Dear Mrs. Crabby,

I am lucky enough to have a job in an insurance office. I process claims and sit in an open air cubicle right behind my boss, Claire. Though reasonable, Claire is a tough-minded boss. She does not suffer fools whatsoever. There are 25 of us in this room with her, and we all know to keep our distance.

Except, sitting behind her, I really can’t. Keep distance.

Claire smells really bad, Mrs. Crabby. I’m not talking every now and then between showers. I’m talking every day, all day and by the end of the day, it’s so bad I have to put Vicks Vaporub in my nose to fight the smell.

She will wear the same clothes for days on end. She says she learned this while working in France, where cleaning costs are so high, everyone wears the same clothes all week. When she turns to walk away, the breeze carries up a smell that tells us she also doesn’t change her underwear.

It’s really bad. I’ve lost 12 pounds since working here from the nausea, and I was thin to begin with. And I swear I’ve seen bugs crawling on her coat.

Dion, who works on the other side of me, has taken to battling this smell by wearing half a bottle of cologne. If it was Roberto Cavalli or Chanel for men that would be one thing. But it’s Axe. Lots and lots of Axe.

Holy Joanie on a Pony Mrs. Crabby, the smells in this office are so loud it’s a miracle anyone can hear their phone ring!

What can I do? I can’t quit. I really need this job.


Nora’s Nose


Dear Nora,

I don’t mean to add the stink of vinegar, but what a pickle, hon! You poor dear. Until this is solved, I want you to go home every night and have a lovely lavender scented bath. The lavender will clear your sinuses and the bath will soothe your nerves. A nice pounce on your sweetie will help you forget the harshness as well.

Now, there are several ways to go about this. You have to act alone, because if pressed by your boss, others will hang you out to dry.

Have a gift basket of soaps, scents and Febreze spray sent anonymously to your boss.


Take some office paper home. Make sure you don’t touch it directly. You never know how far people will go investigating these things. When you are home, handle the paper with latex gloves on. Just an extra added precaution. Use a friend’s computer and printer. Write “You are a nice person. But you smell just awful. Many of us throw up every night when we get home. Please take a shower every day. Signed, all of us.” Place this note carefully inside an envelope that also contains a gift card to Bath and Body. With Google map directions from the office.

Place the note in her car when no one is looking. Tell no one you’ve done this.

Now, if none of this works, your last resort is to call the health department anonymously and report your boss’s smell as a toxic hazard. Tell them you fear she is mortally ill and possibly contagious.

As to Dion, just tell him that Claire goes on and on about how hot he smells, and how she imagines him in various carnal poses all day long. That should take care of that.

Good luck, hon. Meanwhile, keep a stiff upper lip. Hopefully that will hold the Vicks in place.

IB Crabby


Tell Mrs. Crabby all!

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