What Smails?

My wife’s sister, Beth has a pretty good sense of humor. She lives out in Kansas where people speak differently than they do out here in the mid-west.

A couple years ago, she was visiting and had come up with a phrase that embraced/mocked the Kansas-accent. I took great delight in consistently hearing her ask her brother, “what smails? Matt, you smail.”

My wife and I have come to love that phrase and have used it ever since.

Me: “What do you want for dinner tonight?”

Natalie: “Let’s get some Taco Smails.”

Me: “What smails? Matt, you smail.”

…and we giggle as we turn into Taco Bell/Hell/Smell/Smails.

The other day, I walked into the house from the garage and smelled something subtly awful in the house. I couldn’t figure out what it was or where it was coming from, but it seemed to permeate the whole upper floor. It wasn’t powerful, but it was sour and seemed to be noticeable for the first 15 seconds until my nasal passages got used to it.

I walked into the family room where Natalie was sitting and asked, “ew! What smails?”

My wife sniffed the air and said, “I don’t smell anything.”

My response was, “I don’t smell it as bad now, but I did when I came in… something smails!”

Now, a typical response would be to go find the smell, eradicate it and move on with life, but this is where the story takes a turn: Natalie turned to me and said, “You know what that is? It’s boogers. You probably have boogers in your nose and they stink. When you have stinky boogers, everything smells bad.”

I knew she was kidding. I knew that in that snap of a moment, she came up with that on the fly as a humorous little comment to throw out there for a quick laugh, which we did. The embarrassing thing is, for a split-second, I took her seriously.

It’s times like those that the left side of my brain (the sensible, logical, thinking side) reaches over and smacks the right side (the creative, emotional and utterly gullible side).

Upon hearing that the only possible solution to the smells I smelled had to be my own boogers, I grabbed a tissue and blew my already clean nose.

By now, I’d been in the house for probably a good two minutes. I couldn’t smell the stench any longer. I took a sniff, didn’t smell it anymore and figured, “problem solved. It must have been boogers after all.”

Hours later that night, as I was taking my shoes out to the garage, I smelled the smell again. This time it was overpowering and nauseating.

“For the love of all that is good and holy, WHAT IS THAT SMELL?”

Tied to the garage door handle was a plastic bag full of chicken guts from a previous meal.

My wife had hung it there three days prior, assuming I would see it and take it out to the trash… which I did, once I knew it was there.

You gotta understand: just thinking about that smell initiates my gag reflex. It was that bad.

That night, we were snuggled into bed, falling asleep, when I sat bolt-up, and yelled, “BOOGERS?!?!?!?”

…which is now our new response to, “what smails?”