According to an online article published by Anthony Carboni, the Rockefeller University Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior stated their “overall goal … to understand how complex behaviors are modulated by external chemosensory cues and internal physiological states.” The study found that “In order for you to smell something, molecules from that thing have to make it to your nose.”
Can you visualize two or more atoms, which make up a molecule, bombarding your nostrils with a one-two punch? Who knew molecules could be so aggressive? The mental picture this writer conjures is of a microscopic love tap to Goliath’s nose.
The good news is we do not feel the sock in the nose, but our olfactory nerves sit up and take notice. Why? It seems that smells evoke memories and can affect your mood and sometimes how you function at work.
Let’s consider a few examples.
Our father suffered from back pain and muscle spasms. Sometimes the discomfort became so acute that even a small movement, such as turning to open a desk drawer, froze him in place for hours and at times for days.
To stave off or at least minimize those all too frequent events, Dad discovered a product called Heet. The promise printed on the box was hours of warming relief delivered by three powerful and effective pain relieving medicines. One small but critical bit of information did not appear on the container, but once you uncapped the bottle, the pungent odor knocked your nostrils into the next county. Rarely a day went by that he did not liberally apply Heet to his aching back.
One day, a fellow university professor in the philosophy department asked him, “What is that unusual cologne you wear?” This from the mangy-bearded guy who sported visible food particles in his red beard.
Dad took the question as a compliment and replied, “Old Spice.” What he neglected to add was Heet. The combination of the two scents belonged in an isolated ring of Dante’s Inferno. Of course, after years of usage, Dad’s olfactory nerves had packed up and moved out of his body, which explains why the smell did not bother him.
Who among us has not worked with ladies who did not apply the rule of moderation when dousing their bodies, sometimes several times a day, with perfumes powerful enough to turn corners. Unfortunately for our gag reflexes and our noses, several lovely ladies at work could have been the “smell-a-vision” poster girls for how not to dive into perfume bottles.
One lady smoked. Consequently, she liberally applied perfume after every smoke break. As a result, one could smell her the moment you set foot on the second floor. Not one nook or cranny escaped the pervasive and cloying scent of that woman. To cope, some people held their breath until they turned blue or left the pungent area.
Another lady fell in love with a particular scent that did not make passersby take a deep breath and bask in the aroma. Before we realized the smell was her perfume, several folks passing her desk remarked, “What is that smell?” Her area smelled like Lysol. One would assume perfume companies aim for an alluring scent rather than household cleaner.
When it comes to overdoing the smellum, women are not the only culprits.
Countless guys at work tended to bathe in a manly scent called Drakkar Noir. One such gentleman would stop at your desk, lean over to impart some significant tidbit. All the while his cologne enveloped the hapless listener, who tried to keep a smile on her face while holding her breath.
Another fellow liked to hug, and when he did, one’s nostrils became awash with the scent of watermelon. It is impossible to know what the actual aroma was but the hot days of summer seem to go hand in hand with cold watermelon, reminding us of Watermelon Man’s cologne.
Browsing the perfume and cologne counters in a department store, we sniff delightful scents. However, each person’s unique chemical makeup can result in Eau Le Chem Lab instead of Torrid Arabian Nights.