26th Jan 2004 The advertisement pondered what would happen if your phone could send a scent as well as voice and pictures. So did I. View large

Dear Sir,

I was reading some magazine recently and came across your advertisement that said

'We have given you the ability to send words and pictures.
What if you could send a scent?'

Yes! I want one! I have this bank manager with an aversion to garlic...

But as I type this, I am starting to have a few reservations. What if Mario's Pizza started ringing me up on the 5:45pm to Burwood and assailing my already fractious gastric juices with Eau de Margarita? Or what about the dewy eyed lovers ? Flowers would be very romantic but who knows what other pheromone soaked message they may send or indeed, if we are still on the 5:45, what effect it may have on the surrounding passengers? Or while we are on pheromones, think of all the school kids who keep their phone in the bottom of their school bag? Alien life forms live down there. Who knows what may pop out of your phone!

Wrong numbers would be fraught with danger. The wife walks into your lounge room and picks four fifths of a picogram of Chanel No 5. YOU try telling her it was from a wrong number. Soon you would be smelling the horse hair and leather of a barrister's phone call.

And the cheap nasty pranks that would take off. You could, for example, ring a number then put your phone in a shoe box with a dead rat before they answer. And then where would we be? Everyone would be too scared to answer their phone. Just as we have virus protectors on our computers, we would have sentries, or rather scentries, on our phones. In an age when everyone has become more accessible, who would the risk of answering their own phone. Where's the fun in that?

'Excuse me, Mr President. There is a person to person call from Mr Newbery.'

Do you think he would smell a rat?

Yours malodorously,

J Cosmo Newbery.