Is it possible to poison oneself with a spritz from a 30-year-old bottle of perfume?  Can one create their own self-inflicted bioterror attack and suffer the consequences for three straight days of full-body sneezing?  I am here to testify that it is not only possible, it just happened to me!

I have been sneezing for three straight days.  Sneezing, with the full force of a repulsing body, makes daily tasks impossible to perform because you close your eyes when you sneeze.  So, trying to walk or type is an impossibility when you’re spraying the world around you with a fine, but deadly, sinus misting every ten seconds.

I rarely sneeze.  I use a neti pot daily.  I am careful with my health.  Yet, something snared me last week and put me in this sneezing tizzy like no other.  At first, I thought I was just having an ordinary pollen exposure and I was reacting to that environmental risk — but I realized we’ve had really high pollen counts in the past and I haven’t been put down like this.

So, the INTJ in me started working in the subconscious and I reckoned back to a moment of discovery that may have been moment zero of my infection.  In my regular office Spring cleaning, I found a 30-year-old bottle of men’s cologne my cousin had given me long ago.  I wasn’t sure why I had saved a full bottle of expensive cologne — but in the spirit of remembrance and nostalgia — I decided to give myself a few mistings from the bottle to remind me of the good and innocent days of long ago.

Ah!  The lemony scent!  Oh, the light bouquet of flowers lilted under my tickled nose.  And then it happened.  I sneezed like I had never sneezed before in my life.  Long.  Loud.  Rafter-shattering.

I instantly remembered why I had never used the cologne.  It made me sick then as it had now!  Why would I save such a shiny and pristine bottle that held my own death recipe?  I quickly washed my face and changed my clothes but, I fear, the omega seed was planted, and I was deep into the alpha bounty with no way out.

I had poisoned myself with nostalgia!

I sneezed a few more times that day, and then I become busy and lost track of the cause and tried to carry on with my life.  As the hours passed, and the days became blessed with multiple “Bless You!” offerings from strangers on the street, I now believe I found the cause of my current consternation.

My own memory of reconnection and rebirth sickened me and I haven’t yet stopped paying the price for a few precious scents from the past.  Beware of unused gifts from your antiquity!  There’s a reason they’ve gone untouched for three decades!


  1. Good advice, David. Elizabeth and I have been slowly cleaning out the old stuff onto which we have each clung over the years and asked ourselves the hard questions — do we really need this? Does it serve any purpose? Does it do any good other than to make us sneeze every time we open the box to get to it? Get better soon — I have been sneezing quite a bit from allergies, and it is no fun!

    1. Yes, we have way too much stuff here, too. I think the rule is, “If you haven’t used it in three years, throw it out!” Janna replies to that saying, “I haven’t been able to access it for three years because it’s in storage!”

      Old stuff does tend to cling to infectious things. Caution, and cleaning materials, should always be nearby. Beware the evil spores!

  2. I reemeber being told that some perfumes deterioate over time – I alos know that a lot of perfumes and aftershaves of the date you are referring to may well have used ingredients that are considered unsafe today – or you could just be allergic to one of the ingredients. When I moved I threw all of mine out – they had not been used for years and I saw no use for them in the future – I got told off by my daughters!

    Heat and light can affect any deterioration as well.

    Hope the sneezing stops soon

    1. I think there was definitely some sort of deterioration happening here!

      The nozzle on the spray bottle was also wonky, so instead of spraying the air in front of me so I could “walk through the misting cloud” — I got blasted right in the face! Now I imagine the old droplets shooting straight up my nose! SMILE!

  3. the thought of something foreign hitting your squeaky clean sinuses is NOT good …………………………

  4. I’ve heard of colognes deteriorating over time too– but I probably would have given in and done the same thing out of curiosity! I fool myself like that all the time: randomly decide to keep something, look back on it occasionally, assume I kept it for an important reason, save it some more… and repeat!

    1. Yes, it was a ridiculous moment in time, Emily! I have now had enough of the sneezing and the waterfall runny nose. There’s no end in sight!

    1. Thank you, my delightful friend! I keep hoping for forward change and even gave in and bought some sort of liquid medication to try to curb the symptoms so I can begin to think again.

  5. I think I’m going through my cologne stash as soon as possible. “Always learn from the lessons of others” is my motto.

    Thanks for sharing.

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