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Tracking Wi-Fi Scent – With A Hint Of Full-Bodied Dirty Gig

September 6th, 2011 · Tags:Satire

I just finished a Dirty Gig. For new readers, that is the underbelly of this blog — laboring in disaster clean up situations to fund the road trip. So, alas, we are not all travel and glamour … LOL.

On many trips, the Dirty Gig takes up most of the time, leaving only a few hours for Wi-Fi exploration. It is what it be. This latest trip afforded some quality Wi-Fi travel … and rest assured we will get to that next.

But first … here is the Dirty 411.

Most recently, the Dirty Gig was repetitive warehouse time in East LA-ish. Like so many communities this year, Ontario, Calif., experienced a grass fire, and the client in this case suffered collateral damage. It was sort of like guilt by association. The fire never even singed them, but a bit of the smoke seeped through the doors. Inside, thousands of pieces of merchandise potentially were covered with trace amounts of soot or dust. Our task was to take all those thousands of boxes off of pallets, vacuum them individually, sponge them, wipe them and shrink wrap them onto a pallet once again. I assure you it was quite thorough … but one can never be too sure.

So … before any box could be returned to a pallet, it had to pass a rigorous test. Each box had to pass the watchful, eye … or nose … of a person whose technical job title was “sniffer.” Yes I now know people who have sniffed thousands and thousands of boxes (for profit … Fun?  Not so much).

And if you know me, you know I studied this intently, with my jaw dropping and head twisting in wonder.  There were so many different techniques among the various sniffers.  I saw one over-achiever literally dragging her snorter across the box like a Kirby.  Another put her finger on the bridge of her nose, as if to precisely gauge how close she could get to the box without suffering the equivalent of a carpet burn on her nostril.  I daydreamed about inventing a nose guard, similar to those rubber things office workers wear if they handle hundreds of envelopes in the mail room …

It got worse … I envisioned Henry Fonda in the classic film “The Grapes of Wrath,” cruising old Route 66 with all his family crammed into a Model T truck, headed from dustbowl Oklahoma to California … but not to pick grapes … to sniff boxes … their ticket to a better life.

(How long can it be before these people unite, unionize and push for more of a “nose-in-the-air,” uppity title … whaddaya think? Nasal Engineer? Sinusmologist? Or perhaps an acronym like SNOT – Scent Nullifying Operational Tech.)

I digress …

As unscientific as this might sound, never underestimate the olfactory abilities of this miraculous computer we call human. I mean … one need not look further than the neighboring city of Rancho Cucamonga to trace the beginnings of the California wine industry. And how do these fine wines get tested? Oh I am sure there are scores of test tube/centrifuge/razzle dazzle analyses. But the final test is taste.

Whether it is the master vintner or the tourist who pulls the family truckster into a winery for a bargain, they raise the glass to the light, swirl the sediment — tannins and such — cram their big old nose in the glass not unlike my friend the sniffer … then taste. Archaeologists have found evidence of wine production thousands of years ago … one of civilization’s first or perhaps second industries. After all these years, we have improved the wine and every aspect of its production. But the test remains the same. “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”  So if you sniff, hold your head high because of this storied, age old profession.

On a similar note, in Texas, one might tour the Blue Bell Ice Cream creamery where I believe you might encounter a professional taster. I picture them with a golden chain necklace and a golden spoon dangling from their neck. They taste and I am told, spit out, a few million calories a day to ensure the final frozen goodness is suitable for my palate.  Taste on!  Taste on!

So … my compliments to the tasters and yes the sniffers of the world. I have no doubt that must look exceptional on your resumes.

Know what I saying?