The sense of smell is like a mental time machine, and one that triggers memories with seemingly little effort. It’s also the sense that doesn’t seem to last long in that things will lose their scent over time. Air fresheners, new car smell, and perfumes all fade over time as the scent particles drift off into the air. Although I cannot close my eyes and make myself smell what a new Return of the Jedi toy from 1983 smells like, I still remember the vaguely Play-Doh scent that some of their rubberized accessories had, and if I was somehow able to smell one today, I would no doubt remember the first time my nose sensed it.
By Laura L.
I think it was Lynyrd Skynyrd who once sang about “that smell.” This smell, that smell, that other smell. There are good smells, like the smell of clothes after being dried using fabric softener. There are bad smells, like any gas station bathroom in the middle of nowhere. And then there is the smell that comes from my grandfather’s copy of Twenty-Four Hours A Day.
By Ann Clarke
I have compiled a top five list of the worst smells I have ever observed in my lifetime. Granted, this is a short list, and I’ve inhaled some really pungent stench over the years, but these are the ones that I will NEVER forget (no matter how much I’d like to!). These are ranked from bad, to the absolute worst!
By Less Lee Moore
Music can evoke memories so intense that it can be painful to listen; the feelings linger long after the needle leaves the turntable. But scents are more primal, often both more and less specific. So what do memories smell like?
While filling out my answers to one of the Facebook memes (I know, I know), I was forced to admit the ultimate truth about myself: I am a weirdo. Maybe I could just say that I’m very picky, but when my fiancé Chris is yelling at me for rinsing a dish that’s already clean, is that “very picky bordering on levels of weirdness?”
By Noreen Sobczyk
Certain sensory things trigger memories instantly. At one time or another each of us has probably heard a song play and been immediately transported through time to some place or person from their past without any conscious effort. Well, scents can do the same thing. Maybe it’s that pot roast and gravy that smells just like the one your Grandma made that gets you feeling all warm and nostalgic? Or mulled cider that reminds you of Halloween? Or maybe it’s something that smells like the Love’s Baby Soft worn by the bitchy popular girl who tortured you at the sleep over? Or the smell of a boys junior high locker room’s socks n’jocks and you think about being laughed at for not being able to climb the rope in gym class? Everyone must have some smell that is unique to themselves and their own past memories, but we must share some in our collective memory banks. Take a look at the list below and see if anything rings a bell.
By James Thurston Davis
I had an extended affair with a member of the Lower Class Brats.
I used to hang out with a bunch of other punk acts. I liked ’em smelly and skinny back then.
—Jaime M., Yelp, San Francisco
By Emily Carney
“I send thee this sweet perfume a fragrance to the fragrant, as one would offer wine to the god of wine.”