Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Preserving the Freedom of Smell
Do you smell that?
That's because the world is going odorless.
Corporations are now offering scentless product lines
of their popular products-
marketed with such labels as "environmentally friendly",
"allergy-free", and "non-toxic"-
No added perfumes, chemicals, or volatile substances.
In other words, the world is out to eliminate our freedom of smell.
I sympathize with the 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies.
I understand the obnoxious smell of a woman who
has apparently bathed in a heady perfume
or a guy drenched in too much Old Spice.
I cringe at the odor of thick cigarette smoke,
the stink of a paper mill,
or the stench of a neighbor's open sewer.
I agree that some fragrance issues should be addressed.
But have we gone too far?
The Crayola factory in Bogota, Columbia has removed the
"Crayola" smell from its products.
Are they mad?
How did they decide to take away a childhood memory-
An American icon?
The smell of Crayola Crayons is among
the twenty most recognizable smells to American adults.
Coffee and peanut butter are number one and two.
Crayons are #18.
All of us remember our first box-
the smell of opening the waxy sticks at school-
the colors bright as a rainbow-
the new points all sharp and perfect.
The average child wears down 730 crayons
by their tenth birthday.
The smell is what makes them so attractive
in the first place.
By removing the smell,
are we in danger of removing the desire to create and color?
Are we messing with nature here?
Back in 1994, Crayola actually began super-scenting their crayons.
They started offering food-scented crayons such as
coconut, licorice, chocolate, cherry, and blueberry.
They smelled good enough to eat.
And to some parents, that was a problem.
Although Crayolas are non-toxic,
parents were worried that their children might actually eat them.
So, the parents got their way.
The Crayola corporation decided to change
the attractive food smells to non-edible smells.
Chocolate became Dirt.
Licorice became Leather Jacket.
Coconut is now Baby Powder
and Peach is the smell of Lumber.
I'm okay with that, I guess.
But to do away with the smell of crayons altogether?
How do they justify ripping away our memory glands
and replacing them with a robotic, non-odorous
scentless, sterile, germicide-injected,
pure nothing smell?
Would you buy a car without that "new car" smell?
Do you want an orange cleaner, a lemon dish washing detergent,
a powerful bleach, or lilac Tide to have no smell?
Are we to do without the fragrance of band-aids,
new baby dolls, and Lysol?
Will they change the smell of summer nights
by making no-scent Off?
Popcorn, pizza, candles, and perfumes?
It's time to stand up and sniff.
To let the world know that we want a stinky,
smelly, perfumed, incensed, spiced, sachet-ed,
sweetened, musked, potpourri-ed, flavored, fragrant world!
I want my grand kids
and their kids to know
the complete and innocent thrill
of smelling something as simple
as a crayon.
I want them to know the
tender, fragrant memory-
long after the box is torn,
the years have passed,
and they have grown.