Synthesis (sin’-the-sis): An apt arrangement of a composition, especially regarding the sounds of adjoining syllables and words.
“Aeronautics: Airplanes and Armpits.” Don’t ask me why I bought this book, because I don’t know. The book jacket pictured a commercial airline pilot in a jet’s cockpit with huge sweat rings under his arms. His co-pilot was making the “PU” sign, holding his nose with an upraised, waving, hand. The blurb said: “Follow Carl Jamesway as he struggles with acute body odor in the confines of a cockpit—trying desperately to neutralize his sickening stench and save his job with “American Jetliners,” and his romance with Jane Crab: buxom former stewardess who is now a Middle School teacher, hounded by the Principal to “give it up in his office sometime after 3:00 o’clock.”
Once I started reading the book, I was gripped—gripped by fear, suspense and disgust. As read, I kept trying figure out how Jane Crab became enamored with Carl, King of Stench. Then, about 20 pages in, we learn that Jane lost her sense of smell in a car accident when she was a teenager. So, she was perfectly suited to Carl. Her only problem was with perfume. She couldn’t tell how much to put on, and it was always too much. However, her strong perfume smell helped ameliorate Carl’s stench. That part of the book was very uplifting.
Next, I started wondering about Carl’s co-pilot. How did he manage the stench on transatlantic flights? Then, almost right after I started; wondering, I found out: he wore a reusable stink and odor filter, an activated charcoal carbon nose filter.
The bulk of the book, though, cover’s Carl’s search for a cure. First, when deodorant failed (as it always had), he wore a dozen pine-tree car deodorizers under each of his armpits. He was no Chevy. They didn’t work. Then, he decided to go “all in.” He went to Peru where it was rumored a stink-removing shaman practiced his magic. The shaman placed two giant leeches under Carl’s armpits for Carl to “feed his stink to.” The shaman turned out to be a con and took off with Carl’s money, leaving Carl to figure out how to unfasten the leeches. This, in my opinion, is the most exciting part of the book.
After the debacle in Peru, Carl goes back home to New York. He is still desperate to eliminate his stench. He knows it won’t be long before American Jetliners gives him the sack. Panicked, he decides to have his sweat glands removed. You’ll have to read “Aeronautics, Airplanes and Armpits” to find out how the surgery goes and whether it solves Carl’s problem.
I can say that the surgery does not go as expected.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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