Let’s say you get spritzed by those lab-coated ladies at the cosmetic counter. (Why do
they wear those coats? Surely they aren’t flinging powder around or saying, “Oops, How do I keep getting lipstick on my sleeve?”
Anyway….a year later, if you had to identify the smellum they sprayed, you’d be able to recall it, with 65% accuracy. Smells are processed by the same brain department that files away your emotions and memories.
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. Oh no she didn’t….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 math problems to do. But you spent the time figuring out how to get Billy back for spreading his gross mac & cheese regurgitation in a 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 (Helpful facts)
- Your sense of smell is weakest in the morning, growing stronger as the day wears on.
So whether in church or an office in the mornings, all that perfume, deodorant, and hairspray everyone coats themselves with is less likely to affect you. But by noon…your olfactory nerves will be popping…see the last suggestion.
- A recent study showed that people in a citrus-scented room cooperated more and
offered to make more charitable donations.
Good to know. So during your next fund-raiser, lemon-Pledge the table or walk around swinging a bag of lemons through the air and ask for donations.
- Your sense of smell becomes sharper when you’re hungry.
Which explains why even sometimes McDonald’s smells good to me. And heaven forbid the late service runs long on a pot luck Sunday. All those smells wafting from the kitchen will cause a pastor—even a Lutheran pastor—to only sing one verse of the closing hymn rather than cranking through all 114 verses—as usual.
- The more estrogen you have, the better sniffer you have
Any pregnant woman has experienced this. One time I thought the smell of the pipe organ was going to make me sick.
- If you’re in space, you’ll likely loose your sense of smell. The lack of gravity allows sinuses to back up like a clogged disposal, snuffing out your ability to smell.
See…clogged sinuses can come in handy. They can save you from over-abundant perfume sprayers, sneaky bags of lemons, or Billy and his “shared” macaroni and cheese.
Because mood and medication affect our sniffers from hour to hour, it’s believed we never experience a smell the same way twice.
This doesn’t hold true for me. Most sanctuaries and chapels smell the same. I breathe in the scent dust, extinguished candles, old hymnals, and hopeful prayers.
The tiny part of my brain that processes these clues kicks out the same message each time: Lay your troubles down. Rest. This is the scent of serenity.
What smells take you to a place or event?