I’m a Grinch. A Scrooge. An Oscar the Grouch. At least online I am. I embrace sarcasm about the Internet out of self-protection. You need to accept me as I am. I am petty, passive aggressive, hoping to rip down the entire facade of our “community” and show you the emperor’s nakedness. I do not build up. I destroy. I don’t inspire others. I throw the wood into the flames. If you hate drama, run. If you think it is easy being a Grouch, it isn’t. There are always naive people trying to wear you down, as determined as Jehovah’s Witnesses wanting you to see the light.
Last night, I was reading Kim’s blog, Kimperative. She was doing a meme. One of the questions was this:
Q: Name one scent that brings back a very pleasant memory from your past.
A: Honeysuckle. It reminds me of walking with my grandmother over the hill on hot days, and nectar on my tongue.
I tried to visualize honeysuckle, and my mind went as blank as a white wall. The smell of honeysuckler — nothing. The taste of honeysuckle — nada.
I wrote this comment on Kim’s post:
To be honest, I’m not even sure I know the scent of honeysuckle, and it is extremely frustrating right now because you can’t just search for a smell on Google.
Do you notice how I manipulated Kim’s post into a discussion about myself? That’s because I am a self-absorbed jerk. And like it that way.
But did I stop there? Of course not! I saw this honeysuckle issue as a way to send a “f**k you” to anyone who ever said that online life was “real.”
My status update on Facebook:
I’m reading a blogging friend write about her strong memory of smelling honeysuckle at her grandfather’s house, and I don’t think I ever smelled honeysuckle. And I’m realizing one of the biggest limitations of online life — you can’t search for the smell of honeysuckle on Google.
The update may not sound controversial, but the intent was evil. I wanted to pull the rug out from everyone’s happiness. The underlying message: Sure, we can use writing, photos, and videos online, but we will NEVER be able to touch, taste, or smell another person online, and those are the SEXIEST senses of them all ! Who wants to live like a robot, just interacting with data? Our entire experience is FAKE!
The best part of this argument was that there was no way to refute it. I had won. I destroyed the internet. I brought up the fundamental fact that no one else would discuss: We could never discover the smell of honeysuckle online. We were eunuchs online, half-men and half-women, never to find true happiness.
Being a believer in science, I did some experimenting with Google just to prove my point.
I searched “honeysuckle.”
I found photos. A nature video.
I found a quote from Shakespeare’s A Midsummers Night Dream” —
So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
Gently entwist. The female ivy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
Oh, how I love thee! How I dote on thee!
I found the lyrics to the classic Fats Waller tune, Honeysuckle Rose —
Every honey bee fills with jealousy,
when they see you out with me.
You’re my honeysuckle rose
When you’re passin’ by flowers droop and sigh,
and I know the reason why.
You’re my honeysuckle rose
Google was useless. It was as if a billion dollar operation had suddenly fallen on her knees, like a once mighty statue turned to dust. There was no finding the smell of honeysuckle.
My Facebook status update said it all. It was so powerful in content, my blogging friends were running scared, as if this was the final day prophesized by the Mayan calendar. My friends turned desperate, taking frantic stabs at proving to me that the internet COULD show me the smell of honeysuckle.
But I just LAUGHED at your petty attempts.
From Kendra —
I find it nice for about 1.3 seconds then it’s too sweet and perfum-y. Very strong, very distinctive.
From Wendy —
Honeysuckle is kind of a slightly lemony smell, but sweet. Like a sweet lemon pie. If smell had a shape/feel, it would be like one of those squishy nubby balls. It’s soft and round, but with some bright points. If it was a color, it would be electric blue with yellow whorls.
From Marla —
Right now ( and every year around this time) the air outside of my home smells like melted butter and sugar. It is the most amazing thing…stars, dandelion poofs and sweet butter. Yummy.
From Suzanne —
I grew up with honeysuckle in my backyard. I was at Huntington Gardens about a week ago and as soon as I smelled it I flashed back to the house I grew up in. Scent can evoke so many memories …!!
From Sarah —
I used to smell the honeysuckle when I’d run behind VMI in college. it was a big realization to me — that I was smelling honeysuckle — and it was a paradigm shift, from my lilac-scented NW upbringing to this subtler but more seductive fragrance of the south.
From Kristen —
There’s this incredible honeysuckle bush that I’ve been meaning to shoot a photo of…
Have you ever read anything more pathetic than these Facebook comments? Like trying to tell an atheist that he should pray to God.
The INTERNET WAS USELESS. It was limited. It was created for self-promotion, information-overload, and porn. It could never be REAL. It could never produce the scent of honeysuckle.
And then Wendy, a blogger at Notes From the Sleep Deprived, spoke up, in a voice not unlike that of Little Cindy Lou Who, the littlest Who in Whoville, transforming the Grinch forever.
HEY!!! I can mail you some in a ziploc. I’m not positive it would work, but everyone should enjoy the smell of honeysuckle.
My reign of terror was over. Like King Kong at the end of the movie, I fell off the empire State Building, defeated by a momblogger from South Carolina.
“Case closed,” said Wendy, “And f**k you, Neil — you can discover the scent of honeysuckle through the Internet.”
For the last few days, my social media stream has been overloaded by messages from one of those blogging conventions that seem to happen every other month nowadays. There were constant tweets and updates about influence, sponsorship, and inspiration. But no one at this conference was really paying attention to what was actually occurring ONLINE. Wendy from South Carolina had just singlehandedly saved the Internet from utter destruction. Not only for me, but for all of us. Because of her, we now know — as a fact — that you CAN use the Internet to do anything, even smell the scent of honeysuckle.
Which means it IS REAL.