Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A cooked cultivar can lead to many different outcomes...

I couldn't quite bring myself to eat left-overs for lunch today, so I treated myself to a quick trip out to McDonald World. Let me say for defensive purposes and to avoid questions most assuredly to come later, fast food is a rarity for me at lunch. But, that cooked cabbage just didn't have the appeal it did last night when I was shoveling it down, and the gastrointestinal workings that resulted from the consumption of heated, leafy-green vegetables was still fresh on my mind.

Moving on...so I drove through Mickie D's for a double-death bomb, double cheeseburger and a sweet tea with lemon (my fruit allotment). I know, definitely not the healthiest meal for an aging, middle-soft man with the medical history I carry, but I was hungry folks! For $2, it's also really hard to beat.

As I pull up to the drive-thru window, I'm met and overcome by a familiar aroma that immediately rushed me back 30 years like a mental time machine.

McDonald's was my first corporate job. I started when I was fifteen years old on the opening crew of a new store that has since been torn down and replaced by a newer version...ouch. 30 years. Yet the smells coming though the window lit my limbic system up like the operating control board at a nuclear power plant. The nostalgia was euphoric as I mentally drifted back to a time in my life that is now more clearly defined by the oft heard phrase 'Enjoy it young man...these are the best years of your life.'

Science tells us the olfactory bulb is intimate with the amygdala (which processes emotions) and the hippocampus (which is responsible for associative learning- think Rosetta Stone). But despite all the close wiring, it still takes conditioned learning for smells to trigger a memory. The link is formed when you first smell a new odor and it becomes closely associated with a person, event, place, or even a specific moment. The connection is unlike any other connection in our marvelous, wondrous bodies.

Testing this tidbit of biological hypothesis is really quite simple. If time allows the very next time you take in an odor that triggers a past memory, stop what you're doing and close your eyes. Try to recall all the association with that memory building up layer after layer. It's truly amazing how much detail you can recall from your long-term memory. Be sure to do this with a good memory too. No sense in going and reopening old wounds...hey...that probably explains why there are times Mrs. Tony C is ticked at me, and I don't have a clue in the world what about.

I need to keep the same candles from our honeymoon burning at the house all the time. I've worked her amygdala and hippocampus overtime on many other occasions with my hakuna matata attitude. God love her...

(If you're waiting for it, I'm not elaborating on cooked cabbage and any associated odor memories...I'm just not that crude people.)


Mesha said...

hahahahaha...now first off - that cooked cabbage and it's "gastrointestinal" aftermath are something in which you should be very thankful for Mr. Tony C. That's your body responding to some much desired FIBER to naturally clean out your system...especially when you're stopped up from said "Mickey D's" and other non-food drive through choices that may be rotting in your system. :) I must admit, I will not completly withold from a good ol' sandwich combo at McDonalds or partaking of the last supper at Taco Bell - I say last supper because after eating it you most certainly remember what your last supper was when you find yourself rushing from the work desk to the public facilities. Anyways, off the diet portion of my response to your cheap lunch...haha (just giving you a hard time), onto the post itself. It's crazy how smells trigger memories. I smell Victoria Secret's lovespell and immediately think of Jr. High School because it was the most worn fragrence. I can smell this old brand of shaving cream and remember being a little girl when my dad used to shave with the foulest smelling shaving cream EVER. Another thing for me is music. Oh BOY! It's amazing to me how I'll hear a song from years ago when I was a crazy teenager who would sit with my friends CRYING over those we were infatuated while listening to garbage like the backstreet boys and N*Sync (sorry boyband fans). To this day I can hear songs like "this I promise you," and feel overwhelmed with the sense of heartbreak and pain. Crazy thing is I wasn't even "dating" anyone to be heartbroken - heart break was just what was spewed at us as youth through the music videos and teenage pressures and in turn we found ourselves "heartbroken" over the songs themselves. (Silly right?) With that being said, I still feel the tear well up in my eye when it's playing in a shopping mall or in the background of a tv show. Hmmm...interesting post Tony C. I wonder what memory we spark in God's mind when he gets a wiff of our aroma? 2 Cor 2:15 "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." Love ya bro, keep the posts coming.

Tracy said...

Chances are that doesn't explain why Mrs Tony C is sometimes ticked at you and you don't have a clue why - chances are that's more about you being a male - just saying....

Nonetheless the same scent candles as your honey moon could still be a very good thing sometimes.

photogr said...

Here is something for you Tony.

Why is it that some times while I am in a medative state, pondering a spiritual question, and thinking of God and His glory,I distinctly smell the aroma of fresh cut flowers or fragrances un known to me when none are around. This seems to be a relatively regular occurence but not all the time.

David said...

I am quite thankful that my early memories are disconnected from gastrointestinal events of any kind. After all I was probably drinking beer at the pinnacle of my formative years. I haven't had one in 30 years or so.

I do remember some of the greatest meals that I had - the strawberry crepes as I sat looking over the Pacific Northwest. Mary Anne's pineapple salsa haddock stuffed with crab meat is another. The intake is more memorable than the exhaust.

The music - now that is a problem. Barry Manilow and Johnny Nash are always related to bad memories, whereas; I know I listened to Led Zeppelin and good things that I don't remember happened - if you know what I mean.

And finally, anything associated with cabbage, before, during or after is a well - a bad memory. It makes the Super-Blast Corn Taco seem appetizing.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. If you actually talk like this, people must stay in stitches around you.

Oh, I know the odors and memories associated with any cooked green leafy veggie. They aren't too pretty.