As Helen Keller (apparently, and somehow) once said: “Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”

How profound. One problem: I can’t smell.

I’m not even sure when I lost the ability; there’s a chance I never had it. I feel like I had it back in my early years but I can’t be sure. My best guess is, given the many knocks to my nose throughout my years of playing hockey, I lost my smelling ability somewhere along the way.

Vision, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting. That’s the Fab Five for us humans. If you’re missing any of those, you’re a lesser human. Plain and simple. Here’s the thing, though. We feel bad for the blind and the deaf, but we’re all thinking the same thing- thank God that’s not me. I had a legitimate fear of going blind when I was younger. It all stemmed from a Little House on the Prairie episode. Mary starts to lose her vision. Talk about messing with a young lad. Helen Keller was simply born blind. This show was having this poor girl lose her vision part way through her life! I literally had no idea that was possible until I saw that episode. On a side note, Little House on the Prairie and The Walton’s were two all-time brutal TV shows as a kid.  

Anyway, back to not being able to smell. When someone is blind or deaf, everyone feels bad. What about me, though? I haven’t been able to smell in years, maybe forever.  Do I get any condolences? Absolutely not! “You seriously can’t smell? Can you taste? I feel like smelling is a huge part of tasting.” That is the same damn line I’ve heard every time I’ve revealed my humiliating secret.

I can’t put an exact date on when I lost my smelling ability, but I know I became aware of my inability to smell once I met my girlfriend. Here’s the thing about girls- they love smelling. “Smell this candle, smell these flowers, what’s that smell, smell, smell, smell” And guess what- I couldn’t play her little game. I think at first I pretended, but then, one day she turned on me: “Your equipment stinks, do you have to leave it in the living room?” Uh oh, what could I do? I had to admit to my lack of smell to make her think that I wasn’t dense enough to leave my raunchy gear right in the middle of the primary spot for human interaction!  At the same time, I still didn’t really know I had no sense of smell at this point. I knew I wasn’t an elite smeller, for sure, and I was aware that I couldn’t smell the disgusting stench of my own gear, but I thought that was the equivalent of liking the smell of your own farts.  

Eventually, I came to realize I really just had no sense of smell. Remember the scene from Sixth Sense when Bruce Willis realizes he’s dead? My realization of not being able to smell was nothing like this. I just thought there was a connection to be made there. With no sense of smell, I am undoubtedly a lesser man. And yes, damnit, it does impact my ability to taste. So there you have it, I am down to 3 good senses. If I’m being honest, my hearing isn’t even that good. I’m always saying “what?” and then nodding my head and giving an awkward little laugh when they repeat themselves even though I’m still not really sure what they’ve said.  Also, my eyesight is just okay. I thought it was great until tried on my sister’s glasses and realized I could see much better. So I’m left with touch. Whoop-dee-doo. Who the hell doesn’t have touch? What does that even mean? Even if you have no hands, you can just use your nubs to touch. My best sense is the one that everyone has. I’m a bum!

Deviated septum. As I was writing that, I expected a red line to appear under it. Nope, gaught it write. Eye’m an EH plus speler. Instead it was a green line because it’s a fragment that I should consider revising but I won’t because I thought starting a new paragraph with just two words and a period would cause some intrigue to make the reader want to continue. Anyway, a deviated septum is apparently what I have. Apparently it’s fixable. So why not just go get it fixed, be able to smell, and work my way back up on the sense scale? Well, there are a few reasons. Number one, I’m the type of guy who has a hard time doing things. Not things that need to be done, I’ll do those. I’m talking about those life tasks that, when you’re old enough, you have to set up on your own. The dentist, doctor’s visits, meeting up with old friends, haircuts, buying new shoes. It is so much easier to talk about doing those things then actually doing them. So that’s where I am at with that. On top of that, fixing my nose would take away one of the most interesting things about me. That’s right. You’ve just read 1000 words about my sob no-smell story and now I’m telling you it’s actually a positive in my life? Cue Bruce Willis realizing he’s actually dead! Boom, there’s your Sixth Sense Connection, what a plot twist!

Not smelling is my go-to amazing fact about me. Every awkward person needs to have at least a few things like this in their back pocket. “Check it out, I can juggle.” “I have 5 siblings!” “I don’t really like chocolate”. Those are my go-to’s. Not being able to smell is my crown jewel, though. You get the normal reaction at first, “Really? Does it impact how you taste?” Then, I start telling them all about the ins and outs of my disease. For those 5 minutes, I. Am. Amazing. Look at me, not being awkward, actually holding a decently long conversation. Wow. Spectacular.

So, what would it take for me to get the surgery? I’ve thought about this for a while. First, someone would probably have to book it for me as it’s just so much easier not to bother with it. More importantly, though, I’d need a story to replace my not being able to smell story to help in awkward situations. That made me think of those heartfelt, tear inducing videos of people being able to see in colour for the first time with those “see in colour” glasses. I know if I made a video of me sniffing around after surgery, it would induce no tears and would just play into the notion that I’m awkward as heck. What I would need, is for Smell-O-Vision to become a reality. Remember in Willy Wonka, when they introduce Smell-O-Vision? The viewers were able to smell whatever is on the TV. How unreal would my video be if the smell of freshly cut grass came through your screen as I walked out to my front lawn? And next, the smell of freshly baked cookies as I sniffed my way into my mom’s kitchen. Followed by the smell of old books as I walk into my local library. How could this video not be a hit?  And if you’re wondering how I picked my good smells for this imaginary video, I literally looked up “best smells” on Google. Here’s the link- https://www.ranker.com/list/best-smells/jacob-shelton.

So there you have it. Once Smell-O-Vision is invented, I will go for my surgery. Get on that Mr. Wonka!

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