I finally broke down and paid the big bucks to see a doctor over my digestive issues. He said it’s most likely a virus, and I’m doing all the right things, but to start taking Imodium. I’d been taking Pepto, but I guess Imodium’s different in that it helps slow things down and bring everything together, if you know what I’m talking about. In the last few days that I’ve been Imodiuming it up, I’ve found that it also makes my butt minty fresh; a feeling that I do not quite enjoy. I have a love-hate relationship with mint that leans heavily on the hate side.\r\n\r\nAs a kid, I really didn’t care for traditional candy canes. I’d eat them when my friends were eating them in order to fit in, or I’d eat them in the days leading up to Christmas when they were the only candy option and I wanted a sugar fix. Come Christmas morning, Santa would leave fruity candy canes on the tree to save me from my peppermint hell. Altoids came out when I was in high school, and one day at lunch, my cousin’s friend pulled out the little red tin and told us that they were the strongest mints she’s ever had, and would we like to try one? I didn’t, but I also didn’t want to look like a loser, so I grabbed one of the chalky mints and popped it into my mouth. I immediately wanted to spit it out, but I sucked it up as it burned a hole into my tongue and tears welled in my eyes. When no one was looking, I spit it out into the bushes.\r\n\r\nI have no transition into this paragraph: I have thick, wavy hair, and as a youngster, it ran down to my butt. While it was fun to have Rapunzel-ish hair, it also grew like a weed and had to be trimmed fairly often. To save on costs, my mom would do this herself in our bathroom. It took forever, and because it was so long, I was made to stand throughout the entire process so that she could reach down to cut it. Despite trying not to, every single time, I’d lock my knees, and half-way through the haircut, would suddenly be filled with the overwhelming sensation of smelling mint (which is weird on its own, but even weirder considering that I have no sense of smell). As soon as mint entered my nostrils, my vision would become blotchy, or come to a pinpoint, and I’d meekly tell my mom that I was about to faint. I have never actually fainted all the way, but without fail, I always “smell” mint in the moments leading up to a potential passing out. I’ve never met anyone else who’s had that sensation, so I’m not sure why it happens to me. Must be my brain creating, what it thinks is, the worst possible scent in a moment of despair.\r\n\r\nHere comes the part where I love mint. I had just graduated from 8th grade and was at a farm in Savannah, Georgia. We were taking a tour of the grounds, and stopped by a row of mint plants. The leader told us to pick a leaf, dig our nails into it, and take a smell.\r\n\r\nDespite my anosmia, I went through the motions so as not to be rude. However, as I brought the small leaf up to my nose and inhaled, I actually did smell mint! I was elated, and carried that leaf with me throughout the rest of the tour, taking whiffs along the way. Within minutes, my nose remembered that it wasn’t supposed to work, and I could no longer smell that leaf no matter how hard I tried. I have no idea why I was able to smell at that exact moment, but I will forever cherish that memory and the feeling of smelling.\r\n\r\nFor that gift I was given 18 years ago, I am eternally grateful to mint. I guess I can put up with a little tingle after a poop for a few more days.\r\n\r\n
I can’t smell. Never could, never will.\r\n\r\nWhat’s funny about this condition of mine is that I didn’t realize it until middle school, and didn’t really grasp it until high school. It wasn’t until college that I fully understood that I was missing out, and only a year and a half ago was I informed that my disorder had a name: anosmia. (Thanks for your random knowledge, Greg!) It’s not like it’s a sense anyone else can immediately notice is absent, and not being born with it, I never really knew what I was missing. Turns out, this is common for anosmatic people.\r\n\r\nMy very first recollection of not smelling something was in first grade. As my classmates and I were walking back to class from recess, Angela, my best friend at the time, turned around to hand me a Tinkerbell brand lip gloss that she wanted me to smell. I inhaled deeply through my nose, and caught nothing. Angela was smiling, her eyes gazing at me expectantly.\r\n\r\n“It smells good, right?” she asked as she nodded waiting for my approval.\r\n\r\n“Mmm, yeah!” I enthusiastically answered, while thinking to myself, “She’s crazy. That stuff doesn’t have a scent at all.”\r\n\r\nThat was the first of countless times in my life that I’ve lied about smelling something. It’s not ‘cause I’m embarrassed about my condition; it’s just easier. As soon as I let someone know I can’t smell, the next 5-10 minutes are spent describing the how’s and why’s:\r\n\r\nYou can’t smell anything? (Pretty sure that’s what “I can’t smell” means.)\r\n\r\nYou’ve never smelled anything before in your life? (Nope. Maybe if you ask again, I’ll change my answer.)\r\n\r\nHere, try to smell [insert object of choice]. (Seriously? You think the one thing you hand me is going to miraculously cure years of anosmia?)\r\n\r\nIs it just allergies? (No, it’s like being blind. I just can’t smell.)\r\n\r\nSo can you taste food? (Ugh, here we go…)\r\n\r\nIn all seriousness though, if I’m going to be around that person again, I like fulfilling their curiosity. It gives me something unique to talk about, which I rarely can come up with on my own, and it makes it easier for me in the future. No more faking it all the time.\r\n\r\nDon’t feel sorry for me though. I believe that it’s more a blessing than anything. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be constantly blasted with scents all day long! I hear my friends and family gripe about nasty smells more than they chirp about good ones. And no picky eating for me! Food is all about texture and temperature. Pretty much, just don’t give me soggy cereal or a cold dinner with course lima beans, and I’ll be happy. Next time you take a bite of food, pinch your nose while you chew and swallow; that’s what I get out of it.\r\n\r\nMaybe it’s sad for you, but for someone who has never known any other way, it’s normal, and it’s shaped who I’ve become. Who else can fart in the car, lock all the windows, and truly enjoy the pain they’re causing to their fellow passengers?