Friday, January 21, 2005

Are your nostrils aquiver, and tingling as well?

It's again colder than any sane person should tolerate outside. The combination of cold and blowing wind is causing me - as every winter - to get painfully dry, cracked skin; it's just a little earlier than usual this year. This is a problem. Not in that I care much about how my skin looks, mind you, but in that I'm more than a bit obsessive-compulsive about hand-washing, and cracked, open wounds on the hands tend to sting like a bastard under soap and water. Band-aids are useless; they only keep the area moist and unable to heal. I thus turned, for the first time in a long time, to try a liquid bandage. It works, more or less, as it's supposed to - but there's one thing about it I can't stand: the smell. According to the label, it's oil of cloves, which does nothing to mask the underlying solvent aroma. As far as I can tell, it's only there to make the whole thing seem a little more medicinal and less like paint thinner. I recall, back when I suffered from asthma, that one inhaled prescription (I'm not sure if it was Ventolin or Beclovent) was similarly camphor-scented for no apparent reason. Ditto menthol, in many topical ointments where it isn't actually an active ingredient. Do customers expect a "medicinal" smell, and feel cheated without it? Is that the only reason for unnecessary scents? I'd be a lot happier to not walk around smelling like a spice rack, just for having a two-inch-long patch of hardened plastic 'bandage' on my index finger. (I'd even be happy with menthol or camphor, for that matter. Oil of cloves is just...odd.)

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