One of the necessary tools in this trade is a well-developed sense of smell. Almost everything I buy must pass the sniff test because certain scents can be neither eradicated nor disguised. Who wants a pillow reeking of mothballs or cat.
I honed my sniffer skills on the front line of a war with stinky boys. Call me Inspector Javert but no one gets away with anonymous passing-of-gas around here. If someone in my kitchen or worse, in my car, cuts the cheese, my nose is attuned to certain nuances that allow me to identify the culprit. It is to the point now where my sons are like Jack Donaghy who informs Liz Lemon, "I only pass gas once a year. For an hour. Atop a mountain. In Switzerland."
Which is why I'm embarrassed that my nose failed me recently. I purchased an ice bucket from the estate of a church organist -- I think her name was Mildred -- and when I got it home, and removed the lid, an overwhelming smell of pot just about knocked me down. Not pot like pot roast. Pot like marijuana. Ganja, man.
Mildred, you sly devil, with your starched bed sheets, your collection of Hummels, your lace doilies slid underneath every lamp like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, you smoked mary jane?
I washed the ice bucket and let it air, lid off, for about nine months. A couple of weeks ago, I put the lid back on to shoot it in the light box, then promptly removed it an hour later. I tested the interior again and still! Reefer Madness!
So now what?
My husband, and not-always-silent business partner, suggests that I openly acknowledge the bucket's special scent. After all, he says, the philosophy behind Finder Not Keeper is to recognize the true essence of an object, to celebrate the qualities that make it special. To be blunt, Mildred's ice bucket is no longer for ice.
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