News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Newsroom visitor leaves lasting impression

“Do you smell that?” a fellow worker asked in the newsroom last week.

“Yes,” I answered, wondering if we were being solicited by a French version of the world’s oldest profession.

“It’s your 10:30 appointment,” the co-worker said, nodding toward the front lobby. “He’s early, and we’re about to die up here.”

The co-worker fanned her face, trying to dilute the fragrant pollution with fresh air.

“We watched him in his car out front,” she continued. “He sprayed himself all over with cologne before he came in.”

I left Mr. Cologne sitting in the lobby for 10 or 15 minutes so he could air out. It was a cruel thing to inflict upon the women up front, but my allergies required it.

Some folks are apparently oblivious to the dangers of second-hand perfume.

Medical experts call it fragrance sensitivity.

Fragrances can cause migraine headaches, lack of concentration, dizziness and fatigue, according to

They can affect the lungs, nose, skin and eyes. They can even impact the brain, which might explain why my deranged co-workers were ready to kill Mr. Cologne by the time he left the building.

To thwart a possible fragrance-induced riot, I finally agreed to rescue them.

Without regard for my personal well being, I drew a deep breath, held it, walked into the lobby and shook the man’s hand.

Although it was about 35 degrees outside, I debated whether to lead him outside and conduct our meeting at the company picnic table.

Hypothermia was looking pretty good compared to the alternative.

I also wondered whether the hazmat team responds to these situations.

The smell followed us down the hallway to the conference room, where — by the request of my co-workers — I closed the door.

If there is a standing record for holding your breath while conducting a meeting, it was in danger of falling.

Mr. Cologne talked.

I fought to concentrate with my hand over my mouth and nose, trying to filter the atmosphere.

It was the world’s shortest meeting.

I ushered the man to the front door and said goodbye. I went to the restroom and scrubbed my hands. I went outside, inhaled the crisp air.

Later in the day we removed the chair in which Mr. Cologne had sat so it could air out.

He came seeking to leave an impression and he succeeded. Scott Morris is The Daily’s managing editor.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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