I was making up some fly medium with Wendy in the lab the other day when one of her students came in seeking guidance. When she got a little closer to our agar-cornmeal-yeast-proprionic acid-ethanol-tegosept-water-molasses concoction, she exclaimed, “Oh god Wendy! That stuff smells TERRIBLE! How do you put up with it?” And Wendy responded, “I have a bad nose; it doesn’t bother me.” As the other students present starting chiming in with “yeah, it is really bad,” the horrible Truth dawned on me. I have a bad nose. I had suspected for a while now since I can’t smell the difference between milk that’s perfectly okay to drink and milk that has entered that lovely chunky, off-white colored stage of rottenness. It takes me a while before I realize that something is burning. In aerobics class, Sam and Linds complain nightly about this girl’s apparently breath-stifling farts, which I have not noticed. I can’t smell the alcohol on a person’s breath unless I’m really close. Nor can I smell it when a lot of people are drinking in a room. And I don’t think the fly medium smells that bad.
I have already come to grips with my horrendous vision – lots of people wear glasses and it is, after all, my mom’s fault. And I was prepared to dismiss my bad nose on the basis that the majority of my senses were still in good working order until I remembered that taste and smell are closely linked. What if I’m tasting-impaired?! It could easily be possible since, as Sam puts it, “taste and smell are essentially the same sense.” I do eat Bon food without much complaint. Is it because I can’t tell that it’s bland and awful tasting? In fact, now that I think about it, most foods that I don’t like, I dislike because of their texture and not because of the way they taste. How could I have bad vision, a bad sense of smell AND gimpy taste buds?! That leaves me with hearing and touch. And who’s to say that those senses aren’t mediocre at best?
My hope right now is that I have a latent sixth sense. If I had a sixth sense it would more than make up for the fact that 3/5 of my senses are bogus because not only would it make the number of lame senses equal the number of perfectly functional senses, it would also set me apart as someone slightly super-human. And while I don’t think I’d necessarily want to see dead people, I would be down to have a little extra help in my bumblings around this world.