Discover Prompts: Day 15 – Scent

Today is Earth Day, April 22. I’m still catching up on Discover Prompts for April. Day 15 prompt is the word “scent.”

I’ve never really had a stronger sniffer. I can smell okay, but it just wasn’t overpowering. For a long time, I smoked and I grew up in a smoke-filled house, so that dulled my sense of smell. It’s been 15 years since I’ve quit smoking, so if I were to regain some sense of smell, I would have noticed by now. I’m intrigued that people are losing their senses of smell with the novel coronavirus.

My little Dachshund, Herman, almost 1 1/2 years old, has a strong nose. I had some recent tooth problems. He likes to look at my mouth and almost put his nose inside. He sniffed out the problem with my tooth long before I had to make an emergency appointment for a root canal.

In graduate school, I wrote a long treatise on the word “nose,” following all the metaphorical and sexual suggestiveness of phrases and characters throughout a wide-variety of material. Scent obviously played a strong role in the idea of “nose.”

But when I think of scent, I think of two movies – A Scent of a Woman, in which Al Pacino won an Oscar, not one of my favorite movies but a memorable role for a remarkable actor. And i also think of the movie, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, a less well-known movie but one that sticks with me like a fly on stink. If you haven’t seen Perfume, put it on your short list. It’s set in 18th-century Paris among the competitive business of perfumery shops. An orphan with an extraordinary sense of smell seeks out scents. As he grows up, he becomes obsessed with the scent of a woman. And he does everything he can to capture that scent. The colors of the film are muted but also bright and alive when the scents are described. It’s almost as if the colors are used to heighten our awareness of what smells we’d be encountering in the world of the film.

I usually have a good nose for news and movies, so sniff out this scent on your local streaming service and sit down for a scentsational treat.

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