It looks like we may be in for another flurry of first-person anosmic essays in the legacy media. The last burst of activity ran from 2003 to 2008; the new cycle began in mid-2010 and continued its upswing this week.
On Monday, using Valentine’s Day as a story hook, thirty-five-year-old Stephen Adams took to the pages of the UK’s Telegraph to describe the anosmia which began after he suffered a head cold.
Eighteen months ago, my sense of smell largely deserted me. With it went some of my sense of taste, leaving me with a much reduced palate and a narrow range of alien flavours.As per the rules of the genre, Adams offers a list of experts consulted; in his case they are Prof. Tim Jacobs at Cardiff University in Wales, and an ENT specialist. The ENT orders nasal endoscopy to look for polyps and a CT brain scan to look for a tumor. Both results are negative.
Adams, like Lowndes, fails to mention the 2004 Nobel Prize for the discovery of olfactory receptors. Perhaps this is merely old-fashioned Anglo anti-American snobbery or perhaps the Nobel is no longer a key feature of the genre.
Meanwhile, the jury is still out on my two key literary predictions: no sign yet of I-am-a –celebrity-anosmic essays, nor of soul-searching reflections by researchers seeking more grant money. But the cycle is young and time will tell.