is the devil in disguise. Please don’t take my word for it, please do Google it.
Oh, and it was definitely in those blue-inked mimeographed test papers we got, all through school, “fresh off the presses”, that smelled sooooooo good. Tell me you didn’t just stick them under your nose, and give them a big “whiff” – your IQ dropped about five points, right then. Oh, well. Yeah, 85 average, here. And, I tried, (*sniff!!*) I really did.
~ Tim Burchfield
• big whiff •