A bacon-scented mask | Column


Tired of smelling your own breath?

Masks may save our lives, but they smell like death. You know what I mean. I eat Altoids all day so I don’t asphyxiate myself.

Happily, Hormel has saved us from ourselves by making and marketing a bacon-scented mask. That’s right: A bacon boop! I know people who will run out and buy a dozen. But they won’t have to because--head’s up—they’re free! Also, head’s up again: The deadline for claiming your freebie is TODAY.


“We wanted to bring Black Label Bacon closer to our fans,” a Hormel marketing exec said. Of course they do. Get closer to your bacon-eating self at www.breathablebacon.com.


A free face mask is a good deal if you don’t mind walking around advertising Hormel Black Label bacon. The masks will be given away while supplies last, according to Hormel. Even better: For every request, the company will donate one meal -- up to 10,000 meals -- to Feeding America, USA Today reported.


I don’t eat bacon but I like the smell, especially when it’s mixed with the scent of coffee, OJ, and sizzling eggs. (Breakfast really is the best-smelling meal, isn’t it?)

Question: Why stop at bacon? Why doesn’t Cinnabon sell face masks that smell like I-have-died-and-gone-to-heaven? Pros: You’d be in a good mood all day. Cons: You’d eat the mask.

The power of scent is amazing. It brings back memories with a startling, in-your-face immediacy. None of our other senses packs that kind of visceral punch. When I taste a brownie I don’t think of my mom (who baked hers from a recipe on the Hershey’s cocoa can). I just think about how good it is, and will anyone notice if I eat two more?

But smell is lodged in our memory. What do you remember when you smell a late-summer honeysuckle vine? Or the perfume your mother used to wear?

Last week I strolled past a public building where the handrails had been freshly painted, thinking about dinner, emails, dry cleaning… then I took a deep breath.

Suddenly it was September 1973. I was 13 years old and painting a three-board fence around the pasture where my new pony grazed. The Carpenters’ “Yesterday Once More” was on the radio. I heard the buzz of cicadas, saw the paint flecks on my hands, and felt the summer sun on my shoulders.

It wasn’t like I was there; I was there.

None of that happens when I see a fenced pasture, or touch a pony, or feel sunlight. That’s the power of scent. (That’s also why the Al Pacino movie was called “Scent of a Woman.”)

Forty years ago, my college boyfriend wore a popular cologne called Aramis. To this day, if I smell Aramis on a man (which is very seldom), my head swivels involuntarily towards the source… wondering if he’s a TKE or has red hair or majored in marketing.

Back to scented masks: Maybe we should brainstorm a few more ideas, since it seems we’ll be wearing masks until we die and probably after that.

Here are my suggestions. None of them will have a logo or label because my motto is, let ‘em wonder:

Puppy breath


Coppertone suntan lotion

Newly-mowed grass

Baby feet

The beach after it rains

Maple syrup

New teabags

Freshly-sawn lumber

Dog paws (Seriously! I’ve had many dogs, and their paws always smelled like popcorn.)

Birthday cake

Irish butter

Manuka honey

Old-time mimeographed worksheets

Salt marsh

Cotton candy

Jack Daniels’ Tennessee Honey Liqueur

New money (Yeah, I said it.)

Julie R. Smith, who may order a bottle of Aramis, can be reached at widdleswife@aol.com.









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