Monday, February 19, 2007



“That's the scent dude! When you get a good stink on, you are at one with the cosmos!”

Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata
Animal Crossing: Wild World, 2005

The stink sprinted up my nose like a suicide shot of wasabe cocaine: He was a man with an overly large tummy. He had dark red skin. He wore a white polo shirt that has gone through 300 thousand washings. He had a Borat level moustache and he rested his right arm just above the headrest that fronted us. He was the man I sat next to on the bus this morning; he was the man who assaulted me with the stink of a thousand hard working African open pit miners on a scorcher day.

Thank god for embrocations! I’ve always thought that grandmas White Flower would save me one day after I pass out, not before I pass out. I dabbed some wonder oil on the back of my palm and breathed in its sharp air deodorizing scent. I was Mark Renton desperately snorting coke. The man didn’t stink from under arm body odor; he stank from every skin pore of his body. I could never imagine what a crammed up prison cell in a local city jail would smell like, but this morning I was there.

And so after this odorous chapter in my bus riding life, I feel that I need to analyze the source biology of commuter stink. The way I see/smell it, there are three archetypes:

LEVEL 1 / tolerable

Tolerable; hmmm, what does a tolerable stink smell like. It’s something you can live with: it’s a spinster aunt who goes overboard on makeup and old perfume; you get annoyed by the smell but since it’s your aunt you just say to yourself: “Hey, family reunions are done once a year. I’ll just bare with it”.

LEVEL 2 / unnerving

Simply put, it’s a person who forgot to put on deodorant hence the garden variety body odor. The smell is just plain unnerving. It’s not like getting run over by a truck which leaves you dead or wishing you we’re dead. It’s much like getting run over by a furiously pedaling deranged side car driver. You will just hate that you got hit; you will just hate that you smelled the rotten lemony stink B.O. of your bus seatmate.

LEVEL 3 / fully weaponized bio agent

I cannot describe how LEVEL 3 would smell. But then I can outline a way by which it can be attained:

Step1: Don’t take a bath for 3 days. Just relax and stay nice and cool at home.
Ferment. Don’t sweat as much as possible.

Step2: Commute by non
aircon bus from Alabang to the QC Circle. Do this at around 12 noon, during

Step3: Commute by jeep from the QC Circle to Quiapo; from
here, go back to the south via jeep via coastal road.

Step4: Attend
an all night drinking spree. Smoke a pack of cigarettes.
Come morning, you will have attained a Zen connection with the cosmos: you will not stink; you will be stink personified. To stink means to accidentally shit in your pants and smell bad, to become stink means to go under a long and slow process of stinkification from which is born a form of self immunity from your own smell. You’ll know that you stink so bad, but you just can’t smell it and you just don’t give a rat’s ass.

The man I sat next to this morning, he was at one with the cosmos. When he gets home, he won’t go straight for the shower. He’ll probably eat, watch TV, chit chat with a house mate and rest and maybe at the end of the day say: “Bukas nako maliligo.”

curiosity killed the cat:

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