Wild Kingdom

One of the truly wonderful things about Colorado’s Front Range is the climate. Even on warm days like we’ve lately been having, in the low nineties, it cools down at night. Before I go to bed I open the windows, set up some fans to pull in the fresh air, and voilà, the nerve center of Iconoclastic Press is comfortable all day long.

Another wonderful thing is the wildlife. For instance, long before General Palmer cast his entrepreneurial eye on the future Newport of the Rockies, a family, or several families, of skunks (Mephitis mephitis) have made their happy home somewhere near the creek that runs at the bottom of the hill upon which sits the nerve center of Iconoclastic Press.

Several times a year the faint odor of low molecular weight thiol compounds wafting through the clear Colorado air reminds us interlopers that we are not the only ones who enjoy life along the Front Range, and occasionally, once every two years or so, we are reminded of this with a vengeance. As the skunk is a crepuscular animal, this generally occurs while the official Iconoclastic Press fans are hard at work pulling the surrounding air into the house.

Let me tell you a story:

Unfortunately, my dear backdoor neighbors used to have an annoying little dog that yipped all day long, that, one day, bit their little girl. Fortunately, they got rid of the dog. Unfortunately, they replaced it with an epically foolish golden retriever named Dar. One night, about two or three AM, Dar was frantic to go outside. Fortunately, he was able to wake his master, who opened the sliding glass door into the backyard so that Dar could hurl himself across the yard at the animal who had invaded his territory. Unfortunately, that animal was a skunk. Dar got so close to the skunk before recoiling in amazement and dashing back inside the house that his face was literally dripping with low molecular weight thiol compounds, which he proceeded to distribute throughout my neighbor’s happy home.

Unfortunately, this was in the middle of the summer, and my fans were going full bore.

Normally I am a very sound sleeper, but there is at least one thing in this world that will bring me instantly from dreamland into a state of alertness.

Although I leaped out of bed and shut off the fans and closed the windows for the night, it took a good week of airing out the house before I could enjoy the act of breathing again. My neighbor’s house stunk for a month.

About three o’clock this AM I woke to a familiar acrid scent in my nostrils. At these times a boy has to quickly decide: Does it make more sense to shut everything down and allow the thiols already in the house to settle, or to keep the fans going in the hope that the epicenter is far enough away that the fans will have sucked out the stench and brought in fresh air by morning?

 

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