Sage Advice 105: Smelly Smells

Though I certainly adore each of my media to the physical world, my sense of smell is one with which I have a complimented relationship. I like whiff things that I know for fact are foul to smell. I can’t help it; I like smelly smells. And I really do enjoy these smells. I pursue them, searching the perfect places to find these smelly smells all around my world.

I stick my head in between couch cushions often. Breathe deep. Smile. I love that smell. Its source is from a combination of dirt, dead skin cells, dog and person sweat, and lost coins (so copper, I guess). Each smell on its own has no character or would sting the nostrils. All together, however, and you get smelling-magic. I like to think it’s the smell of dying air. Not dead air. Air that is on its way out the door. Air that is about to kick the bucket. Air that is writing its last will and testimony. Dying air.

If you’ve never had the privilege of having a dog that birthed a litter of puppies, then you’ve probably missed out on what I consider one of the greatest smelly smells in the known universe: puppy breath. Puppies yawn a lot due to the huge amount of energy they exert while being cute enough to make the coldest of hearts melt into a childlike manner of being. When they yawn, they shoot out tiny particles of that cute that fill your nostrils with the most adorably addictive aroma. I don’t know what makes up a puppies’ breath as all they put in their mouth is dog milk and air, but something amazing happens when those little buckets of cute open their mouths.

Maybe this has more to do with temperature and touch than smell, but the inside of any kind of freezer is absolutely amazing. Walking freezers are nice, but there’s something about sticking your head in your home-freezer and taking a giant whiff that is blissful. It reminds me of popsicles. Old popsicles. Maybe dead popsicles. Freezers smell like dead popsicles, yet it also smells like fresh air—a spring breeze. Freezers smell like dead popsicles being carried by a spring breeze through a grassy meadow.

The weirdest smelly smell I like is me. Not fresh out of the shower, all spiffed up for the day me. Smelly me. Sweat and dirt covered me. I know for a fact that this version of me in absolutely unbearable to the nose. I know because people other than me who have witnessed it let me know how unbearable it can be. There’s something about it though. It’s not delightful per se. It’s not pleasant either, but I like it. It’s comforting in a disgusting kind of way.

I’m always looking for new smells to smell. Even terrible ones. Each smell is a new experience—a new smelly story to tell. I’ll keep sticking my head in places it shouldn’t be and breathing deep, sucking in all the molecules that combine to create that particular stench, looking for a new fragrant to wrap around my nose.

-Matthew Fugere

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