Halitosis – a small rant


You know it as bad breath.  Noticeably unpleasant odors expel themselves during regular breathing and linger stealthily in the air.  I am forever conscious of my breath and am never without a pack of Trident. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the entire human race.  And as luck would have it, many of these offenders are also afflicted by another ailment known as “being a close talker”.

My brother attended high school with a fellow that used to eat peanut butter and raw onion sandwiches every day for lunch.  Every – single – day.   Now, I can only imagine the foul and sinister cloud of exhalations that followed him throughout the hallways of that high school.  It brings an image to mind of Pig Pen from the Peanuts cartoon with a large cloud ever circling his body.  He must be directly related to the people who have smoked salmon, red onion and capers for lunch, followed by a dessert of a cigarette and a coffee.  There should be a rule in very large print that these and similar meals are followed by a mandatory brushing of the teeth chased by a Tic Tac!!

There are certain foods that should either have a warning label about the danger of halitosis, or be sold with a side of Peppermint Certs.  Onions, garlic, peppers, spicy deli meat…..I think you understand the point I’m making.  How do you find a politically correct way to tell people that their rank breath is offensive?  It is a delicate topic, and in no way do I have the capacity to intentionally hurt someone’s feelings, but if it were me, I would want someone to extend the courtesy of telling me that my breath is making their eyes water!

This rant was given its breath (pun intended) by an encounter I had at the grocery store.  Mr. Close Talker, who shall remain named as such, was excitedly telling me about his most recent adventure.  He was so animated in his gestures that I really don’t believe he noticed my gradual steps backwards.  I was slowly losing consciousness because I was doing my utmost to hold my breath while he expounded on his follies, inches from my face.

There are moments in your life that you can absolutely say that you were in the right place at the right time.  I smiled, hoping he would think I was still listening, but as the world began swimming out of focus, I saw my salvation.  I prayed I wasn’t hallucinating because, after all, I was on minute number three with no oxygen.   I reached for the angel that appeared before me and felt her radiance through a foil wrapper.  Mr. Close Talker was still dealing with his verbal diarrhea and had no idea that I put two packs of Certs into his line of groceries!

Maybe he will understand the gesture as it was meant to be given, or maybe he will be so mortified that he won’t engage me in conversation again for a while.  Either way, I think it’s a win – win.