Friday, August 22, 2008

Who Stinks?

"I rejoice that there are owls.”
                                         Thoreau

I have a nose for this sort of thing

Unless I am mistaken, it was a Palawan Stink Badger. I sat behind one in home room in the seventh grade. Because our names were alphabetically proximate, we also ended up sharing a locker that year. So I was close enough to make a pretty good study of him.

A bit paler than most, but Palawan, I am sure. A vile mammal of the weasel family. Closer to a skunk than to the cute but ill-tempered little pests we commonly picture. All the ferocity of the American badger with the further attribute of highly potent anal gland secretions – which secretions are generously and very accurately dispensed, at even slight provocation, with often devastating effects.

He used to steal aftershave and cologne from the local drugstore – no doubt when he purchased his cigarettes. And so his shelf was conscientiously stocked with Lucky Strikes (concealed in the way only a seventh-grader can believe will avoid detection) Jade East, English Leather and, for a while, Hai Karate. An obese, chain-smoking pre-teen with a sailor’s supply of cheap perfume.

Dear old Mr. Kent would wonder aloud “What is D— doing with all that aftershave in his locker?” I am sure he suspected my locker-mate of distributing the stuff, but I learned that year that an ordinary man’s dealer’s supply can be a desperate man’s personal stash. Especially when you are talking about scents with enough potency to match the output of those anal glands under even the greatest duress.

Owls – yes please. But I do not rejoice that there are Palawan stink badgers.

"Such, such were the joys . . ."

1 comment:

Todd Sharek said...

Did you just come from therapy? What on God's green Earth would have prompted you to travel down this road of olfactory nostalgia?