Nothing to sneeze at: the growing market for clean noses

Oct. 3, 2021, 9:37 p.m.

Students have responded in a variety of ways to the University’s imposition of a weekly COVID-19 testing regime. Some dutifully swab themselves — perhaps with a grumble or two — others chafe under the perceived imposition on their liberty, while a third, rather resourceful group of students has spotted a commercial opportunity.

“Students being as they are, I suspected that there would be many in search of ways to circumvent the testing requirement,” said sophomore MS&E major Russ Gabberwaller. “I mean, if you’ve gotta party then you’ve gotta party, am I right?”

Indeed, if the sheer volume of September transports is anything to go by, student fraternizing is at its highest level in recent memory. All those underground parties and raves are bound to spread both COVID-19 and concern amongst the participating students that will inevitably test positive and thus be locked-out of classes, dining halls and future revelries.

“My stroke of genius in creating SwabX,” continued Gabberwaller, “was a sort of designated driver crossed with blood boy, but for COVID tests. The basic idea is that, if you don’t want to risk a positive test, you call me up, and I provide a guaranteed negative sample collected from my roster of socially awkward undergrads who haven’t experienced the warmth of human touch for at least 13 days.”

The service has proven so lucrative that at least three competing services have popped-up over the last week, each filling a different niche of price and degree of social isolation of donor students.

Jenny Atchoo, a bioengineering major, believes that the donor nose business model, despite it being just several weeks old, is already outdated. “Why take the gamble that some CS major who hasn’t seen the sun for several days is actually COVID negative?” she said. “I have perfected a technique to grow nose organoids in a petri dish from just a single DNA sample from the host. With a vial of spit and a few days, I can have a genetically identical nose up and ready for swabbing!”

Despite charging a somewhat exorbitant fee, Atchoo claims to have already sold-out. “Business is booming,” she said with a grin.

Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine, and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only. 

A chronic anachronism, Ben enjoys well-punctuated texts and oatmeal cookies. He's also majoring in psychology, so he knows how many fingers you're thinking of holding up. Spam him at bmidler 'at'

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