David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Eau de Humanities

August 13, 2015

Apparently a perfume maker is now selling a perfume that captures the smell of her alma mater, Oxford University.  Yes, Ruth Mastenbroek has a new Oxford fragrance, apparently based upon the pretentious cigarettes her fellow Oxonians smoked when she was a student there.   I think it's an idea that could catch on:

The smell of burning couches would appeal to us former Mountaineers, a smell increasingly drifting over to other schools that don't quite know the limits on celebrating big victories. I am looking at you Sparty and Buckeye.

The smell of sweaty bicyclists would work for us former Hoosiers, although I have to admit I never actually attended a Little 500 race while at graduate school in Bloomington.

The smell of olives may be appropriate for the University of Akron, right now, mired in a controversy about 100's of cut jobs while the president keeps an expensive olive jar on the payroll. 

The smell of marijuana at University of Michigan in honor of their annual Hash Bash celebration.

The smell of fertilizer at any of the A & M's across the country (Texas A & M, Florida A & M, Alabama A & M).

The smell of Krispy Kremes at North Carolina State (nothing like running a total of five miles to eat a dozen doughnuts, Wolfpack).

The smell of latex for Brandeis graduates.  Not sure what to make of a "liquid latex" day.  Does liquid latex smell like regular latex?

The smell of desperation at any number of institutions targeted by the government and/or facing dramatically decreasing enrollments.

I suppose that the lesson to be learned from Ms. Mastenbroek is that a college alumni should be entrepreneurial in finding exactly the right product to sell almuni.  Yes, maybe pretentious cigarette odor is unique to Oxford students, but perhaps the market isn't in olfactory sensations. Maybe there are less subtle products to sell.

Maybe WVU should sell cheap disposable couches to its alumni, veritable "Davenports of Despair" (as Warren Zevon once sang) that we beat up when Dana Holgerson decides to run the ball YET again with 1:00 minute left on the clock and 70 yards of real estate needed to win the game.

Maybe the University of Akron should sell Olive pits to its alumni, recognizing that "the president gets the fruit of our labors, we get the pits."

Maybe IU should sell the bicycle seats used during the Little 500 race, auction them off to the highest bidder.  It's a promotion that Queen somehow didn't find distasteful in association with their single, "Bicycle Race."

Maybe Stanford should sell DVD's of their marching bands with brown paper bag wrapping and no identifying information. While I have to admit that I haven't heard of any Stanford Marching Band controversies the last few years, you have to wonder how proud an alum can be, in an era of extreme political correctness, with some of the band's antics (although I am partial to them showing up at the OJ Simpson trial playing "She's Not There").

Maybe Penn State should . . . well, maybe, I should wrap this up.  Something stinks.