Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Do YOU Smell Like?

At many family reunions the assorted people mingle like chocolates in a chocolate box; variously flavored but still somehow related. They talk about things like job situations, car mileage, and "How's that wooden leg holding up?" (Well, if you live in a band of pirates). My family, though? What do we talk about over coffee and sorbet as the sun sets on the minimalistic Colorado skyline? What we smell like. In detail. I kid you not.

Exactly what happened. If my mother was a male rapper.  And my cousin was a bottle.
This began when, upon being re-united with our delightful extended family, my mother leaned over to my cousin Alejandro* and exclaimed, "Alejandro! You smell wonderful!" (At which his brother Kennedy, sitting on her other side,  discreetly slid away and obviously wondered what it meant he smelt like). Of course when Alejandro mused later at the dinner table on whether he could put, "My Aunt Jelly thinks I smell good." onto his resume somehow this brought to light the burning question that all of us want to know about our relatives: What do they smell like? 

Over ice cream we proceeded to hold an AA style meeting where we went around, introduced ourselves by name and occupation, then described what we smelled like usually after work at said occupation. Kennedy, tire connoisseur, shared that he smelled like car fuel. Aunt Belinda, a doctor who gets to poke people with sharp objects, explained the intricate smell of latex gloves. Cousin Relish, unemployed student, was unsure of what her occupational smell was but we assumed it might be carved soap (her recent hobby). Cousin Enchilada, Zombie enthusiastic and lawn mower, claimed grass as his fragrance. The list went on and on as Aunt Jelly, Aunt Nanny, Cousin Alejandro, Uncle Treble-Clef, Uncle Marksman, my brother Joan-Markus, Grandma Disco, and assorted little cousins Apricot, Glow, Clementine, Emmet, Sampson, and Mannequin shared their natural perfumes.To complete the feel of a support group we even clapped after each person's announcement. (*If you haven't guessed by now the names have been changed to protect the smells of my extended family.)

Believe it or not my mother doesn't usually greet people on such frank terms. Even after the allergic reaction, two self-administered  injections of epinephrine (long story short lets just say I got to call 911), and packing for a family trip at 1:00 a.m. she would have been lucid. After driving across Kansas all day though? Everyone had dropped a few marbles along the way. My family's Sense of Politically Correct Behavior and Social Graces are rolling around in some forsaken cornfield somewhere and i'm sure one of the millions of grazing hamburger machines has already eaten our Sanity. For the delirious moments we were driving that I wasn't asleep I would look out the window and wonder, "How is it that its been 3 hours and it looks like we are in the same field," followed by, "Hey, isn't this the nothingness at the end of the world that Capt. Jack Sparrow was trapped in?" and, when water rations got low and things were getting truly desperate, "Farm implements are beautiful in a metallic modern art sort of way..."

Well its bed time and I have a long day of smelling relatives ahead of me. I fear that even the prancing pink ponies and various stuffed animals of my Cousin Apricot's borrowed room will fail to ward off the nightmares of being trapped in a never-ending cornfield. The real question though is, what will the nightmare corn smell like? I guess there's only one way to find out...

Slaphappy Snores,


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