Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Moral dilemmas stink

Here's something my mom shared recently:

"I had an unusual encounter the other day. It's 4:15 in the morning and I am leaving our complex to go to work. In the middle of the parking lot is a skunk that is staggering around because he had a cardboard coffee cup stuck on its head. I really felt sorry for the guy but didn't want to take the chance of getting either sprayed or bitten by a rabid animal. Everyone at work would have loved me if I came in smelling like skunk."

That is a toughie.

Skunks are harmless unless provoked and they're kind of cute. They're basically kitty cats with an incredibly effective chemical weapon. Nobody wants to see one in distress. The cardboard cup would obviously not be stuck on his head if not for some slovenly, careless human being. Anybody who is a responsible member of the human race would recognize that and want to make things right by removing the cup and disposing of it properly as something of a gesture of apology. However, the skunk was undoubtedly in an "Ohshit!Ohshit!Ohshit!" state of mind. Blind, disoriented and with one single method of self defense at it's disposal, it probably felt like Clarice Starling stumbling around in the basement after Buffalo Bill turns off the lights and puts on his night vision goggles:

Yeah, mom, there is no way you don't get sprayed in that situation.

If you've never smelled skunk spray, it's impossible to describe because it doesn't smell like anything else. It's pungent enough to ward off bears, you can smell it up to a mile away, a concentrated dose of it up close can cause skin irritation, even temporary blindness and nature came up with that shit all by itself before we started discarding our coffee cups on the ground. When I was at Fort Knox, the place was overrun by skunks at night and we were instructed in no uncertain terms to give them a wide berth, even if it meant temporarily abandoning a guard post. By day, we trained to battle the armies of the mighty Soviet Union and by night we hid from Pepé Le Pew. That's how powerful skunk spray is.

And this doesn't even take into account the rabies factor.

So the choice is attempt to remove the cup from the poor animal's head and get drenched in flaming, toxic ass-urine and/or a bite that results in a viral zoonotic neuroinvasive disease that causes acute encephalitis. Or hope the skunk figures out how to get it off by itself, with or without the help of his anthropomorphic woodland pals.
Like I said, that is a toughie. I don't honestly know what I would have done (although I have a pretty good idea). I'm just kind of glad to see that I'm not the only one in my family who finds themselves in these kinds of predicaments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Srsly, how are you NOT FAMOUS???? I don't know another writer who can make a story about a skunk with a cup on it's head informative AND hilarious.