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July 20, 2009 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

PAP Schmear Test*

*Produce Appreciation People Schmear Test 28/06/2009

Sometime in your life you’re going to have to do something you really don’t want to do. So those of us at the Produce Appreciation People—or PAP as we like to be called—are taking one for the team. A lot of people seem to be afraid of getting a schmear test. But we PAPers think that it is a procedure that everyone should go through every couple of years. So we present to you the PAP schmear test.

Medically speaking, our scientific rigour was at best poor. Grading of various schmears were taken on whatever scale struck us as most amusing at the time, resulting in an incomprehensible motley collection of scales, ranging from New Zealand Prime Ministers, cheap wines, to mass murderers. Never let it be said we are not at least interesting.
An intensive screening programme was undertaken to determine what ingredients would make the final cut for the schmear testing. Only produce of the finest quality would be good enough to be tested by the members of PAP. A baker’s dozen of assorted Wholly Bagels bagels was sourced from the Thorndon store, whilst a field trip to Moore Wilson’s resulted in extravagant purchases including caviar, salmon pâté and Craig’s raspberry jam.

Next we needed some erstwhile yet talented testers to sit on the PAP schmear panel and conduct the schmears. We wrangled up some of our fresh-faced new members who were yet to have their first PAP schmear. I mean, who can afford professionals in the current economic climate? Head of the panel, the one wearing a white coat, was Dr Daniel J Miles. Head surgeon Rarah Sobson, anaesthesiologist Jackson James Wood, and a second-year nursing student Arthur Allan Bain rounded out the team.

And so began our story of angst and woe, a voyage into the depths of what is possible with a bagel:

12:07: Sobson begins cutting the bagels. Promptly cuts herself instead. Excellent beginning. First bagel is set to be jalapeño Cheddar with Bentwood Barn Chilli Jam. Wood ranks it David Lange. Miles ranks it Ed Gein. Sobson ranks it $13 wine. Bain ranks it 6/10. Bain was always the most boring of the group.

12:46: First wines are poured into Sobson’s great aunt’s brandy glasses. Wood was drinking the Nautilus 2007 Marlborough Pinot Gris. Miles accumulated some extensive food miles (ha, get it?) in purchasing the La Puerta Cabernet Sauvignon, which came from the foot of the Andes. Or something. Sobson just scabbed some wine. She’s a cheap drunk anyway.

13:29: In a move to the sweeter side of the procedure, the panel opted for a wholemeal bagel with New Zealand Artisan Honey’s Manuka Active 12+ honey. A thick schmear with a dank yellow colour and pungent honey smell, reminiscent of a summer’s day in Ngarawhahia. Ratings were low however, with the schmear bringing in a John Key from Wood, Corban’s White Label from Sobson, Eileen Wuornos from Miles and a solid 2 from Bain.

13:53: Arthur Allan Bain starts to look a bit green around the gills but we press onward with a jalapeño cheddar bagel schmeared with Lisa’s jalapeño & Lime hummus. While initially tentative about the findings, this was the best schmear the PAPers did all day, receiving a David Bain from Miles, a $28 bottle of birthday wine from Sobson, Helen Clark from Wood and 8.25 from Bain.

14:25: The increasingly ill-looking Bain was unimpressed that his fellow PAPers chose this occasion to pull out The Smokehouse smoked salmon pâté on a Poppy bagel. His audible groans brought the mood down as the remainder of the board bravely soldiered on. A delighted Miles awarded it a Ted Bundy, high praise, but this failed to sway the increasingly jaded members of the board who awarded it an Alfred Domett and a Queen Adelaide. Bain’s gurgles of appreciation were interpreted as a 3/10.

15:07: Sobson drinks five glasses of South American wine in record speed to rid the foul taste of salmon from her tastebuds.

15:09: Sobson almost passes out, but instead eats an onion bagel topped with a slice of Kaimai brie. Wood translates as Sobson simultaneously chews and gives the brie a $16 bottle of wine (reduced from $22) rating. Wood gave the brie another David Lange, while Miles hated the stuff so much that not only did he chuck the remnants of the bagel in the rubbish, but he gave it an Antonie Dixon. Bain stuffed his face and gave it a 5.

15:45: In an attempt to rid the taste of mouldy cheese from our mouths we turned back to everyone’s favourite afternoon tea treat: Nutella on plain bagels. The thick brown spread made schmearing hard. Bain muses out loud that he doesn’t feel so bad and that he might be lactose intolerant as he nibbles on the edge of his bagel, giving it a 6. Daniel gives it a Dexter, Sobson a $16 bottle of wine on special for $12 and Wood gives it a Geoffrey Palmer.

18:38: After many more rounds of nutella-ed bagels, and many more rounds of Andes-imported wine, the team returns to the task at hand. Wood reaches into his pocket and removes a tiny vial of caviar, which, as it turns out, he carries round at all times. The things one can afford when on $45k. Everyone takes a wholemeal bagel with cavi-art Seaweed Caviar on it, the trepidation quite clearly written across all but Sobson’s face, her sole exception so dulled by alcohol abuse that a grimace of pain was the best it could manage. Her alcohol-fuelled stupor was soon the envy of the group though as everyone tasted our cheap no-brand caviar and quite obvious retches were heard. A grin spread across Wood’s face though, as he basked in the glory of eating tiny fish eggs worth around ten cents each, prompting him to award a mighty Muldoon. An unimpressed Sobson and Miles gave a Queen Adelaide and Che Guevara respectively. Bain looked up from his floor vantage point, and after a long, loving gaze at Sobson’s thighs, he awarded a 4/10.

19:57: Fish eggs now lie scattered around Sobson’s flat and Sobson suspects that there are fish eggs stuck in her molars. With her judgment impaired by that wine from that far off place, Sobson suggests that they try a Jalapeño Cheddar bagel smothered in Craig’s raspberry jam. Bad idea. Sobson nearly chokes, but gives it a Riverstone (JC bagels are good, raspberry jam is good, just not together). Wood gave it a John Key and Miles gave it a Pol Pot. Bain was getting increasingly frustrated by the whole situation and gave it a 2.8.

21:22: As the bellies of the PAP schmearers slowly expanded, Wood tried to clandestinely remove his pants. This was picked up on by Bain who started shouting “Oh look. Woody’s got a small woody.” It was at this point Wood realised he had forgotten to put on underwear that morning. With this stomach-turning event the panel moved on to that old New Zealand favourite: Marmite. Many professionals will tell you that if your schmear is yeasty you probably shouldn’t go through with it. It proved to be a fail with our taste buds, getting a 4 from Bain—whose increasing whimpers of pain were increasingly annoying—Sydney Holland from Wood, Jack the Ripper from Miles and a Montana on special from Sobson.

21:58: Sesame bagels with Pam’s Smooth with Full Salt Peanut Butter. Hilarity ensued as a peanut butter-mouthed Wood and Miles attempted to give ratings through increasingly gummed up mouths, while an increasingly drunk Sobson cried, interspersed with raucous laughter. Bain interpreted results, declaring Wood to have awarded a “Kiwi Keith”, Miles a “Pol Pot”, and Sobson’s slurs were decided to be a return to the cheap Montana. Bain then tried his, and began choking on a peanut while the rest of the Schmearers giggled under their breath. He eventually gasped out a final verdict of 4/10.

22:35: Miles had a really bad idea. Plain bagel. In wine. Worst idea EVAH. Wood went first. In white wine. It was “pretty bad”. He gave it a Mike Moore. Miles went next and dunked his bit of bagel in red wine. For a long time. He choked a little and couldn’t finish it. It went in the bin. A Judy Garland. Sobson used a smaller bit of bagel and dipped it in some red wine. Soggy. Disgusting. Passion Pop. Bain sculled the glass of wine with the bit of bagel in it. Wood unsuccessfully attempted to perform the Heimlich. He called 111 and screamed “I heimliched the prick!”

03:00: After a quick trip to the hospital to remove the wine-soaked bagel from Bain’s oesophagus we returned back to the PAP schmear test. Refreshed and high off some morphine Miles stole while the night nurse wasn’t looking, we dived back into the schmear. The final official procedure of the evening was a sesame bagel with strawberry ice cream schmeared. The gloopy concoction went down a treat with Sobson marking $16 bottle of wine, Bain 6/10, Wood with Kiwi Keith and Miles with a final Ed Gein.

It would be wise to point out that at this stage the morphine’s pain-killing properties hadn’t quite taken full effect, but had distracted the PAPers sufficiently that any cries of pain and agony would wash over them like so many waves of nonchalance. Bain, however, hadn’t fully thought this through, stupidly taking risks that no true bagel aficionado would ever have seriously considered.

It was only after the eighth bottle of wine and the fifth syringe of morphine that Wood, Miles and Sobson noticed an unusual silence coming from Bain’s corner of the room. They turned to see him shrivelled up in the corner, a pathetic shadow of his former greatness, bits of bagel crumb littered down his delightful knitted cardigan. He had tried to eat a whole bagel. With everything. The lot. Salmon, Nutella, Chilli Jam, Raspberry Jam, Caviar, the lot. The sloshing of the wine slowly dripping down a bagel filter into his gullet was excruciating. Bain had given his life for the test. But he would always be remembered.

S(ch)mears: we’re serious about this

Sometimes there are serious underlying messages among the bad taste puns that appear in the fine publication you are reading. This is one such occasion.

If you’re a girl, if you’re over 20 and if you’ve ever been sexually active, you should probably go and have a cervical smear—if you haven’t gone and had one already.

Why? Well it turns out that having a cervical smear every three years is one of the best ways of preventing the development of cervical cancer.

The National Cervical Screening Programme’s website says that women who have regular smear tests every three years as part of a screening programme reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer by about 90 percent. 

Cervical cancer results from an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells of the cervix. The main cause of cervical cancer is the very common human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV comes in various forms, however, it is the genital variety (a sexually transmitted infection, surprise surprise) that can lead to abnormal cell changes and the development of cervical cancer.

Most women will have the HPV virus at some stage in their life. It has no symptoms, so the only way of detecting its presence is by having a cervical smear. Most mild cell changes on the surface of the cervix do not progress into cancer, however, if the abnormalities persist over a long period of time, the cells can evetually develop into cancer cells.

So a cervical smear is checking for abnormal changes to the cells on the surface of the cervix. Abnormalities can be treated before they develop into cancer. Huzzah!

And the moral of the story? It’s really important to go and have a regular cervical smear. Pop along to Student Health or Family Planning and make yourself an appointment. It’s not as bad as you think.


About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (1)

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  1. Alexander Waters says:

    Sensitivity fail. Tacking on a half assed disclaimer at the end doesn’t make up for this making light of a serious health issue. Totally uncool.

    I have half a mind to come and shit in the hall outside your apartments, authors of this article.

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