This is an English language about Pongs.
Nobody knows where the word ‘pong’ actually comes from but Anglicans believe it may have whiffed in from across the English Channel in France centuries ago and never left British shores.
It may be no mere coincidence that ‘stench’ rhymes with ‘wrench’ and ‘French’.
Oh La La!
A pong is a bad smell, make no mistake.
A few years ago, the French Stench in the form of a large non-toxic vapour cloud of chemical gas inadvertently released from a factory blew in from the city of Rouen.
Bad smells are unpleasant, unwelcome, odorous, pungent, repulsive and repugant.
It is amazing to think that the human nostril can smell an estimated ten thousand different pongs.
For want of another word. Or perhaps not.
Not as many as canines.
But who’s counting?
Pongs come from a variety of different sources – humans, animals, plants ans chemical gases.
This is my list of the top ten. It does not necessarily represent what I think is the most obnoxious and unpleasant in any particular order.
- personal hygiene – smelly feet, armpits, bad breath and sweat
- human waste – toilet disposal, excretia and raw sewerage
- rotting corpse of humans and animals, even perhaps plants
- rubbish, garbage and trash – the stuff we throw away and quite often we don’t
- the Rafflesia Flower ofthe Sumatran rainforest in Indonesia, not only the biggest flower in the world but also the most repugnant of all plants
- the Durian Fruit, also from south east Asia, terribly odorous for its smell like faeces, rotting onions and turpentine mixed together
- Animal odour cannot be overlooked and there two contenders. The camel is a very smelly creature in the desert but we should beware of the skunk, a mammal which sprays a liquid pong in a defensive action
- Horse and Pig Manure make it onto the list at number eight but you might also call it manure fertilizer
- Many chemical gases released into the atmosphere are not only poisonous and toxic but extremely Carbon Monoxide released as exhaust fumes from motorised vehicles springs to mind but a better example is perhaps Sulphur commonly found in volcanic areas and smells very much like rotten eggs.
- The last pong on my list is to do with human habit such as vomiting, spitting, burping and of course farting – breaking wind if you insist or officially called flatulence
We are privileged today with easy access to clean water for washing and drinking and and sanitation.
Just imagine how people in the Elizabethan era felt (Shakespeare too!) in not taking a shower or a bath for long periods of time.
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!
Whoops! Another detestable smell, the whiff of a cigarette or cigar.
What a stinker! What a pong!
The essence of a pong goes far beyond the French Stench.
Pongs present a tremendous test of our level of toleration in a comfort zone and a challenge to lessen the impact they have on our daily life.