Russ Kent: The subject of this column stinks


A gaggle of geese, a pod of whales, a flock of birds, a herd of cattle, a nest of rabbits, a school of fish, a litter of pigs, a pride of lions and a pack of wolves … all names for groups of animals.

And I knew them all. Years of watching ‘Jeopardy’ has resulted in a treasure trove of useless trivia in my brain.

These ones I didn’t know … until I looked them up.

A gang of elk, a troop of kangaroos, a sleuth of bears, a charm of finches, a rafter of turkeys, a knot of toads and a band of gorillas — that one makes absolutely no sense. There is only one musical band of animals in my opinion, and that’s the Country Bear Jamboree at Walt Disney World.

The name that makes the most sense to me? A pride of lions. In my mind, there is no more regal and noble animal. The king of the jungle? You bet. I can imagine no animal that fits my definition of the word prideful.

My favorite is a company of parrots. I like that one. I may have seen this in a cartoon somewhere, but I picture the head parrot dressed as a general, in the Air Force, and his parrots dressed in their finery standing at attention as the general barks — or squawks — out orders.

Anyway, what sparked this fact-finding mission Monday evening was the smell emanating from my backyard as I walked Miss Beatrix.

There were skunks out and about Monday evening. A bunch of them, or one very potent one. They were close to my living room, where I was watching TV, and my bedroom window.

I didn’t see them. But I know they were close. There’s a difference between fresh skunk smell and something that has been lingering for a while.

This was fresh.

Which got me to thinking. What do you call a bunch of smelly skunks? A family? A brood? A pride?

I couldn’t find an answer. So I made one up.

They’re stinkers. A stinker of skunks.

Perfect!

Anyone know how to post on Wikipedia?

I live in Galion, near Heise Park. There are skunks in the area. There are skunks all over town. I know more than one family who’s dogs hadclose encounter — or several — with one of those critters. I don’t want to learn how difficult it is to get the stink out of a beloved pet.

But skunks usually behave themselves. They don’t bother me, except if they move into a warm building in my back yard. Which they have … twice.

Perhaps five years ago, a stinker of skunks found the ground beneath a shed in the yard to their liking. Mama moved in and opted to raise the family there. She had at least six little ones. I first noticed them — before I smelled them — when I went to get another piece of wood to throw on my fire pit. I walked around the side of that shed, and there they were, mom in the lead and the little ones in line behind, headed out to see the sights and sounds of West Summit Street on a Saturday night.

We plugged up their hole with a couple pieces of wood and some stones (and a bottle of bleach) and they were never seen from again.

They must have leased the empty space to someone else.

It was the next summer when that familiar smell arrived again. It would not go away, either. I found another entrance to the soft ground under that shed. I plugged it, but they kept digging new doors. They are persistent little fellers. Unable to make much use of the yard, we hired some professional help and he trapped them — which involved pulling up some of the wooden floor in that shed — and I’ve not seen them again.

Although the nose knows they are still around.

But overall, skunks get a bad rap.

They are not unattractive. The way then walk and wiggle, well, it reminds me of people watching on a South Carolina beach. I’ve seen that walk thousands of time. It’s kind of cute.

I hear when de-scented, they make good pets.

My friend Melissa always wanted one. But it is illegal to have one as a pet in Ohio. She checked.

They truly are kind of cute, until something, or someone, scares the smell right out of them.

My neighbor has a shihtzu, Duke is black and white, and his markings are not unlike that of a skunk. I’ve mistaken Duke for a skunk numerous times during a 5 a.m. walk with Beatrix. I’ve also mistaken a skunk for Duke more than once.

The most famous skunk is Pepe LePew, perhaps my favorite Warner Brothers cartoon character.

Pepe was misunderstood.

All he wanted was to be loved. He did all kinds of things to try and make that happen. He was clever and persistent.

How can you not like an animal so in love with the idea of being in love?

And speaking of stinkers.

I’ve about had it with this election cycle. I wish I lived in Montana so as not to be inundated with campaign commercials.

If I never see another a Ted Strickland, Rob Portman, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaign commercial, I will die a happy man.

I’m sick of them. And the longer these ads continue, the less imagination the script writers are.

Pepe LePew’s spiel is more imaginative.

And we still have almost two months to go before the election.

Now that stinks!

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Russ Kent

Inquirer Editor

 

Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer, Morrow County Sentinel and Bellville Star. Email him with comments or story ideas at [email protected]

 

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