Does vinegar make you shit?

Apologies to those familiar with this, but for people reading this who don’t blog, I need to explain something about a blog account.

No matter what blog client you use, you get access to a ‘dashboard’ or control panel that has all sorts of good and useful shit in it.

One of the handiest things in it is some sort of stats view and summary so you can see how people have found your blog, what’s been popular that you’ve written, where they’ve gone that you’ve linked to and stuff like that which is really much more interesting than it sounds.

One group of statistics tells me what search terms people have used to find my blog and I was delighted to find that someone had come here by searching for:

‘does vinegar make you shit’

I know that they didn’t find the answer here, so:

Does vinegar make you shit?

Enquiring minds need to know...

More shit you couldn’t make up

Yes everything, including common sense, goes straight out the fucking window…

It’s not often that you read a story in the news that has it all – drama, slapstick, police forensic prodedures, terrorist attacks, Parliament, bathos, pathos, Aramis, d’Ar-fucking-tagnan – or that touches on the zeitgeist so readily – terror, paranoia, insecurity, health anxieties, delusion, folly – but  this one has it ALL.

Yes, that’s right:

Police hospitalised over HP sauce

Police officers rushed to hospital after a suspicious substance was thrown through a car window were released when it was identified as HP sauce.

The Metropolitan Police said officers responded to reports of an “unusual smell” coming from a car with a smashed window in Enfield, north London.

This raises several points.

Surely, when most people encounter a mystery brown substance they think it’s possibly, well…shit.

Having had children and various pets you get attuned to thinking that way.

You can’t help it.

Even now if one of the cats has something mysterious and brown on its coat I check it out.

In order to identify any suspicious brown substance  I prioritise the five senses that I possess.

First, sight.

OK, it’s brown but it doesn’t look easily identifiable.

A whole turd…well, no question about it.

But just a vague brown smudge or smear…well, that needs closer investigation…

So, then I use smell.

This is usually the clincher.

I’ve learned over the years what shit smells like and that if something smells like shit then it’s probably shit.

To my certain knowledge I’ve never gone on to use the three other senses I possess to identify shit.

Hearing is obviously a non-runner – except when it’s being produced, shit is totally silent.

(If you hear shit buzzing, that’s just flies.)

Touch is one that you sometimes can’t avoid – but it’s always accidental.

And taste…well, that’s a definite no-no.

I’d like to think that the police involved in this case did the same thing, and that having eliminated shit from their list of  dubious brown substances they moved on to consider what else it might be.

So, sight…

Brown, but that’s all.

Smell…

Hmmm…

Now, HP Sauce has a unique and historic recipe using many ingredients:

  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Dates
  • Glucose-Fructose
  • Black Strap Molasses
  • Tomato Paste
  • Modified Cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Orange Juice Concentrate
  • Onion
  • Spices
  • Tamarind Extract
  • Apple Juice Concentrate
  • Garlic
  • Chili Peppers
  • Mustard Flour

And what does ‘HP’ stand for?

Bizarrely, yet somehow satisfyingly. for ‘Houses of Parliament’…

Personally, I hate the stuff but I do know what it smells like and ingredient numero two (the greatest ingredient after water) is the big clue.

Vinegar.

Now, that has a very distinctive smell.

Which leads us to a question that might well crack this case wide open.

If someone put HP Sauce over your car’s interior would you be able to smell vinegar?

I’d say so.

So, back to Plod, who’s looking at the car’s interior and seeing brown stuff which has zero odeur de merde.

He smells it and he smells vinegar.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d stop right there before I rushed off to hospital thinking that I was the victim of some evil joke, mailicious prank or some terrorist chemical attack.

Maybe I’m being unfair and the police’s reaction was just the result of being very cautious – but based on what supposition?

If it was a strange white powder may be you’d think it could be a terrorist Anthrax attack – but brown spooge?

The worst thing it could be (the way most people would react to it) would be shit and, in my experience, shit is harmless when seen and smelled although, admittedly, rather unpleasant.

The enigmatic substance had ‘an unusual smell’.

I’d question that and suggest that you’d probably find HP Sauce in every police station canteen up and down the country thus familiarising every policeman with its distinctive aroma.

Has brown stuff ever been used to attack people?

Should we be on our guard against something which looks like shit?

Most terrorists like shit which blows shit up – not shit which smells of vinegar.

I daresay that there have been practical jokes using real shit, but then you’d know it was shit by the smell.

Anyway, to conclude this rambling, the long and short of it is that the police have come out of all this with egg on their faces.

Maybe they’d like some brown sauce to go with it…