While many residents of Tacoma are uncertain where the city’s aroma comes from, one researcher believes he has found the answer.
Tacoma, Washington – Few would deny the stunning beauty and diversity of Washington. From its vast green meadows to its frozen peaks, the state is known for its stunning vistas. It’s also known for Seattle’s active music scene, an incubator where new, independent artists can flourish, and its connection with the tech world through companies like Microsoft. What many outside of the state might not know, however, is Washington’s less appealing side.
“It’s the smell,” claims a citizen of Tacoma who wishes to be known only as Mr. Smith, “if there is such a thing.”
There is such a thing. The scent in question is a pungent odor permeating the air in Washington’s second-largest city. It is both strong and bitter and coats everything it comes in contact with, and it’s best known as the Tacoma Aroma.
“I feel saturated by it,” Smith continues. “I can taste its stink and every time I do I fear that I’ve somehow been infected by it.”
Despite Mr. Smith’s fears, there are no known cases of people becoming “infected” by the aroma. In fact, it one researcher claims it might be the other way around. The people of Tacoma may well be infecting their surroundings. How could they be doing such an unconscionable thing?
“Gas,” insists Dr. Edwin Tannhauser, a researcher with the Flatulation Administration – Research and Technology, Executive Division. “The people of Tacoma are, simply put, active flatulators.”
The history of the Tacoma Aroma is a long and storied one, but despite blaming the odoriferous curse on everything from a local oil refinery to a nearby paper mill, nobody has been able to put a finger on the cause. Tannhauser, who holds advanced degrees in aromatherapy and aromachology, believes he has followed the culprit’s scent to its origins.
“According to studies done in the Administration’s laboratory, not only are the residents of Tacoma seven percent more likely to pass gas more than once every fifteen minutes,” he says, “but they release four percent more vapor with a ten percent higher saturation in ammonia and sulfur.”
In plain English, they fart more often, and when they do, their farts are bigger and smellier. To quote Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, “Yeah, science!”
Science or not, Mr. Smith doesn’t seem convinced.
“These studies, they’re just temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose,” he says.
Maybe he is right. Maybe trying to divine the origin of the Tacoma Aroma as a wild goose chase down a rabbit hole to catch one’s own tail. Until we know for sure, however, we have a trained researcher’s opinion.
And you know what they say about opinions. Everyone’s got one, and most of them stink.