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Christmas stink

Posted December 18th, 2012 at 12:37 PM by Sylvano the Wasabus
Itís beginning to smell a lot like Christmas.

They say that smell is one of the strongest senses. It is certainly underused, or underdeveloped or just plain ol neglected in humans. We donít really trust our nose that much anymore. Too many centuries of living in close quarters with others of our species perhaps has dulled our appreciation of all things olfactory. Surely anyone who has lived with a group in confined quarters has learned to turn off the nostrils due to the everyday odours of feet, sweat, farts and bad cooking.

Years ago I read about an experiment where a piece of rancid meat, about the size of a hot dog, was buried under a foot of earth. And then the scientists- who were no doubt on a government grant- sat around and waited to see what happened. They were probably unhappy that it unfolded so quickly. Within twenty minutes the first vulture appeared and then more and they quickly zeroed in on the spot where the meat was buried, dug it up and ate it. Thatís a pretty good sense of smell.

As a child I was fascinated by everything, including smell. My father had a very distinct smell, but I never could figure out my motherís. I eventually decided that it was because I had always known hers and therefore could not distinguish it- as if one had been born and lived underwater and was asked to describe the texture of water- difficult when it is all youíve ever known.

We lived in a small town and there always seemed to be skunks and their smells about too, and they became a pivotal part of my development. My mother would always exclaim how awful the skunk smell was as soon as she smelled it and soon we children were doing the same. One day it hit me that I had never actually decided for myself, never made a judgement about the smell. I started to question everything then, but it all started with skunk stink. (by the way I decided I liked it, except really up close. If I were a shaman the skunk would have been my familiar. I have had more up close encounters with the striped ones that I can count, and they have never sprayed me once.)

Smell supposedly is more tied into our emotions as well for some reason. One of my grandmothers died when I was rather young. I have almost no memory of her. But then one day I encountered pizza with green papers and maple cookies and the smell of both of them brought me back to her house and I was filled with feeling. I canít remember specific instances but I have such an emotional sense of her home and the time I spent there before she passed away now, thanks to pizza with green peppers and maple cookies.

Iím writing this today because I just came back from the bathroom. Iím at work and the bathroom for some reason smelled just like the head (bathroom) on one of the navy bases where I was stationed thirty years ago. Thatís not a smell I would have intentionally remembered to be sure, but yet one whiff and I was back there again.

Smell seems to be rooted deeply within us. If I consider our ancestors- hunter- gathers or earlier- surely the young learned what smells meant safe to eat and which ones heralded danger and their lives depended on it. Even after thousands of years, the connection of emotion and smell are strong.

One smell which I have missed for a quite a while is the smell of a brand new booster pack of Scape figures. Do you remember that smell, when you opened it?

Christmas has its smells too. At my house weíve stopped celebrating the holidays by killing trees so that particular lovely evergreen smell is absent. As a kid my dad and I would get a tree and then hang it from the rafters in the garage for a week so the branches would come down.

I think it never quite seems like Christmas to me now because it never smells like the Christmas of my childhood. When I go to my motherís house though, even though sheís moved several times, it smells like Christmas. I donít know if itís the smell of those same ancient decorations or the things she bakes or a combination of them plus her- but thatís what smells like Christmas to me. At my house Christmas is the smell of squealing happy kids in pyjamas- Iím sure thatís a real smell. Itís very different than the kids in pyjamas getting up for school smell.

I hope your Holidays are full of wonderful smells and happy feelings to go with them. Happy Holidays!
Total Comments 4

Comments

Old
Arch-vile's Avatar
Smells like a good read.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas Sylvano!
Posted December 18th, 2012 at 04:02 PM by Arch-vile Arch-vile is offline
Old
ZBeeblebrox's Avatar
Happy Holidays Sylvano to you and yours!
Posted December 18th, 2012 at 08:46 PM by ZBeeblebrox ZBeeblebrox is offline
Old
My parents always smelled like Christmas to me. Hopefully I smell the same way to my kids.

May it always be the best of times for you and yours.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hogmony (New Year).
Posted December 20th, 2012 at 08:25 AM by AMIS AMIS is offline
Updated December 20th, 2012 at 08:26 AM by AMIS (First footing can be fun...but it makes for quite streets in Scotland.)
Old
chas's Avatar
And to you!
Posted December 22nd, 2012 at 09:20 PM by chas chas is offline
 
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