February 12, 2003

I Never Ever Smelled a

I Never Ever Smelled a Smell that Smells Like That Smell Smells

A comment left by leblanc, from Intellectual Properties, prompted me to do considerable surfing into the other world of differing opinions, a necessary exercise from time to time. I won't go into great detail about my surfing, because quite frankly I can't remember all the links I clicked and all the pages I read. And, really, I can't remember what page, or what paragraph, or what sentence, or what word, sparked an odd thought in my mind: "I wonder what war smells like."

Smell is one of those weird senses that is everywhere but goes largely ignored, unless you find your nose hovering an inch over a steaming pile of dog poo. Maybe it's because smells are so ubiquitous, we just kind of file them away and focus on the more immediate senses like sight and touch. Granted, some smells are etched forever in our minds, like how my parents' house smells in the morning when they're home: fresh brewed coffee, the lingering odor of toast, that sort of thing.

But, every day odors just seem to escape us. Still, whenever I access my memory archives, I'm always struck by how I remember a certain smell from a certain time, even though, at the time, the smell was just commonplace. When I think back to my college days, I equate each place I lived with a certain smell. So, what must war smell like?

Obviously, it can't smell very good. But even beyond the stench of death, I imagine there are a host of other war-related odors that are truly disturbing. I think this is true particularly for airstrikes. For all their touted pinpoint precision and destructive capability, U.S. missiles and bombs just HAVE to be the most horrible smelling things imaginable. The stench of atomized concrete, the burning odor of unrestrained heat, the smell of escaped chemicals both from the weapon and from the target. It has to be horrendous.

I had a dream once, a strange dream even by my standards. I found myself trying to defuse a nuclear bomb, standing over it without a clue as to which wire I was supposed to snip, or even if snipping a wire was at all a good idea. Still, there it was, ticking down in front of me, so I had to do something. So I snipped a wire. I knew I did something wrong, because the bomb started making an insane buzzing noise, and suddenly everything started moving in slow motion. All I could think to do was dive to the ground and await the inevitable, all the while the buzzing grew louder in my ears. The bomb when off, and everything went white, but I distinctly remember the smell of burnt arm hair just before I woke up. It's strange that I remember that, because I can't recall smelling any smells from any of my other dreams.

The point of this post? I'm not sure there is one. Just me rambling on about smells, for whatever that's worth. What does war smell like?

Posted by Ryan at February 12, 2003 10:56 AM

Party Pocker - Poker

Posted by: Party Pocker at October 19, 2004 04:23 AM
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