Lynyrd Skynyrd “That Smell” (1977)

I have a curious penchant for developing weird hypotheticals, strawman arguments I create for myself, resulting in cyclical internal monologues I can obsess over for great lengths of time and to no discernibly useful end. Is this in any way normal? A healthy exercise of critical reasoning, or a possible sign of insanity. Or just latent creativity. Or creeping paranoia. Or maybe it could be…Well, there we go again.

My recent self-query posed for absolutely no apparent reason was this: If you had to give up one of your senses, which would you choose? Though I’m not aware of any respected medical journals to have yet taken up this research, of late I’ve thought about it a lot. So here goes my brief analysis:

Sight is pretty much my top priority; I hate not being able to see where I’m going, and am basically afraid of the dark. I treasure eating and I’m (duh) a rather big music fan, so I can’t be without taste and hearing. Touch might not be that big a deal, but I fear lacking it would lead to a lot of severe burns when tossing logs on the fire or grabbing my overheated plates out of the microwave.

So that just leaves smell. Could I adjust to missing that? I mean, how many really great smells are there. Sure, Al Pacino could start us off with the scent of a woman (hoo-wah!), plus there’s newly cut grass and freshly baked pies, for instance. But, I’m no fan of mowing the lawn, and how often does one actually stroll past an aroma-wafting bakery? I don’t quite savor the thrill of sniffing the salty sea air cherished by so many (like my wife), nor am I generally too adept at stopping to smell the proverbial roses. And I generally run my autos into the ground so the contented pleasure of “new car” smell arrives only once or so a decade. Not to mention, I’d also potentially be eliminating a lot of truly objectionable odors, like the most foul stench of rest-stop bathrooms and my dog’s breath.

Yeah, I’d say smell would have to be the one sacrificed in this absurd theoretical whereby I’m forced to take leave of…just one of my senses. But importantly, my self-assigned mind game rules did not concurrently make it necessary to surrender, per se, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s odiferous ode, ‘That Smell,’ a southern-fried classic second only to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ for most renowned rancid-related rocker. This one was famously about the smell of death, another musk that’d be okay to miss. Why don’t you take a whiff, while I attempt to come to my senses.

(you can almost detect the room reeking on this grainy pre-release live version)


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