So, sitting in class today, my olfactory system was fucking assaulted by some guy who had apparently liberally doused himself in that cheap Bod body spray. This guy was rivaling that time my friend and I could smell some Axe-soaked douchenozzle nearly a block away (I’m not even kidding about that). 1 This cloud of Wal-Mart’s cheapest, sickly sweet, cloying monstrosity of a body spray was awful, don’t get me wrong. As a cologne wannabe, it’s atrocious.
And yet, while my eyes were watering and my lungs were burning and my vision was going dark as my brain cells all slowly died of oxygen deprivation, I still felt a tiny, strange fondness for that overpowering aroma currently killing me.
The year was 1997…
It was Christmas, and my folks had oh-so-reluctantly caved into the frenzied begging and pleading of my 10-year-old self and purchased that Nintendo 64 I’d been dying to play for the better part of a year. See, when I was but a wee tot, my parents once interrupted my viewing of an I Dream of Jeannie marathon to excitedly show me the Atari 2600 they’d found hidden away in an old box of things from early in their marriage. My dad plugged the thing in, and after a few minutes, I was holding that clunky old joystick and experiencing Frogger for the very first time.
My parents had no way of knowing the can of worms they’d opened with that.
I played that fucking Atari all the time. I built cakes, I collected luggage, I shot down alien invaders, I got chased by those iconic ghosts. I met Mario for the first time. I shot asteroids.
Eventually, my parents threw the system away. Life resumed in its previous incarnation, but with one major difference- I now knew the joys that video games could give me. At the earliest opportunity, I took my hard-earned recycling money to a yard sale and purchased another Atari system and a crate of games. Still later, my birthday money bought me a Sega Genesis (which still both exists and works- I passed it on to my young cousins years ago, and they’ve since handed it down to our even younger cousins).
But I was always a few (or many) years late on acquiring systems. Which was fine when I was a wee thing, but as I got older and the kids around me started talking about current generation consoles, I started to want them.
1997 was when my parents gave in and fed the little monster they’d created. At the time, my younger brother had little-or-no interest in video games. The N64 would change that. For me, despite having loved video games for years, the N64 (particularly, Ocarina of Time) would cement in me that near-obsessive lust for gaming that is the only real criteria for being a true gamer.
That year, my younger brother received a package of Bod spray from a relative. You know, one of those gifts they pluck out of the generic gift set area of a retail store and give to folks they’ve never bothered to get to know. But my 8-year-old sibling thought this body spray made him manly. Doing his best to puff out his scrawny, nearly concave chest, he spritzed himself with that crap daily.
In one of those peculiarities of memory, the smell of that Bod spray (which, incidentally, hasn’t really changed in the 14 years since this event) is now inextricably tied up with memories of playing Kirby and Zelda for the first time. Every time I smell that shit (which isn’t too often, though more frequently than I would like… which is never), I am hit with this overpowering rush of memory. Of the feel of that bulky gray controller in my hand. Of perching on my mother’s bed because it was one of two televisions in the house and by the strapping son of God, I wasn’t playing that thing in the living room. Of gathering crystal shards and deflecting Deku Nuts and learning the Bolero of Fire for the very first time.
Sitting there in class today, all I wanted was to sheathe the Master Sword, jump on Epona, and ride for Death Mountain.
And yes, Navi, I fucking saw the weird cloud around the mountain. That’s why I’m fucking going there. Shut up, you glowing whore.