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Don’t new tools smell great? You open the box and a burst of combined aromas hit you smack in the face: plastic, clean cardboard packing, metal, rubber, a light hint of oil. It’s a recognizable smell that bursts forth from any new tool fresh in the box. It triggers a feeling I can’t quite describe.

The psychologists probably have a long Latin name for it, but the phrase “memory trigger” is one I’ve heard real people like you and me use. These are things that without warning give you a sudden “blast from the past” of a certain event, person, experience or just a general time in your life. Don’t know what I mean? Sure you do. Your age may factor into this, as some of these things may have been around before you were, but see if the following items trigger anything for you.

• A freshly opened box of crayons. (Not generic crayons, genuine Crayolas.)
• Someone getting up before you and putting coffee on while you’re still in bed.
• The first time you crack open a new book.
• A brand new record album, right after peeling off the plastic. (I’m talking 33-1/3 here, not a CD.)
• The fresh mimeograph sheets your teacher passed out.
• Gasoline.
• Bread in the oven.
• A puppy.
• Your house the first day your Christmas tree is up.
• The combined wood/ozone scent when crosscutting a board on the table saw.
• A new car.

The above things always send my mind reeling.

Some remind me of distinct times: The mimeograph takes me to Mrs. Shelton’s class when I was in first grade back in the late ’50s. It was a Tuesday. Raining. Betsy Allison sat in the desk next to me. Others are less specific, and some aren’t specific at all. And yet they always make me feel good – I have no memory triggers for bad things or bad times.

I mention this because I’m currently working on a roundup-style tool review of circular saws, and right now I have eight open boxes of new saws in my shop. Just opening the door I’m awash in the wonderful aroma of new-tool smell whenever I go out there. The scent takes me to no time or event I can recall, but the aroma is so wonderful that in the last week I’ve found myself popping my head into the shop at odd times when I’m busy doing something else, for no other reason than to drink in that smell for a few moments, close my eyes, and enjoy it.

As I write this, it’s just after 10:30 p.m., and doing this blog is the last thing I’ll do before calling it a night.

Well, almost the last thing …

Till next time,

A.J.

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