You and Me Both, Kid

Have you ever heard of methanethiol? It is a chemical compound found in in rotten eggs, onions, garlic, the secretions of skunks —and it’s also the stuff that makes some people’s pee smell after eating asparagus. There are several theories on this, but the one I like best is that everyone produces the odor, but only certain people can smell it.

That said, it turns out in our household that my son Zack and I can smell it while my wife Ann and son Alex can not. This has set up a very weird sort of bonding between us since it’s something unique we share together. I’ll serve asparagus at least once a week and we exchange a knowing glance, aware that an hour later we’ll both be enjoying the pungent odor of asparagus pee wafting up as we go to the bathroom.

Is it really true that everyone produces the odor but can’t smell it? I’m going to suggest that Zack do this as some sort of science project at school, but maybe we should start small at home.

Smelling Ann’s pee should be easy; getting her to smell ours? Not so much. That may require some trickery.

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