Much of human history must have been an olfactory challenge. For one thing, people are smelly, and the commonality of bathing before the 20th century in some cultures was questionable.
For another, there are recorded periods of history that are full of things like open trenches where people would flush their waste.
These things are mercifully no longer a part of our daily lives.
But that doesn't mean bad smells have been eradicated. Much to the contrary, because of how uncommon they are, we notice them even more.
Redditor JA-darkside asked:
"What smell have you experienced that you will never forget?"
Here were some of those answers.
Dark Days On The Ward
"Hospitals. Both of my parents died two months apart and I was in them every day. I'll never forget that weird, sanitized smell."-PREClOUS_R0Y
"That probably explains my aversion to Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds and most flowers. Grandpa died when I was 3, and we had many other deaths in the family before I even turned 10."-tacobelmont
"Literally all of them. I'm that person who will smell a rosewater lotion and be like 'Wow this smells like the bathrooms at the Foxwoods casino!!'"
"I haven't been to Foxwoods since I was 8, though I was there semi-frequently due to my parents working there. But for real, almost any damn smell I can connect to SOME point in my life."-AriIsMySavior
"Ammonia. I did some work at a fertilizer plant, they had a urea tower where they used a lot of ammonia and every once in a while you would find yourself downwind and get a blast of it."
"Not only does it smell bad it burns your mucous membranes. You can feel the 3D shape of your sinuses inside your head when they get irritated all at once."-OhAces
These smells are sure to (figuratively or literally) burn their way into your memory.
A Little Creepy Dude
"There was this girl I liked that is friends with my buddy in college."
"When my other friends and I were visiting them one weekend, I slept on the floor of her dorm and she had this air freshener plug-in that smelled very sweet like vanilla and flowers or something similar."
"When I got back home from visiting, my pillow smelt like that for the next couple nights and it reminded me of her every time I went to bed. It was some of the best sleep I've had in my life."-Round_Rectangles
The Past In A Room
"My Grandpa's study in his very old house. His study was full of books, the smell of cigars smoked long ago, old carpet, aging furniture, scotch, etc."
"I was at a wedding recently where the venue was a 'club' for management/corporate type people. It was old, probably hadn't been updated since the 80's."
"I walked into one of the lounges and was hit with the same smell and thrown back into my childhood at his house."-ialo00130
There Was Going To Be One About Diarrhea.
"Diarrhea, once I believe I consumed food that was poisoned and I had horrible diarrhea that was dark brown, it came out like pee."
"It lasted for about a week and the stench wasn’t the worst part, it hurt like hell. I lost around 10 pounds over the span of a week because I wouldn’t eat and if I did I would either throw it up or just poo it out."-LennyGaming69
Wow, I'm On Fire!
"The smell of my hair burning when i lit myself on fire. I was trying to take a bong rip and my hair got in the way and immediately lit on fire."
"I fell out of my chair smacking my head to try and put the fire out. I could hear my hair burning and it started burning my head and my face."
"I finally put the fire out and was just laying on the floor in my room with smoke coming off of my head. The smell of my burning hair was so disgusting."
"But the worst part...I dropped the bong and my entire bowl went all over the carpet. I cried. 😭😌"-_gloomysunday_
Senses, as the most powerful tools people have, really play a part in shaping a person's experience of the world.
Why Did People Have Carpets
"The 3rd floor of my school. I had really bad anxiety and the school didn’t have proper ventilation. Like the windows were sealed shut and it was horrible during the pandemic."
"The smell mostly came from the carpet because of how old it is. It hit you when you entered that floor and my stomach would start gurgling from the anxiety."
"Strawberry kiwi kool aid tastes like how the carpet smells."-waitwhat2604
The WORST Possible Smell In The 21st Century
"Near where I live, there's a decent amount of sewerage, garbage, algae, etc, around natural water spots and mud, that you never want to go into if you can help it."
"Especially never ingest it or let it touch an open cut or wound. You can for the most part avoid the awful smell and sight, as most of these areas are hidden and not easily gotten to."
"One summer, a few years back, I didn't have much to do, so I would just walk around looking for these places(There's this pond that at I found that was covered in some pink kind of algae)."
"So because I was around these kinds of places on a consistent basis, I of course got my foot in some undesired places."
"The muddy and wet shoes would carry the smell of the place, and I don't think everyone will get the way I'm about to describe it, but it's the most accurate way I can."
"It smelled like some one cooked tortellini, pooped on it, and left it out in the sun for a year."-Jyona-San
"Rotting potatoes and liquified bell peppers that had been donated i encountered while I did an internship-esque thing at a food bank sorting the donated food."
"Also while working at a landscaping company this older guy asked us to clean up this sorta enclosed outdoor space that he had used as his dogs toilet for months while he was recovering from some kind of accident."
"It was in the middle of summer pushing 40°c for weeks, the space was fully sealed so no way for anything to be washed into the ground, the dog had clearly been suffering from diareha for a while and on that day we had some warm summer rain."
"With all that said rotting potatoes and bell peppers are still 1#."-Karlmarx95
"My grandmother passed away 20 years ago. I still know what her home smelled like." ~ Down_Low_Too_Slow
"Pig slaughterhouse. Still love me some bacon though." ~ Meat-walker
"It’s livestock, so a bit like a barn, but like industrial grade levels of unmaintained filth caused by the literal pools of shit filled pig urine that sloshes out of every truck that drives through. Then there’s this smell of rancid rotting bile under it. It’s mild, but very obvious." ~ CounterSanity
The Strangest 'Wrong Number' Stories | George Takei’s Oh MyyyBefore we all had caller ID, wrong numbers phone calls were commonplace. But now that almost everyone screens their calls, it's wrong number texts that have ...
"The perfume that this one girlfriend wore, way back in high school." ~ bigredcar
"Oh man do I feel this. The perfume thing is so visual, I can still see her eyes, smile, hair, and clothing style. Kathy B. was her name. I asked her what it was once, and she told me, but I totally forgot. It was many years ago." ~ chriscaulder
"Burning plastic in barrels at an industrial park in Istanbul. You knew it was shortening your life with every breathe and you couldn’t escape it." ~ real_schematix
"Paper mill." ~ Positive-Source8205
"Yes! There’s none near me where I live, but I can still remember the smell from only driving past them one time! One was in Maine and one was In Oregon." ~ furnacemike
"When I was in high school I got to go to the National FFA convention in Indianapolis and they had all these booths set up. One of the booths was for Spam. It's not a horrific odor, but it is one that I wish I had never smelled." ~ happyhumorist
"My cattle dog tangled with a skunk and got sprayed and made it into the house before I could stop her. Omg that sulfur garlic rank smell... so bad. I managed at least then to grab her by the collar and chuck her back outside to clean her off." ~ MadCraftyFox
"Bad smell- one night my dog expressed her anal glands on my bed while i was sleeping. It took forever to get the smell out of my mattress. It was horrific. Good smell- my grandmother's cooking." ~ amahler03
"She parked on a north facing hillside dirt road in the middle of the Southern California desert in the summer, rolled up the car windows and locked the doors, and ingested about 100 assorted pills, We found her a week later (we call her a 'popper.' because the body is so bloated that they typically will 'pop'). That was in 1979, and I still remember the smell. 😢." ~ Maxsdad53
"The smell of death. when my aunt was dying in the hospital that was all i could smell in her room. When my grandpa was dying in hospice that’s all i could smell. The smell stayed in my nose for days, and I’m still catching whiffs sometimes weeks later." ~ Life_Calligrapher779
Chocolate & Wax
"A college near me that my grandma used to work at when i was very little, we would visit everyday to bring her lunch and i remember the weird, almost chocolate smelling floor wax smell. they renovated the building and the smell is gone, but i still get scents of it when i walk in there now as an adult." ~ rainruins
"Fumes of gas from a mixture of oxalic acid and chlorine. These chemicals must not be mixed, as it creates a toxic gas that will cause death. I accidentally mixed small portions of it when i was doing laundry. Both are effective at removing stains. It smells minty at first, but when inhaled it feels like it choked you to death, as if you cannot breathe oxygen. It nearly caused me to death, and i coughed many times in order to breathe." ~ alistairjumanji
Smells can create both positive and negative memories, just as sounds, taste, touch and sight can.
But since smell is so directly linked to our digestive system and our in-the-moment stability, those smells that aren't as pleasant can really leave quite an impression.
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When looking at a resume, it's easy to understand how prospective employers will assume someone is very intelligent based on their education and past experience.
But one shouldn't only assume someone's intelligence based on what they read.
More often than not, one can tell rather quickly that someone possesses above-average intelligence, based on how they speak, how they behave, or other telling details.
Redditor PadWanKenobi was curious to hear what people felt were the tell tale signs they were in the company of a possible genius, leading them to ask:
"What’s a sign of extremely high intelligence?"
"Ability to intuitively and quickly understand complex systems and how lots of parts relate in a coherent whole."
"Like I work with some people who just keep tons of concepts in their head and easily integrate new information into their understanding of those concepts."
"They immediately know what questions they should be asking to better understand."
"And these are things they're currently working on, not like things they spent time studying in school over years."
"They just have a very strong ability to synthesize new information into their understanding."
"I sit in meetings distracted and confused having forgotten what we talked about in the previous meetings, and these folks just consistently have a solid handle on everything."- Ok-Control-787
Innate Problem Solvers
"They know when not to solve a problem."
"This took me a while to understand but the smartest people I know do this."
"It could be a really simple thing like ignoring emails from people asking for help."
"The supervisor or boss might have a quick and easy solution for the situation but instead of just handing it to the person that asked they let them figure it out on their own."
"They know who they can do this with and when to do it."
"If they did that with all of their underlings it would just create a mess."
"Another example that I can think of is planned chaos."
"Some people can predict exactly where things will go wrong and they could fix it before it creates a problem."
"They don't because nobody ever notices what's going on in the background when things are working perfectly."
"Once things fails then everybody notices and if you are the one person that fixed it you become the hero."
"They can also use then chaos to reach a goal they couldn't get before if things were working correctly."
"There's many examples of this in every day life that I didn't see before until I realized what was happening."- atapesGiphy
You know what they say about people with small hands
"If your hand is smaller than your face."- FallofTheKnight
The all knowing glow.
"When someone asks you a question and you push your glasses up while light comes out of it and covers your eyes for some reason."- JonEregor
Those giveaway behavioral quirks
"Wearing glasses and saying things like 'ah yes', and 'I see' while you pensively rub your chin."- iuytrefdgh436yujhe2Thinking Reaction GIF by ABC TV + IVIEWGiphy
"When they explain something they make the people around them feel smarter, not dumber."- redkat85
Being one step ahead.
"The capacity to understand complex things, see patterns where regular people don't."- Ostepop234
"They have this tendency to make you go 'Ohhh, why didn't I think of that?' when listening to them talk."- did_it_forthelulzWhy Didnt I Think Of That Cillian Murphy GIFGiphy
An endless love of learning
"A passion for knowledge and expanding understanding of complex concepts."
"The plumber can be just as insightful as the scholar."- KatatoniK94
Of course, one shouldn't always be fooled by what they see.
As many people are masters at appearing much smarter than they are.
In fact, one important sign of super intelligence is being able to separate those who appear smart, from those who actually are.
With each passing year of a marriage, couples will often discover that while they don't love each other any less than they once did, that spark their relationship used to carry has faded.
This will often lead these couples to look for ways to spice things up a bit.
Among the more popular experiments is inviting a third member to their bedroom.
Enticing as this prospect is, however, it's also easy to be intimidated by the reality of it, or even the mere suggestion of it.
"Men, what advice do you have for men whose wives want to bring a third into the bedroom?"
Make sure you want to do it.
"You need to be completely honest with yourself, ask if this is something you want and could live with."- Dame87
Proceed with caution
"It’s like frolicking in a mine field."
"You both better be SUPER into the idea, you can’t have one person who’s reluctantly agreed to go along with it."
"And established rules."
"A threesome sounds like fun and games until you’re watching your partner make faces and sounds that you only thought were for you in your most intimate moments together, and a burning jealousy comes out of nowhere and breaks your heart."
"I’m not saying it’s automatically a bad idea and I know people do polyamory successfully, but dear god be careful."- coleosis1414
Make sure you're an active participant
"I had an ex that was adamant that she wanted to be a swinger or whatever."
"The one time I decided to roll with it, I hit it off immediately with the other dude's girlfriend and had a blast hanging out with her all night."
"The other dude was a total creep, though."
"Also, my ex could not handle the fact that someone else was giving me the slightest bit of attention."
"So, needless to say, that didn't go anywhere."
"Turns out she didn't want to be a swinger, she just wanted to have sex with other people behind my back, which she had no problems whatsoever with."- Ted_Denslow
Look out for ulterior motives
"Just remember that if you bring this up and your husband is against it, that could be the beginning of the end of your marriage."
"For a lot of people their partner saying 'I am seriously considering having sex with other people and I'm checking with you if it is ok', is a deal breaker."- gamerplays
Consider a test run?
"Go to a bar together separately."
"Watch them flirt/interact with someone else."
"If you get jealous, it's probably a bad idea to bring in a third."
"If it turns you on, go for it."- SinSlayer
Query people with experience.
"It’s something my wife and I have talked about."
"We both agreed that opening the Pandora’s box is not the way we want our relationship to go."
"While it sounds fun, we have seen way to many relationships derailed because of it."- DarthDujo
Consider going whole hog.
"Bring a 4th."- xxemrgmi
Evaluate your relationship first.
"Make sure you and your partner are secure in your own relationship before having another person join."
"Have boundaries, and no secrets."
"From my experience it doesn't usually work out in the end."- Thick-Procedure455
"Don't do it."
"For a long time, my ex harbored a fantasy of watching me have sex with another woman."
"Hey, who knows why any of us are wired the way we are?"
"After contemplating the idea together for a while, we decided to approach one of her more attractive co-workers, who had made a series of flattering comments along the lines of "you're so lucky" and "he's so good-looking'."
"She enthusiastically agreed."
"Our first meet-up was of course awkward, but the second, third and following were pretty good."
"In fact they got progressively hotter, as we all got more comfortable with each other's boundaries, erotic likes and dislikes."
"However, over a few months these occasional kinky weekends transitioned into the co-worker asking more frequently and aggressively to be invited over."
"We tried to explain that we had intended these threesomes to be rare and exotic highlights in our sex life, not regular occurrences, but she didn't take the message to heart and instead became increasingly insistent, bordering on smothering."
"After being turned down one Friday, that night she unexpectedly showed up at our door anyway, carrying a weekend bag and wearing nothing but a raincoat, stay-ups and heels."
"While that was quite a sight, it definitely creeped us out, as it made us finally realize the whole arrangement was descending into 'play Misty for me' territory."
"My ex and I agreed that her unexpected and unwelcome appearance signaled the end of future three-ways, at least until we were able to cool our own selves down, reassess, and perhaps later find a less demanding and insistent third."
"Things subsequently got very sticky at work for my wife, as her co-worker, with whom she had to interact closely, strongly resented being permabanned, and kept demanding to know 'what she'd done that was so awful'."
"Coworker eventually asked to be transferred to another office, but by the time that process was over and done, the discomfort / guilt / pressure / confusion my ex was suffering both at home and at work had begun to take its psychological toll."
"I must confess it didn't help that our own sex life was simultaneously going through a rough patch."
"Long story short, we ended our decade-long relationship less than a year after breaking off the threesomes, chiefly due to trust issues and growing sexual incompatibility, both perhaps triggered by our experimentation."
"Ever since, I've regretted agreeing to that first three-way."
"If I hadn't been so damned eager to take a bite of forbidden fruit, we might have kept our relationship intact."
"But I guess this can also be put down as what sometimes happens when you ignore that old advice, 'don't sh*t where you sleep'."- theartfulcodger
When venturing into the unknown, it's always wise to gain some first hand experience, to hear a variety of pros and cons of what you're possibly getting yourself into.
That way, deciding whether or not it's for you will become increasingly clear.
It's also important to remember, that it is always ok to say "no".
People Share Their Best 'You Either Die The Hero Or Live Long Enough To Become The Villain' Experiences
"You either die the hero or live long enough to become the villain."
Though not necessarily a universal truth, all of us have witnessed unfortunate moments in our lives where we've seen this saying become a reality.
Be it seeing our favorite public figures take a serious fall from grace, someone we know and admire eventually disappointing us in a devastating manner, or even seeing ourselves turn into someone we promised we'd never become.
One Redditor was curious to hear people's examples of this saying coming to light, either from a personal experience or seeing it happen to a well-known, public figure, leading them to ask:
"Who is your example of 'you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain'?"
"He originally stood up for civil rights when it was really unpopular."
"Was hospitalized and accidentally placed in the black ward."
"When the doctors found out, they tried to move him, but he refused."
"Then he became a cult leader and used his power and influence to end the lives of a thousand people."- Crvsby
Earning a position of power
"Working in restaurant kitchens."
"You either burn out young, or become the boss that everyone hates."
"There's exceptions, but that's the rule."- grandpas_old_crow
"Henry Heimlich, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver."
"Made up a bunch of untested uses for it, treating people having asthma attacks, and drowning victims were the two I remember that he publicly talked up."
"Later, he funded an experiment that involved injecting people with Malaria to see if it would treat other conditions.
"The experiment was found to be unethical by American review boards, so he conducted them in Ethiopia." - User Deleted
"In WW1 he led the French to victory at Verdun, one of the worst battles in human history."
"In WW2, after France was beaten, Petain was the head of state of Vichy France."
"Guy went from the Lion of Verdun to the biggest Nazi collaborator in France."- arthuranymoredonuts
"Every organ until it gets cancer."- SuperBaconjam
"He had the whole country behind him here in Ireland at one point bar people who thought combat sport is grotesque."
"He was witty, original, backing himself up and having a Hollywood like rise to stardom."
"Now he's someone who the whole country is ashamed of, goes punching old men, clearly sleeps around on his wife while she's at home with the kids, just a walking caricature of himself."
"He didn't listen to his own advice."
"Get out."- StephenPigot2020
Turning into our parents
"My dad used to annoy me by calling my Pokemon cards 'Pokey-Mans'."
"Now my kids have them and I do the same thing and it annoys the sh*t out of them."
"Thanks for the (Pokeyman) gold!"- rumpel4skinOU
"Almost died during the revolutionary way, if I recall correctly, and if he had he would have been remembered a huge hero, and a martyr."
"Instead he lived and changed sides, and is remembered only for his being a traitor."- uniqueperson22
Be it someone we knew quite intimately, or someone we admired from a far, it is always heartbreaking to see someone evolve from someone we love, to someone we utterly hate.
Sometimes we do things that have to be done.
And some of those things live in life's gray area of right and wrong.
What comes as a surprise to some is when we don't care if we're wrong.
We may still technically be in the right.
But morally and ethically, there may be some issues.
But still, many people don't care.
Redditor BirdyPizzawanted to see who would fess up about some of the worst things we're responsible for but have no shame.
"What is the darkest thing you have ever done and don’t regret?"
I've stolen from department stores that overcharged. I was arrested. I didn't care. So there...
"Five years ago my dad suffered a catastrophic stroke. Left paralyzed and robbed of his speech and ability to communicate he was a shell of the once vibrant, charismatic man he once was. He was moved into skilled nursing where he lived for nearly two years, he was miserable."
"On my last visit I told him it was okay if he wanted to leave us, that we would miss him but he should go. A week later I received the call that he had passed. Instead of immediate grief I felt relief. Relief that he was finally free. The grief came later and I still miss him every single day."
"Got into a car accident and had to stay with my mom for a couple days to figure out what to do. Went back to my apartment (I had two roommates) and everything was missing from my room. Long story short one of my roommates had everything hidden in her room."
"I called and told her the things were missing from my room and she came up with a lie that a couple girls came to look at my room (I was moving out bc of the accident, long story) and that they must have taken my things. She had everything I owned. Including my grandmothers perfume bottles, stuffed to the back of her closet, under her bed, behind her dresser etc."
"So I packed all of my stuff up. Then took a giant black garbage bag and stuffed as much of her closet in it as I could. Took it to the middle of nowhere, dug a hole and burnt it. She called screaming at me that her stuff was missing. I told her the two girls must have come by and taken her stuff too."
"I hit my uncle left right and center when he was trying to choke my father to death. I was 16 years old at that time, a very skinny girl. I beat his face neck and every part of him that I could target with so much intensity that my knuckles turned blue the next day. I had an animalistic rage that day trying to help my father get away from his death grip. I hate my uncle even today."
"I got anger issues because of growing up around him. And I don't regret beating him that day at all. He was physically abusive to his wife as well. One fine day, his wife retaliated by beating him blue with a stick. And he stopped being physically violent towards her post that."
"A neighbor like 10 years ago was neglecting their dog badly in the heat. The dog escaped often and ended up at the shelter a lot. One day she jumped the fence and got her tie-out cable stuck on the fence. (She was not in danger of choking.) Neighbor put her on a 3-foot-long cable tied to a doorknob, no water, 90 degree day. I let some kind folks steal her, watched the whole thing and said nothing to stop them."
"When my father was dying and in pain I was the one who told the doctors he had been through enough and we couldn't see him suffer anymore. Doctor injected him with something, I assume a morphine mega dose and he passed peacefully moments after. Euthanasia may not be legal in UK but compassionate doctors know what's what. I don't regret it because my pa made me promise I would have his back when he got sick or old. I'm sad he got sick and never got to get old."
That is a lot of mess. But sometimes we have to do what we have to do.
"One of my ex best friends in high school was a real narcissistic lunatic. Had so many egotistical fantasies about what he deserved but I remained his friend because we met through my close friend (his girlfriend). As I started realizing what a terrible person he was I convinced him to go after his fantasy of a harem by asking to add a 3rd to their relationship, that led to a fight between his gf."
"I called her about it and asked how she felt about him adding someone to their relationship and about him sleeping with her. She said she knew nothing about that and started crying because he cheated on her. I basically helped orchestrate their breakup and have no regrets. She is happy with her first child now and he is in a toxic af relationship with 3 kids, 2 of which aren't his and his partner is 8 years older than him."
"Had to make the choice to take my dad off of life support after he got Covid this year. He was sedated for a couple of weeks and one of his lungs collapsed and I couldn't watch him fall apart anymore. My dad was a bulky dude. Constantly did a lot of outdoor work and to see him bone skinny and have no muscle left killed me and I knew even if he somehow got through it, he would have been so miserable and depressed in that state he was in. I don’t regret it. I think it was the right thing to do by him. I’ll never not miss him though. That was my buddy."
"Turned a close friend into the fish and game. He would poach mountain lions and bears. His whole family would literally shoot them and leave them. He would brag about it. I couldn’t stand it and felt that I needed to stop him. He’s in prison and so is his uncle. I know I ruined his life but he was literally killing so many mountain lions and bears."
"In middle school, there was this group of boys that would corner me in the hallway and try to scare me. I was the perfect target for these little b**tards. I was short, skinny, and had (and still have) and anxiety disorder. One day I just had enough, and asked a friend if I could have an extra pencil, sharpened it as much as I could, and when I saw one of them in the hallway, I stabbed the hell out of his leg. Sh**head got what he deserved."
Wow... we really are a dark and secretive people.