The smell is the worst part of death. There is something primal that rises up within you, that tells you, “This is bad.” If you don’t think about the philosophical implications of death, the notion that something is gone forever, no one can escape that corrupt ancient feeling when you smell death. When you smell something decaying your entire body is revolted by it. You instantly back up. You pause. Some people want to throw up. The collective memory of our species tells us this is something you should avoid at all cost. Perhaps those who didn’t got exposed to more diseases. Perhaps it is the reptilian portion of our brains telling us to stay alive because death is permanent. Maybe we are repulsed because we don’t quite understand it and that is terrifying. Whatever the reason, I know when the freezer gets full and makes the last half of our building smell, it makes our skin crawl. Everyone avoids it. It’s a silent fear that creeps within. Like the animals’ spirits are crawling out of their bodies haunting us. Not only for the biohazardious reasons, but more so for the peace of our own subconscious minds, we call to dispose of the animals immediately. It is the unconscious mind that is truly nauseated by being so near to death, by the actual discomposing of a body.
I am not grossed out by anatomy, but rotting turns my stomach. I once opened a freezer bag with a dead dog in it only to have its guts drop on my foot. That only made me change my cloths, not want to throw up. It simply was not as upsetting as when I opened a bag with a dead cat in it that had been decaying for days in the sun. When I broke open this bag maggots came spilling out onto the floor and counter. They hadn’t frozen yet. Like rice pellets they fell onto the floor. Too fresh to complete my processing of the animal. It’s not the maggots that made me sick, but the smell. It threw me back into a state that is singularly human. Wrapping up the cat, I put it back down into the freezer to wait for it to be completely frozen. I could deal with it then, perhaps.
I don’t think many people think about the actual decaying process of a body. Most people when we think of death, we think of the soul. We ponder where the conscious has gone. While theses conversations need to be had, there is something about actually seeing decomposition that brings a person back to a time when there was no religion to comfort us. Rotting is something man and beast share alike. Biologically we share the same fate. And it is disgusting. Maybe that is why ancient man started burring their dead, to avoid the smell. All I know is that I will not be able to eat rice for a very long time.