Thursday, July 13, 2017

Can't you smell that smell?




I guess I'm out of touch with current trends and basically uncouth and white trash when it comes to cologne, but I like the smell of Old Spice. I still like British Sterling and Hai Karate, Brut, and the clean scent of Brylcreem. I also like Lava soap and Mrs. Butterworth syrup, regardless of what it does or tastes like and I've tasted both, believe me.

Butch wax is still a smell like none other and if I caught a whiff of it today, I'd say, "What, that's Butch wax." It is akin to vanilla extract; there's nothing like it. Now I was at Como en Mexico the other day to get some authentic Mexican ice cream and I got a generous dip of Rum Raisin and I looked up and said, "Why this tastes like egg nog." Now whether it tastes like egg nog to anyone else, is relative, right, but that's what it tastes like to me. On second thought, what exactly is a nog anyway?

When I was in Southeast Asia, on more than one occasion I was around the odor of burning opium. It has a very peculiar smell and once you've been exposed to it, you would never mistake it for something else. The closest smell to it in my olfactory memory bank is slightly burnt peanut brittle.

Have you ever noticed how a certain smell can launch you back in time to a certain place or event? It may not have been anything to remember, except the smell took you there. The smell of fresh cement always sends me to Cleveland, Ohio when I was visiting my Aunt Jean. I was very small and riding a tricycle on the sidewalk near her house and cement workers were pouring forms. It is a very pleasant memory.

Certain ailments can give us bloodhound smell abilities and almost everything smells either way too strong or repulsive. I went through this not too long ago after doing a 32 day mega-blitz of prednisone. Coming down off that stuff took about 5 nauseating days of smelling everything magnified and very little of it was pleasant. I remember passing a couple of ladies in my favorite grocery store on North Main and their flowery perfume almost gave me nose rickets!

Have you ever noticed how some kids often complain about certain smells being too strong? We dismiss it, but what they are trying to tell us is they have magnified smelling ability and we don't recognize it. To me, it would be a curse to be able to smell 100 times what I currently can. Imagine your neighbor coming in from work and you pick up on every odor they've been exposed to for the last 12 hours.  Pee-you!

I knew a lady who was in a car wreck and after that, she lost all sense of smell. Food lost its appeal and she ate rice with the same amount of enthusiasm that she did spicy Mexican food. Another curse! If this happened to Charlie Farrar, his love of super hot chow-chow would be gone and he would lose something precious and be boring.

Hawaiian surf!  That was the name of the (cheap) cologne I bought when I was a senior in high school (yes, I bought it with money I earned working). Man, I thought I smelled like something a female couldn't resist and then the Air Force sent me to Montana and the Great Plains where there was purportedly a woman behind every tree. I never had a chance to prove it's worth. No trees and no women. Of course at 18, I was as clumsy around the fairer sex as I am now, so maybe I really needed that cologne. It's too late, they discontinued it just like the Hollywood candy bars I loved so much.

I worked a couple of years in a restaurant ran by a Greek and he told me that burnt food spells catastrophe in a restaurant. "If it ever happens, scrape the grill, throw butter and onions on it and within minutes, people's mouth will be watering."

Geeze, I don't ever want to loose any of my senses and it does look like my hearing is taking a hit, but to lose my sense of smell would be tragic. I remember being around cows as a kid and not realizing cow manure had an offensive odor to many people. It just smelled like grass and cows to me. To tell the truth, I kind of like it.

I heard that savvy real estate agents will bake cookies in the house they are showing and folks immediately want that house. Well, it sounds like a good idea to me, because I like cookies and have been known to eat a wide variety when given the chance. Throw in a cup of black coffee and I'll sign the papers.

Each of us have a signature smell or odor if you will. If you don't believe it, ask your dog. Many of us mask it with unnecessary deodorant, but it is a very subtle part of our identity and one that each of us with a partner unwittingly enjoy. That is the one smell that is the most precious to me and the one I never want to lose.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kimberly Clark Lopez: true, smells have many triggers both good and bad. Old Spice still gives me panic attacks since it is attached to very bad memories. The smell of gas and motor oil have good memories. All smells effect us differently.

Weldon Haltom: I went through a time when my nose was out of whack and everything smelled like burning tires dipped in chemicals. It was a bad time mostly because my sweet little wife couldn't use any perfume. It burned my nose terribly. I'm glad it straightened up, but she passed away before it did.

WW: Good article BB! When I "smell" tequila it immediately takes me back to......omgoodness what memories. I'm amazed I can remember..bet that's what you were thinking too. Haha

Anonymous said...

SW: After my mother died, I kept the clothing she was wearing the day she died. It smelled like her.

I still have one of my Aunt Deed's aprons. I keep it in a plastic bag. It may be my imagination, but I can still smell her kitchen on that apron.

You are absolutely correct, Bert. Smell is a wonderful gift from God!

Anonymous said...

G: That was a good piece today Bert. Good ol barnyard dirt smell reminds me of being at my grandmother's farm, along with fresh tilled quality soil. I've never liked the smell of raw crude processing, even while working around it for years. I do not like to go down the "cleaning/soap suds section at the grocery store or my mother-in-laws perfume while taking her to appointments (of course I'd never tell her). The opium smell you spoke of reminded me of once coming upon some farmers pressing hashish with an old donkey driven press, while in the service in the Middle East. I cannot describe it but know if I smelled it again I would know what it was. The raw unpressed hashish smells different than when it burning.uh oh my eyes are starting to turn red!

Anonymous said...

W: Ha ha ha ha ha!!!
I remember those smells , too. We would roll through a village and you could smell the opium and various other substances on the wind.

Anonymous said...

Evelyn Bolton: Thanks, Bert! that was an outstanding article. Real, down to eart!

What, me read? Isn't that a 4 letter word?

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