Today’s earlier ISDP post was dedicated entirely to the 6th Annual Norman Bates Award™. That doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten our “normal” ISDP report. Our enthusiastic fans know that December/January is a slow time for bacterial decomposition in general, and for the olfactory-based discovery of human remains in particular. Nevertheless, we did dredge up one item and it turns out to have great symbolic significance for us. Here it is:
Police were called after reports of a foul odor coming from an apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Inside they found the body of a 36-year-old woman who had been stabbed to death.
This item resonates because it takes us back to the starting point of our insanely popular I Smell Dead People feature. In a section of that name in What the Nose Knows, we quoted Billy Crystal’s line in When Harry Met Sally:
Suppose nothing happens to you. Suppose you live there your whole life and nothing happens. You never meet anybody, you never become anything, and finally you die one of those New York deaths where nobody notices for two weeks until the smell drifts into the hallway.We did some research and found that the “New York death” is, in fact, remarkably common. So December’s incident at 69 West 225th Street in New York is a closing-of-the-circle moment for us. We’ve been doing ISDP on a monthly basis since February, 2009. We’ve documented scores (if not hundreds) of incidents, and established entirely new genres of the phenomenon: the body in the chimney, the body in the car (with special subcategory: Walmart parking lot). And of course, we’ve given unprecedented attention to people who, out of anosmia, psychopathology, or criminality (or a combo) have lived in close quarters with the stench of decaying human remains. The annual Norman Bates Awards will continue, but this is the last of the monthly ISDP installments.
Having established a body of work [Phrasing!—Ed.] we feel it is now time to move along. The monthly compilations are time-consuming and we’d rather devote those hours to a new project that we’ve been incubating for a while now. It is a fictional olfacto-literary endeavor unlike any the world has seen. Is it the long-rumored AChemS novel? The steamy page-turner that pulls back the curtain on the annual orgy of smell and taste science in Florida? It might be. But as G.R.R. Martin says, “Sod off, you’ll just have to wait for it.”
Thanks, ISDP fans, and see you soon.