Good Olfactory Fatigue

Anatomy and Physiology; affectionately nicknamed A & P by those students privy to its tests, labs, and text books.
A & P.
A course I took my senior year of high school.
It taught me many crucial things about the human body.
About my body.
The thing that struck me the most was the rate of my olfactory fatigue.
During a lab with one of my friends (we honestly didn’t just goof off the entire time…), we studied and tested one another on our sniffers.

Kits were produced.
Lab sheets were readied.
Pencils were poised.
Noses were one high alert.

Within the first few seconds of smelling various and sundry bottles and tubes of powdered versions of some common and uncommon items, it became clear that my nose tired easily.
Five seconds or less would pass and my nose would wimp out. The tube of odor-filled substances would cease to register in my brain. Most likely my nose senses are shot, due to cauterization as a kid to stop all my midnight-bloody-noses or that according to an ENT doctor; I have “thick skin” lining my nose. That thick skin required a CT scan and biopsy, followed by hourly swabbing Bacitracin up my nostrils for over a week (all while recovering from T & A).

Questioned on my scent-honesty, my lab partner couldn’t believe how fast I stopped smelling disgusting scents; scents that her nose sensed for over a minute. After all, it was a scientific experiment and no variables could exist…Still she claimed it was unfair.

Yes, it is unfair; unfair that I can’t smell some of the world’s most amazing smells for more than five seconds.
But for as long as my little nose allows, I breathe in the scents of the seasons, of childhood, of adulthood, of familiar-feel-good places and faces…
Old and new, the smells of my life are ones I look forward to.


– Bonfires – the kinds where S’mores are roasted and friends gather to tell stories and sing songs – a guitar is a much-appreciated added bonus
– Mom’s fresh-baked, mouth-watering apple pie
– Hockey rinks
– That just-in-from-the-outdoors-sweaty-smell that clings to you and permeates the air around you
– A brand new, just off the store book-shelf, book
– Gasoline – I live for pumping gas and filling gas cans full of thick liquid to bring life to a boat
– Sun screen
– Snow…-flakes, -men, -angels, -forts, -balls
– Chocolate chip cookies
– The Tommy Hilfiger men’s cologne scented car fresheners I hung in my car during high school – I constantly wished I could smell them longer than the time it took to open the car door and sit down
– Minnesota lakes
– Apple orchards
– The homes of two of my childhood next-door neighbors – homes that are now long-filled with different kids and families – different smells
– A baby slathered with Johnson and Johnson’s baby lotion after bath time
– Grandma’s house – a smell I wish to never fade from my memory, no matter how many years pass by
– A laundry room
– Corn on the cob
– The faintest scent of cigarette smoke filtering through the air (and everyone’s lungs) at the State Fair (I’m not condoning smoking…I’m technically allergic to cigarette smoke)
– Toothpaste
– Aveda products wrapping themselves around each strand of my hair
– Coffee beans (I don’t even drink coffee)
– Christmas…-wreaths, -trees, -lights, -gifts,-movies,-family,-Point
– Childhood – anything that takes me down a long and winding road to yesteryear’s – lemonade powder accidentally inhaled while prepping a lemonade stand, sidewalk chalk, swimming pool chlorine gulped in when forgetting to close my mouth, cough medicine, blood from a scraped knee falling off a bike, scratch and sniff stickers exchanged with friends, new tennis shoes and backpacks…and blissful days filled with youth and innocence

Whether or not you endured A & P, make sure your sniffer is always ready to smell out your next adventure. Be it five seconds or fifty, every smell is worth it.

May your day be filled with the scents of life, of things that make you happy and things that make you sad, of places you love and places you miss, of people you love and people you miss, of childhood playtimes and playmates, of the present and all the promise it holds for the future.


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