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Fresh and clean as a... urinal cake?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This is going to sound bizarre for a moment, but I really do have a point, so bear with me. I was on-site at a client's today, and used their restroom. I must say, it was pretty nice. Very clean. And part of that cleanliness was the air freshener. I know half the population knows that smell because it stems from the urinal cakes. But this wasn't the usual cloying, thickly sweet scent, but something different.

Pleasant. Unassuming. Almost subtle.

And evocative. For a while I had to think just exactly what that smelled like, because it was something from my childhood, but I just couldn't place it. And it wasn't until my second or third trip (hey, I drank a lot of coffee this morning) that it finally hit me: scratch-n-sniff stickers.

If you're of a certain age, you know what I'm talking about. Yeah, you youngsters today still have them, but they just don't have the cachet (not to mention, er, sachet) they had twenty years ago. For a time, stickers, and scratch-n-sniff stickers and particular, were huge. Like Pokemon huge. Beanie Baby huge. Cabbage Patch Doll huge. Milk caps huge. Everybody collected them and displayed them in "sticker books" like so many MP3s on an iPod. Anyone who was anyone had a sticker book (complete with laminated pages so stickers could be traded), and nothing separated the elite from the riffraff like scratch-n-sniffs. Particular gusto, and many an allowance, was reserved for the most outrageous scents imaginable, from chocolate ice cream cone to skunk, vanilla to vomit. Think Bertie Bott's beans, and you get the idea.

So, odd as it sounds, a urinal cake reminded me of a scratch-n-sniff sticker. See? I told you I had a point. Even if it's pointless.