Slate: The Dangers—and Surprising Pleasures—of Being Born Without Smell

“I remember walking into my home with my father and brother, and as soon as we walked through the front door, they both said, ‘Ah, spaghetti for dinner.’ ” Kline said. “When I breathed in, all I got was warm air. I didn’t understand how warm air equated to ‘We’re having spaghetti for dinner.’ ”

Kline is a congenital anosmic, a technical term for those who have been unable to smell since birth. However, it wasn’t until her forties that she realized her inability to smell had a name. “My daughter came home from school and she had had a psychology class and she said, what you have is congenital anosmia,” Kline recounted. “I looked it up and I was like, holy shit, I have a name. That is exactly what I am.”

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