Thursday, November 29, 2007

Poll Cat




It is widely thought that I am a little strange. Not in a bad way, but in an amusing, friendly way. Let it never be said that I am not in touch with who I am.

Much has been made of the fact that the sense of smell is extremely powerful in its ability to evoke memory and emotion. That said, I hope you will read the entire piece before you dismiss me as completely nuts, especially in light of my next statement.

I am not averse to the occasional scent of skunk. You could even stretch it a little and say that I actually kind of like it. In small doses. Yeah, and now here I go, trying to justify my assertion.

When I was in fourth, fifth and sixth grades, our school building apparently attracted skunks when the weather would turn cool. They would get in under the building and either mark their territory a little bit, or get aggravated by the rats protecting their home. We would come to school in the morning, sometimes with a faint “bouquet d’Mustelidae” in the air. The school day would progress as usual, with no frantic calls to parents to evacuate because of a dangerous chemical release. Students and teachers alike would marinate all day in the perfume. There were no ill effects recorded. Olfactory fatigue was designed by our Creator for just such occasions.

Sometimes, a polecat would amble through the yard at our house, maybe startle and squirt a little, and then keep moving. One time my dad was forced to dispatch one with my .22 pellet gun, because it apparently got drunk and came in looking for trouble. I held the flashlight for the operation. We had a cat, and didn’t like the idea of her wearing eau de LePew for a week or more.

GranMommy’s house had her share of polecat visits as well. Most were only the passing odor of a shopper. But there was the implied excitement of the chance of Mike Barnett chasing it across the front yard with a broom. That only actually happened once, but the possibility of a repeat was always anticipated whenever we smelled that smell.

My cousin had a dog that would routinely challenge skunks, and would thus be banished for two weeks only to be able to return to the back porch pending a family review.

But overall, I suppose the scent of a skunk reminds me of the simpler times when it was possible for wildlife to interact with “civilized folks”, and when the worst thing that could happen was that you would forget some inconsequential factoid about Massachusetts on a Geography test.

So, true to the title, I am taking a poll. In the comments, please confess whether you are mortally offended by the smell of a skunk, or does it spark nostalgia. Those of you concerned with your credibility and “image” need not use your usual names…

If anyone else owns up, I’ll post an update.

9 comments:

the photoSmith said...

agreed. it's so bad you almost like it. i remember driving over one on a road trip and thinking the other people in the might has let one slip, thankfully it was a skunk...

invigilator_tex said...

Dude,
Up until now I thought my sister was the only miscreant in the world who thinks the smell of a skunk is “pleasant”. Thank god you two never met. Can you imagine the offspring of such a pairing? I shudder to think of it.
My parents’ centennial farmhouse had a pair of skunks living under it. They captured one and sent it to the cornfield, but the other evaded arrest. This was several years ago, but to this day in the upstairs bedroom (the one designated to my family during annual visits) during certain climatic conditions the unmistakable odor of polecat wafts up from the crawl space far below. I’m now thinking there might be a niche market in the bed and breakfast circuit world for them to supplement their paltry Social Security income.
aA, what do you think about a lovely country vacation in rural Michigan? I could probably arrange a (not so) sweet deal for ya…
As for myself. The smell of skunk makes me want to projectile vomit. Once the smell is in my nose it seems to permeate the very nasal hairs, lasting upwards of a week or more.

aA said...

invigilator: perhaps if you chased the skunks with a CAR and not your TEETH, the smell wouldn't permeate your nose hairs so solidly. you're not supposed to bite them!

Howlsatmoon said...

Heh, if miscreant he is, then I also, and proudly claim the title.

As a young Cub of about 10, I "rescued" a baby skunk whose mama had been hit down the road.

I was "attracted" to the smell, and there she was. Teeny and harmless looking, momma all flat and such.

I stuffed her in my jacket pocket and took her home.

The folkes figured that a skunk had moved in outside my bedroom and it took my Sire about a month to figure out I was storing the little creature under my bed.

He didn't make me get rid of it, but I had to help him make a skunk hutch and she moved permanently to the outside world.

This was before de glanding was popular, but in the three or four years I had her, she only sprayed once, and I didn't like that friggin kid anyway.

Smell of skunks? Yeah buddy.

Or, even more succinctly and to show my knowledge of arkane languages, I think you folkes would say,

"Smell of skunks?" "I Tell you what!"
Thanks, aA
Wollf

zetsubou said...

I never smelled skunk before.

But I can tell you, maybe its same thing with gasoline, as a kid I used to stretch to smell the glorious wonder that is gasoline every time my parents stopped for it. And they would freak out about it, it was an odd comforting smell.

Maybe that has to do with allot of problems I have ... >_>

aA said...

zet...my mother suffers from a similar affliction. her uncle used to own a service station and she liked hanging out there. she feels the same about diesel exhaust for some reason as well.

that kinda explains a lot, doesn't it?

Stepsistaahhh said...

aa...I'm kinda like your Mom...I used to like hanging out at truckstops but it had nothing to do with the smell of diesel. On the subject of pole cats (my family is from DEEP East Texas), I never was one to really hate the smell...unless it was really fresh and really close.

My favorite 'smell' story is connected with my sister...aa, you requested crap like this so you will have to live with it... As a kid in the north side of Houston, we used to go crawfish catching in the ditches and their little mud spouts. We were especially proud of two big ones and decided that we would make them into pets. The only thing we had available for a home was a Sucrets (sp?) box which I promptly got an ice pick and punched holes in. Sandy also tied it shut with twine just so they couldn't flip the lid and get out. We dropped water and shoved uncooked rice in it everday (what do those things eat?) for about a week. Then, the proverbial happened, we found something else to do. Put it up on a divider between the kitchen and dining room and promptly forgot out Amos and Andy.

About a week later, Momma started tearing the house apart trying to find out what was smelling. Made my Daddy get under the house with a big flashlight. It got to be really stifling...right in the kitchen area. The maid we had (no, we weren't rich...at that time it was cheaper to have someone live-in than to hire a babysitter) found our forgotten pets. I would say that they had turned legs up and died but there wasn't room enough for that.

After that, Momma promised us that she would furnish housing and food for anything else we wanted to bring home.

Rob V. said...

In your polecat "poll," put me down as one who is offended by skunk odor. Funny how it does trigger memories -- such as driving on country backroads and coming across a dead skunk and nearly gagging from the stench. It also brings back memories of the words to a song that was popular (I think back in the 1970s) -- "You got your dead skunk in the middle of the road and it's stinking to high heaven." I always wondered how that song ever made it on any playlists of any radio stations. Just shows to go you that there's no accounting for the taste of some people.

aA said...

THIS is what i wanted! cool stories, all. truth is better than fiction, and the best fiction is based on real live truth.

thanks people! you are now free to think of other things.