Scratch-n-sniff? No Thanks!

It’s not often my boss makes a special request when I go out on assignment, but when I was tasked with writing a story about our weekend algae bloom on Lake Okabena Monday morning, he asked if I could make the photos the scratch-n-sniff kind for Tuesday’s newspaper.

Floating algae mat.

Scratch-n-sniff photos of an algae bloom – now wouldn’t that be something!

Just imagine reading the newspaper over your morning cup of coffee, all the while wondering where that smell is coming from. Is it a skunk? Could it be sulfur, or maybe it’s rotten eggs? Yeah, that doesn’t sound too appetizing to me either!

It kind of reminds me of grade school. Back then, scratch-n-sniff stickers were the rage. I particularly liked the fruity ones that smelled like strawberries and grapes.

Blue-green algae near the fishing pier.

They made disgusting scratch-n-sniff stickers too – like skunk, rubber tires, green grass and vomit. Oh, I never wasted my hard-earned babysitting money on that kind of garbage, but some kids did.

I wonder if they still make scratch-n-sniff stickers.

Anyway, no one would ever want a scratch-n-sniff photo of an algae bloom – trust me on this! I told Dan the Watershed Man that we could do the interview Monday morning down by Sailboard Beach because it was such a beautiful day. Besides, when I have a chance to get out of the office on assignment, I generally take it.

Yuck, yuck, yuck

The smell wasn’t too noticeable for much of the interview, but I think the aroma of decaying algae somehow soaked into my system. By the afternoon, my nose was telling me the rotten scent was nearby. I’m sure it was just my overactive imagination playing tricks on me.

Then again, maybe they were working on a scratch-n-sniff recipe for an algae bloom photo over by the printing press.