The Marvel of Your Nose

Let’s say you get spritzed by those lab-coated ladies at the cosmetic counter. (Why do they

Let me sell you a scent that’ll open up your sinuses.

wear those coats?  Are they doctors, working on skin genetics?)

Anyway….given smelly choices a year later, you’ll be able to recall, with 65% accuracy, the hooker-scent those lab gals sprayed on you. Smells are processed by the same brain department that files away your emotions and memories.

Look!! Billy inspired this art by Klaus Weber in the Royal Festival Hall
(taken by Ninasaurusrex)

This explains why you can walk into a school and be transported to the day Billy puked at his desk which was right behind yours.  And even after the janitor threw that red-sawdust looking stuff on top, you still dry-gagged the rest of the afternoon.  But Mrs. Lockhest, the teacher wouldn’t let you go to the nurse’s room, instead she scolded you, attempting to make you feel sorry for Billy, and then she sat you in a corner, giving you and your fragile stomach extra percentage/math  problems to do.  But you spent the time figuring out how to get Billy back for spreading his gross mac & cheese regurgitation in an 180° arc. Good grief, couldn’t he have been a tidy vomiter and kept it under his desk? No siree. You’d get Billy—as soon as he got out of the nurse’s room where he was lounging on a cot and skipping math.

Like I said….smells evoke a lot of memories.

Know Your Nose

  • Your sense of smell is weakest in the morning, growing stronger as the day wears on.

Preserving us from morning stench-mouth, and ensuring we can’t wait to leave work and the troubling, efficient smell of toner and dead dreams the company has killed that day.

  • A recent study showed that people in a citrus-scented room cooperated more and offered to make more charitable donations.

Stick your nose close to the screen. Sniff. Then donate to your favorite charity.
(Photo by Moyan Brenn)

Be on the watch for lemon plants replacing the philodendrons at the office.  Someone is about to ask you to do more work, or LuLu is going to be selling her kid’s band candy again.

  • Your sense of smell becomes sharper when you’re hungry.

    Of course, being health conscious, I only use Spam-Lite

Well…duh…that’s why my family thinks I’m a great cook.  I don’t feed them their Spamloaf until 9 pm.

  • The more estrogen you have, the better sniffer you have…which explains why pregnant women puke like Billy around my Spamloaf.
  • If you’re in space, you’ll likely lose your sense of smell.  The lack of gravity allows your sinuses to back up like a clogged disposal.

I already told you how to clear your sinuses…in Jet-Propelled Airspace for Your Face….get a new skull.

Because mood, medication, and air pressure affect our sniffers from hour to hour, it’s believed we never experience a smell the same way twice.

My marvelous nose knows better. Some things never change. That sickly-sweet gag-up goo always smells the same. When I catch the scent of it, I think of Billy, then I think of math.  I’m sure that’s the reason I’m not fast at figuring out the percentage of waiters’ tips.  (At least that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.)

What smells take you to a place or event in your past..or you’d like to blame on Billy?

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About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
This entry was posted in Change, Humor, Life and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to The Marvel of Your Nose

  1. winsomebella says:

    Oh my, you make me laugh. My most scent-ual memory involves a man I dated shortly after my divorce. He was allergic, he said, to all scents, and claimed to flee or fight if he smelled Tide on someone’s fresh-laundered clothes. It did give me pause.

    Like

  2. Hmmm, now you just gave me an idea. Citrus smell and giving, sounds perfect with the coming holidays. I need to buy some citrus scent then and place it in my work place. Ha, ha, ha. Thanks for sharing these.

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  3. My dear, your mind works in mysterious ways! Margie

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  4. recieOrice says:

    You’ve made some interesting points. The smell of incense always transports me back to the convent chapel, where the smoke was as thick as fog, and the prayers went on forever.

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  5. pegoleg says:

    I should have been a wine taster, perfume sniffer or truffle hunting pig – my snout is just that sensitive. It makes life more delightful, except when it’s making it more stinky. Too bad there are two sides to the uber-powerful schnoz.

    Your school memory is making me sniff-remember and gag in sympathy. Erp.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Sorry about your schnozz. I’m in a weekly meeting with a woman who almost faints at the smell of any scent. (Hand lotion, hair spray, pencil shavings.) We all try not to wear any scents except deodorant, but still, she usually has to leave the meeting early because….hey…wait a minute….maybe I’ll try that.

      Like

  6. JSD says:

    What a hilarious post! You have the ability to make mundane subjects very interesting..and funny! My favorite smell is the fresh batch of chocolate-oatmeal cookies that I like to make in preparation for the holidays. Yummmmm!

    Like

  7. El Guapo says:

    When my blood sugar goes very high, I smell a scent I can only describe as sour chocolate chips.
    Despite having been assured by chocolatiers that there is no such thing…

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    • Barb says:

      Okay., Grapsterola,..you’ve got me. Why is that moldy chocolate chip smell related to blood sugar? Is it kind of like the pretzel shops in the mall? Gagamundo!!! I don’t know what they’re baking, but it smells like sugar and dish detergent to me.

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  8. Wow. Great facts, Barb. The first thing I thought was: ‘Quick, send citrus plants to congress. Never mind the cash donations to your party. Gift them with cooperation.”

    On a more serious note, my father has been dead for 39 years. Yet, even though I was only 11 when he died, I recall the scent of ‘English Leather’ that he wore. Powerful stuff here.

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    • Barb says:

      I loved English Leather. I had to google it to see if it was still for sale. Yep. And Chantilly cologne is still on the market , too. So knowing this…it makes me think I should be more diligent about using a scent around kiddos. I think the only smell my son would associate with me is….yep..mom burnt the pizza again. (Hey, the timer on the oven is broken, and I don’t remember much past 10 minutes.)

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  9. Great post. I knew the olfactory was the most closely tied to memory, but…um…didn’t remember why. 🙂

    Like

  10. Cigars. I am a child at my grandparents’ house in the Catskills. I loved them like crazy. We took walks and I helped my grandmother pinch Japanese beetles in her garden. When my grandfather came in a room, he had a fat stogie. The shit killed him, but I love the smell. Crazy.

    Awesome piece. Also now I understand why my husband throws money at me while I wash the dishes: I knew lemon-scented Dawn was the my scent.. 😉

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  11. jannatwrites says:

    Burning wood brings me back to camping as a child. Jergen’s original almond scent lotion reminds me of my grandma (I miss her and I’m tempted to go buy that lotion :)) Dinner rolls in the oven mean Thanksgiving- no matter what time of year I bake them. On the down side, the smell of a nursing home makes my stomach turn. I’ve been in several and they all smell the same. Finally, burned toast and scorched popcorn make me think of work every time. I’m still not sure how adults can mess up toast and popcorn when my ten-year-old son can cook them just fine.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      That’s probably because your 10-yr-old can read directions and has to clean up the mess if he makes it. Not so at work: Let the popcorn torches begin!!!!

      Like

  12. Yes I do remember that smell. And Loved the picture you picked to go with it. Made me take a double take then giggle out loud…at work. So much for keeping my internet usage a secret. And look at your tax and double it. Takes all the guess work out of tipping.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      I love your math tip, but I live in a state with no sales tax. I know. Can you believe it? So I have to pull off my shoes and count when it comes to calculating the tip.

      Like

      • life is a bowl of kibble says:

        no problem round total to the nearest dollar. Take the last digit off then double. My son also lives in a no sales tax state. I tell him good service use the above for bad service one penny. He has never had a problem since. 😉

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  13. colonialist says:

    If my life depended on my sense of smell, I would be long gone. Puke and doggy poo on shoes do get to me, though.
    I do love your asides!

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Get you through what? Through the checkout at the grocery faster? Guarantee that no one sits in front of behind you at the movies? Clears a path for Black Friday sales? Hey…this is starting to sound like a good idea.

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  14. Red says:

    I have absolutely no gag reflex (not the boon you might imagine), so none to fit your Billy scenario.

    On the flip side, my good smells are sweet feed (Horses need this to be the sleek kind I adore riding.), diesel, Confederate jasmine, sheets from the clothes line (TX, FL or LA, but not SC or NY), Kevlar and gunpowder (but not at the same time).

    *grins* Great post, Barb.
    Red.
    xxx

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Diesel??? Diesel??? Okay, not that has a story behind it.
      And are you telling me sheets dried in TX, FL or LA smell different than the rest of the U.S.? Anyone? Anyone want to dispute or confirm this statement?
      (Of course, Red, I’ll be bugging you to find out what the difference is.)

      Like

      • Red says:

        If you have read my About Momma, you know I have a long familial history with diesel. ❤

        Absolutely! Air smells different everywhere you go. When I lived in KY, I smoked almost twice as much because the pollution rate was so low.

        The native flora change the smell of the ambient air. Even different portions of the same state will smell different, and at different times of the year. 😉

        *grins*
        Red.
        xxx

        Like

  15. souldipper says:

    I’m still shaking with laughter over Socrate’s fart. What a great line…now I know what to say the next time I’m accused (caught)!

    My absolute, all-time fav. smell is the tiny new fresh leaves on the cottonwood (poplar) trees in spring. I’ve been known to pick a couple of sprigs and stick them in my nose for a couple of hours! My best friend shares this passion so we are on the hunt each spring. We even keep secret the location of some of these trees. They’re OURS!

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Attention all bloggers. Here’s a marketing opportunity. Next spring, pick a bagful of baby cottonwoods. Souldipper (who has her own private stash) could probably be enticed to buy cottonwood scent from all parts of the country. Or…she might trade your tree smell for the great scent of lamb hair pulled off the fence.

      Like

  16. I’m laughing to hard to comment…whatever I’m smelling now, will make me laugh later…

    Like

  17. digipicsphotography says:

    I’m not one for perfumes. They aggravate my asthma. But clean, cold fresh air reminds me of when I was a kid living in Newfoundland. I love it.

    Like

  18. rose l says:

    I KNOW I posted this blog…but it is gone. Or did I predict this post and answer before it happened???

    Like

  19. There are lots of smells. Sadly the ones that linger/trigger are mostly bad. Cat food. Cat digestive processes in the completed stage.
    Milk is a biggie. We were given small bottles of milk each day at school. They were delivered before school started and sat in the sun until eleven thirty when they were served up. Consumption of same was compulsory. And once one of us started to throw up more followed. To this day (several decades later) I cannot face unadulterated milk).

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Good grief! E.C. What kind of school did you attend? This sounds like. Marine Boot Camp. I bet you don’t add milk to your coffee or tea either. Isn’t it weird. the attitude adults had toward kids’ nutrtion back then. On the plus side, I’m guessing you have an iron immune system.

      Like

      • Back in the day all Government schools had this little treat. It was to make us healthy you understand. And the health benefits they were advocating were from increased calcium intake rather than a boosted immune system. Milk in tea is fine. On its own it is not a happening thing. And two of my brothers cannot cope with it in tea or coffee either.

        Like

  20. dan says:

    I have been having olfactory hallucinations lately. Say the work brownie and I can actually smell it. Unfortunately it works with cat pee too.

    Like

  21. Margie says:

    Even though my husband is a car guy, his garage doesn’t have that wonderful garage smell my grandpas garage had. I don’t know what created that smell, but I liked it.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Oh…I know that smell. It’s dirt and old oil. There’s a general store I always visit in the backwoods of Oregon. The last time they did inventory was 1920, I think. They coat their wood floors with oil every year. Keeps away the termites. (It would keep away customers, too, but it’s the only store for miles.)

      Like

  22. funnysister says:

    I was just writing a post in my head on this very topic last week, when I met a 30-something aged young woman wearing Estee Lauder Youth Dew. I knew I had to keep my mouth shut – there was no way to make “Oh my gosh, you smell like my Grandmother” sound like a compliment – which is how I would have meant it. It smelled heavenly!

    Like

  23. Hilarious and fascinating!

    I bet that everyone has a Mrs. Lockrest story. One time in 2nd grade our entire class was being punished for some imagined infraction of some rule. Everyone had to put their head down and not move or talk. Some girl yakked and no one knew what to do. She just sat there for what seemed like forever. Fortunately someone who couldn’t take it ran up to the teacher and we were allowed to evacuate the classroom before a chain reaction started.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Aaaah. Those were the years when fidgeting at a desk was punishable with an an hour in a corner and NO ONE got up to sharpen a pencil or report sick-up. Now days kids wander the classroom like nomads. And yet…the ol’ domino reaction of yakking up still abides. Some things never change.

      Like

  24. That citrus tip’s a good one, Barb….I’m a school teacher and so school smells are very evocative, like you. But I was wearing a certain kind of Chloe perfume the day I went for my headship interviews. It transports me back to the dingy little staff room with sweaty palms even now.

    Like

  25. moma escriva says:

    Fall and any aroma that surrounds it takes me right back to the schoolroom. For me, fall is a new beginning not the backside to an ending of another year.

    Like

  26. Another advantage of growing older, your sniffer doesn’t work nearly as well. Which is a good thing in many ways when around other older people or even yourself after a meal. But it is so true about smells bringing back memories. Sounds do too.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      If a fart drops in the woods and you can’t smell it or hear it…does it really exist?

      Like

      • Spectra says:

        I’m guessing that’s a bear fart. Then the larger philosophical question persists; does the bear exist if we don’t see or smell it? More pressing is the question: is there such a thing as a disembodied fart, one that, say, Socrates emitted in 250 BC? And it’s been just floating solemnly around the world ever since? (this is who you can blame your SBD’s on hereafter…)

        Like

  27. Roxie Matthews says:

    Sharpen a yellow number two pencil and sniff the shavings. Right back in 2nd grade with the whole world to discover and all of it wonderful. Vegetable soup makes me think of Mom. Turpentine takes me back to the time Dad let me go into the dry kiln at the mill. The resin hit was intense!

    Like

  28. Not sure, but I think I may be part bloodhound. I can often smell things other people can’t. (Or say they can’t… hmm, maybe they’re simply more polite than i?) There’s some expensive make-up, and I have no idea what it is, (What? You think I’d wear expensive stuff?) but as soon as I smell it, I’m a little girl again, curled up next to my grandmother. Then again, the faint scent of mothballs takes me back there, too.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Mothballs. Do you know I tried to buy some the other day? I keep them in the garage to keep the mice out. I had a hard time finding them. Now there’s fak-o mothballs. Not as strong-smelling as in our Grannys’ days. I don’t think she’d be pleased with this progress.

      Like

  29. Elyse says:

    Nice Post, Barb. Sawdust sends me back to my childhood. My Dad always had some project or other going on in our old house. Smelling sawdust makes me feel warm, happy and secure. And like I should be helping.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      If they can bottle that leather scent, they should can up eau du sawdust. I’m right there with you Elyse. I know the world is spinning on the right track when I smell a workshop with sawdust.

      Like

      • pegoleg says:

        But not the pencil-shaving sawdust the school janitor used for Billy’s barf-o-rama. That smell is ALMOST worse than what it’s designed to mask.

        Like

        • Barb says:

          Peg-O, I think it’s going to require therapy to get you into a carpenter’s shop. When you think of Billy’s Barf, simply think of mac and cheese instead of sawdust. There. Doesn’t that help?

          Like

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