Sunday, April 27, 2008
Stuff About Me #2: Skunks
About a year ago I was out running at dusk and as I turned a corner in the woods (bet you didn't know that there ARE corners in the woods) and started downhill I heard a fairly loud aerosol-type sound. Weird. Ran a few yards then stopped to see if there was really anything back there. Mr. Skunk had taken a point-blank shot at me from behind the bush, but missed because he flunked out of quarterback school and forgot to lead me. He shot where I had been, not where I was, if you catch my drift. Fortunately I didn't catch his. It's a heady experience to have a skunk shoot at your from close-range and miss. You should try it someday.
Also last year I turned another corner (same woods) and found a skunk in mid-trail staring at me. I turned and ran slowly away, and HE STARTED CHASING ME! I decided it would be a good time for some speed work and Thumper gave up after a 100 yards. I didn't say, "neener-neener."
Several years ago I came around yet another corner (the woods is full of them) and found myself face-to-"face" with the business end of a skunk, about 10 feet away. Nothing to do but keep running on the curvy trail so I did. He was a little slow on the release so I got by unscathed. Its a heady experience to find yourself running toward the b.e. of a skunk, tail up, cocked and ready to fire and escape unsprayed. You should try it someday.
My non-escape was about 7 years ago and I never even saw the skunk. Approaching home after dark, Teddy the Wonder Dog (occasionally she wonders if she is a dog, but quickly dismisses the thought), ran ahead toward a culvert. I kept walking and found myself in a mist of nuclear-strength odor. This is not like the smell you smell when you pass a dead skunk on the roadside: that smell is not so bad. This is a smell so powerful it hurts. This is a "never-ever-ever-again-if-I-can-help-it" smell.
After a moment I couldn't smell it anymore, on myself or on Teddy. Strange. Maybe we had some sort of skunk-repellent shields that kept the cloud from sticking to us? Just to be safe, instead of walking right in the house I knocked on the door to ask Mrs Runalong if perchance she smelled anything. She opened the door, I said, "Do...", and she slammed the door and ran away screaming something incoherent. Apparently the blast was so odorific it caused my olfactory nerves to completely shut down. The nose knows what to do in such situations! This was not a heady experience and I don't recommend it.