Of all the human senses - sight, hearing, taste, touch and the fear that the boogie man is hiding under your bed - the most underrated is the sense of smell.
How, scientifically speaking, does the sense of smell work?
To answer that question in scientific lingo, right off the top of my head I would say this: All living things – humans, plants, animals, scratch-and-sniff magazine ads and fudge brownies – give off tiny little “lighter than air smelly particles.”
Let’s say you enter the kitchen where someone has just taken some chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. As you approach the cookies, your nose snorks up the smell particles and passes them along to your brain. Your brain, an amazing computer that functioned through the Y2K scare, then analyzes them via a subtle electrochemical process involving billions of neural circuits and performs a lightening fast sophisticated calculation to produce the following thought: Yum.
Your brain then sends a signal to your hand, telling it to put the cookie into your mouth. Almost instantaneously your hand responds and tells your brain that you ate the cookie several minutes earlier. Your mouth and your hand had agreed a long time ago that as far as anything that concerns chocolate, your brain doesn’t need to be involved.
Thus we see that our sense of smell isn’t always as important as it seemed to be back at the start of this article.
Still the question remains: Why do we have a sense of smell in the first place?
I personally think the reason is so that men and women will have yet another thing to disagree on. Most women are very sensitive to odors, whereas men, largely as a result of smelling their own selves over the eons, have reached the point where they tend not to detect any aroma below the level of a municipal dump.
That certainly is the way in most households. At least once every several days women will have a conversation with their husbands that starts like this: “What’s that smell?” The man will always respond with, “What smell?” The woman will look at the man as though he is crazy and say, “You can’t SMELL THAT?”
The sad truth is most men probably wouldn’t be able to smell burning truck tires in the living room, but women can detect a lone rotten grape in the house at the end of the block.
When women take something out of the refrigerator, if it smells the slightest bit suspicious they immediately discards it.
Men, on the other hand, will eat cold cuts produced during the Taft administration without a second thought.
There are many more interesting facts I could tell you about the fascinating topic of the sense of smell, but that will have to wait. I sense some fudge brownie particles in the air.