I have the Palmer nose from my mother’s side of the family. Not so much the shape and size, although there are a few that share the same dimensions, but its uncanny ability to smell absolutely everything. Possibly I was supposed to be born a dog.
Of all the five senses, smell is the most evocative of memories. I can walk past an innocent looking person wearing patchouli and it will take me right back to art school, sitting in the apartment of friends and drinking beer while they tripped on my shiny silver earrings.
Just the hint of honeysuckle will transport me to the top of the hill, close to a busy street in Maryland when I was about 8 years old. A fence thick with honeysuckle vine pulled me toward every time I was near. I would pull a couple flowers off, pinch the end and suck the tiny drops of nectar from the center that the bees were so quick to consume.
If I happen to walk down the aisle with pool supplies, a whiff of chlorine takes me to a rubber strappy lounge chair at my public swimming pool with my best friends giggling about cute boys. We’re soaking wet, wrapped in towels, hair plastered to our wet heads. We pretend we’re older, like 16 and spread our towels out, positioning ourselves, not get the best view of the boys, but to present ourselves at the best angle.
Today, I will slow my car down with the windows open and drive drunk on the scent of orange blossoms. One crumb left in the bottom of the toaster oven will capture my full attention at the back of my house, wondering if I’m going to need the fire extinguisher. I can smell rain before it’s in my zip code.
The ability smell strongly impacts our capacity to taste. Many individuals who have lost their sense of smell because of an accident or freak medication mix up, find themselves thinking suicidal thoughts. It’s that important to our well-being and happiness.
I used think my nose was big. It’s not petite, but it seems to fit may face, or maybe I grew into it. After seeing the science experiments coming out of plastic surgeon’s offices these days, I am quite content with the nose I was given.
I have this little plateau close the bridge of my nose that I was scarcely aware of until a biker told me his ex-girlfriend had “that same cute little flat part at the top of her nose.” Such an odd observation from an unlikely admirer has stayed with me for over 20 years.
My nose is a genetic compilation that resembles a little bit of the Palmer lineage and a lot of my dad’s side of the family. It’s a good sturdy Scandinavian nose with a hint of Euromutt. It’s functional, it’s unadorned – tried piercing once, it would have none of it – and it works like a champ. I love everything about my nose, its size, its shape and, of course, its super powers. Plus, it’s a great place to keep my collection of fabulous sunglasses.
“A nose which varies from the ideal of straightness to a hook or snub may still be of good shape and agreeable to the eye.” – Aristotle