Excuse me sir, would you like to stow that case of halitosis in the upper bin?
How many bags will you need for that case of bad milk breath?
Excuse me ma'am! Is that your breath or did a water buffalo die in the seat behind me?
The wheels were up on my Trans-Pacific trek back to colder climes. A window seat and noiseless headphones...in the first stages of Non-Rapid Eye Movement One (NREM1)...starting to drift...nine-hour nap-time coming home to daddy...
And then...the little man in the brain goes on red alert. The olfactory glands start working overtime. Eyes are watering and the head is spinning to determine point of origin.
The head swivels from right to left and locks on the gent next to me. And then... on the lass with the green teeth directly behind me.
It wasn't the Toxic Twins (I travel in coach), but worse yet it was the Toxic Twosome:
Malodor Marvin and Halitosis Helen, to my right and rear.
I looked out window and vultures were sitting on the wing, badly deceived by this rancid odor.
Tech solutions for CSI and self diagnosis
If only I had the new Orabrush breath-checker iPhone app! I could pass it back to my fellow travelers and let them test if for themselves. (Note to self: Must enter 21st century and upgrade my 35 lb. Bag Phone to an iPhone soon.) Business travelers, this app is a marvelous invention!
Unfortunately, my trusty 40-lb. high-tech Halimeter machine didn’t make it through security clearance.
Of course, a quick self-inspection was in order to ensure I wasn't contributing to this intermingling of nasal nastiness. Coincidentally, a Therabreath segment was flashing on the mini TV on the headrest in front of me.
I followed the instructions, then reviewed my pre-flight online breath test scores (still waiting for baggie of air I posted by mail to be evaluated). All seats were taken and I was blocked into my window seat by M.M. and his lovely wife H.H. was parting the back of my hair with eye-watering exhalation that would have knocked the proverbial buzzard off a manure wagon.
It got worse when the ill winds from the East met the bad air from the South and formed a purple cloud over my head that would rival Denver smog (and the “interesting smells of a Bangkok side-street”).
Finally...the flight attendant came up and passed me a note asking me if I'd like to trade in 10,000 frequent flyer miles for an improvised gas mask made from two Sani-Wipes and her demo oxygen mask.
“Sign me up!” I said. And within seconds I was off to slumberland...
Next time I’ll come armed with all necessary high-tech devices (and my own vintage WWI gas mask).
Time to kill while waiting for your breath results? Watch this video of Mr. Bean checking his breath before meeting the Queen.
Special report from travel correspondent and low-tech gadget master, the Mysterious Dr. F:
“I may not be a real doctor, but I play one on TV.”