Smell doesn’t sell all that well, truth to tell

Smell doesn’t sell all  that well, truth to tell
                        

I think that maybe, of the five senses, smell gets the short end of the stick every time.

Just take music.

How many great songs are devoted to smell?

Once you get past “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, the cupboard is practically empty.

Sight, touch, taste and sound, rock ‘n’ roll is overflowing with testaments to those four.

Smell doesn’t sell all that well, truth to tell.

But when it comes to transporting a person back in time, it’s arguably the most evocative of the five.

I mean who hasn’t found himself in the family kitchen on Thanksgiving Day when the aroma of roasting turkey fills the air?

And who hasn’t been reminded of an old girlfriend when her favorite perfume wafts in unbidden on a puff of breeze?

And when it comes to suntan lotion or burning leaves, baking cookies or newly mown grass, forget it: the Wayback Machine is in full throttle.

One of the most potent triggers, for me anyway, has always been things I associate with my youth: Play-Doh, for example, or Silly Putty, and Crayola Crayons or Magic Markers, not to mention Greenie Caps or Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum.

It’s an unfair question, but I’ll ask it anyway: What is the last sense you would give up if you had to make that choice?

Smell is the Stuart Sutcliffe of senses.

Who, you ask?

Stu Sutcliffe could have been as famous as John, Paul, George or Ringo had fate not dealt him a death blow. He could have been a Beatle. Well, technically he was, but then he wasn’t, and then he died, the victim of a cerebral hemorrhage, dead at 24.

Speaking of the Fab Four, I absolutely cannot wait to see “Yesterday,” the feature film built around a novel concept that posits this hypothetical: What if only one guy in the whole world remembered the Beatles and their music?

The internet is all abuzz over the trailer, and I’ve watched it probably 50 times, just hoping the actual movie lives up to the quality of those three minutes.

As you know, I rarely venture into actual brick-and-mortar theaters anymore, unwilling to put up with the rude and obnoxious young people who fill them with their cell phones and their feet on the seat beside me and their general sense of uncivil behavior.

But for “Yesterday,” I believe I will make a rare exception.

Because what smells better than hot buttered popcorn in a theater lobby?

Not much in this world, I’ll tell you.

Not much at all.

It’s sort of like that legendary “new car smell” we’ve all experienced maybe once. Except it doesn’t cost as much.

In my life I’ve owned exactly two new cars, and I expect that when I die, that’ll be my total.

It’s not many, but it’s more than one, let alone none.

My father, who grew up in the Great Depression, was born and raised in South Bend, a small Indiana city that for a long time was home to the Studebaker car company. I have no idea if he ever bought one of those long-dead models, but something in his DNA created the need to replace his current car every three years or so.

It probably had a lot do with the fact that our next-door neighbor was a big wheel at the local Ford dealership and that he and his wife were frequent guests in our home for bridge nights.

That’s a card game I never did learn and probably won’t, though I think I could be good at it. I asked my dad to teach it to me once, and he refused.

I was in my 30s, so it couldn’t have been he thought I was too immature.

Most likely he was flashing back to the basement card games I used to host when I was in college, my friends stopping by for endless games of 500 rummy, the stereo blasting, smoke spicing the air and the beverages on ice.

My own version of “That ’70s Show” with me in the role of Kelso.

Speaking of old TV programs, I spent a few idle hours this week binge-watching episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” which remains one of the greatest series in American history. The writing is impeccable, the actors are uniformly excellent and the intelligent overtone of a reality beyond this one remains relevant.

Don’t even get me started on today’s television and its endless supply of brain-numbing reality shows, animated silliness, dull documentaries and “Game of Thrones,” which is all the rage, though I have no way to afford HBO, so I’m out of the loop.

In fact I hardly ever even turn on the TV these days, though I did set aside 90 minutes last Saturday to watch the Kentucky Derby.

When it was over and my horse — Maximum Security — had won the race, I turned to my wife and said, “You owe me lunch.”

I was anticipating the savory aromas of steamed oysters and grilled burgers at Awful Arthur’s, our favorite spot on the Outer Banks, when she said, “Um, looks like something’s happening.”

And it was.

For the first time in 145 years, the winner of the Derby had been disqualified.

This is the way my life has been going lately.

Even when I win, I lose.

But enough about me. Here’s hoping all you mothers out there enjoy your special day and that you don’t have to cook.

Leave that to the others.

Put them in charge of filling your homes with the loving scents of your favorite foods and the aroma of making more memories.

I only wish I could do something like that for my mom, so don’t waste your chance to come up smelling like roses.


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