Nothing Smells Fishy To Me

Ah.  The lilacs are in bloom.

So today, I thought I’d try again.

I grabbed a bunch, brought them to my nose, inhaled deeply, and smelled…


Well, what did I expect?   It’s not as if anything has changed.

I should have known:  the odor of lilacs means nothing to me.   As do all flowers.

You see, I don’t’ have a sense of smell.

I never did. I was born this way.

It was checked out by the doctors.  There’s a mild glitch in my brain.  It has something to do with the olfactory center, near the pituitary gland.   Things are a bit out of whack.

Not that there are any major health problems or anything.   I just can’t smell.

So all the odors people talk about, mean nothing to me.

Flowers.  Freshly-cut hay.  Wood smoke.   Freshly-baked bread.  Bacon frying.   BBQ.   Perfume.    Anything to do with food…


They say taste is related to smell.    So yes…I do taste food.  But my sense of taste is probably a lot weaker than everyone else’s.    I enjoy mainly strong flavors.  Especially fatty, salty tastes (hence my love of bacon).  Or strong tomato-ey tastes (pizza, lasagna, etc).

But subtle flavors…forget it.   Herbs and spices like oregano or basil?    Don’t ask me.    Garlic?  Yes…I can taste garlic,  if the food is almost drowning in it.   I find it’s kind of salty with a bit of a tang.

People say spices enhance the taste of food.  It’s the opposite for me.  Spices just kill the taste of food.  I might as well be eating cardboard.

Not having a sense of smell makes for interesting stories, though.

Like the time a girlfriend was offended because I never complimented her on the perfume she wore (How the hell was I supposed to know?)

Or siting at my desk in grad school, and continuing to work while there was a hydrogen sulfide leak in the lab next door. (Someone had to come in and tell me to get the hell out).

Constantly showering and changing clothes, because I never know if I have body odor unless someone tells me.   (But if my armpits ever sting…if it gets to that point, I know it must be pretty bad).

Throwing out food that’s probably still good, because I cant’ trust if it’s gone bad or not.

Once, I forgot my soaking- wet sweaty hockey clothes in a duffle bag for a week.   When I found them,  I figured “This has gotta reek!   Let’s see what happens.”   So I put my nose to the bag…inhaled deeply, and I got…


(For crying out loud).

Though, to be fair, there are a few things I can smell.

Like really strong peppermint…when it’s so concentrated, you can almost taste it on your tongue.   I can smell that.   And also Vicks Vapor Rub.

Oh yeah.   And the time I went into a sweltering Porta-Potty during the summer, I smelled ammonia.   It wasn’t unpleasant…in fact, I was actually delighted… because it was such a novelty to be able to smell anything, even if it was the chemical breakdown of urine.

But there are advantages of not being able to smell.   Because I don’t have to worry about the BAD odors people complain about.

Like body odor.   Farts.   Vomit.    Shit.  Raw sewage.   Pulp mills.   Pollution.   Road kill.   Dead things.   Rotten food. Skunks.  Bad cologne or bad perfume.  Tobacco.

Huh.  Doesn’t bother me in the least.

So am I missing out by not being able to smell?

Oh, probably.  I suspect the good smells more than make up for the bad.

But does it bother me, having four senses instead of five?

I dunno…not really.

I can’t miss what I never had.

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3 Comments on “Nothing Smells Fishy To Me”

  1. Mike Goad Says:

    My sense of smell isn’t what it used to be, so I can sorta relate.

    I’ve had some really weird periods though, when some normal odors smelled BAD. It never affected how foods tasted, though.

    I ran into a former boss back in about 2006 and he looked like he was wasting away. He had lost his sense of smell and taste and, as a result, eating was a necessary chore rather than a fattening pleasure. 😦 🙂

  2. Dot Says:

    Sad that Vicks Vapor Rub has to be one of the things you CAN smell, and not lilacs. The good smells are much more varied and interesting than the bad smells. Not to make you feel bad, just to state a fact.

  3. Friar Says:

    There are times I’m not too excited about the taste of the food I eat. But fortunately (or unfortunately), unlike your old boss, I like eating too much to be able to lose weight.

    It’s more like a mild annoyance to me. Like I said, I don’t know what I.m missing (Except when people ask me “Oooh…can you smell THAT?” )

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