Friday, May 26, 2006

The SmellMobile

Some time ago, Anne and I were going to meet Mr. and Mrs. Incrivel for a movie.

It was dark out. It was freezing cold, with a bit of frost on the roadway. We pulled out of our neighborhood onto the highway. I caught a glimpse of something on the road in front of us.

We had just pulled through Mach 1 and were approaching Mach 1.5. Whatever it was, it was big. Bigger than the usual stuff you see lying on the road. In the few microseconds that passed, I had the following thought process:

1) There's no time to avoid whatever this thing is.
2) If I try to swerve, I'll end up hitting it with the tires
2a) If it's "squishy", that means it will make a huge mess
2b) If it's not squishy, it's probably a tree trunk and it will blow the tire out and bend the rims
3) No. Time. To. Stop.
4) If I maintain current heading, it will (hopefully) pass between the tires, and pass under the vehicle. The car will (hopefully) clear whatever this thing is.
4a) If it's "squishy," nothing will happen
4b) If it's not squishy, it's probably a tree trunk, and it will rip off my oil pan, transmission, and/or some other really expensive under-the-car-thing that my mechanic has yet to explain to me.

That thought process complete, along with a reflective smile upon my 7th birthday party held in the backyard of my suburban Chicago boyhood home, we impacted.

Me (recovering from impact): It was a log!!

Anne: What's that smell?!

Me: What the..? Whew...

Me/Anne, in unison: SKUNK!

Me: So, it wasn't a log? That was one big skunk! (not to mention rather rigid)

Anne: The smell, the smell!
Married life is so glamorous. We got to the movie theater, and I couldn't get skunk smell out of my olfactory glands for the next two hours. The movie let out very late, and we were walking through the freezing cold parking lot trying to remember where we parked the car.

Then, we caught a whiff. Oh, the car must be this way... Sure enough, there was the SkunkMobile. We smelled our way to the car. We tried to hit one of those gas station car washes on the way home, but they were all closed due to the cold temperatures.

After numerous car washes, the trained nose could still detect skunk. Someone said to wash the car in tomato juice. Absurd! Okay, I admit, I considered it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Stranger in a Strange Land

This memory came to mind this morning on my way to work. No particular reason, just popped into my thoughts.

A year or so before I joined the church, my brother moved to Utah. My brother looks nothing like me, which I suppose works to his advantage. I will say that he's not really a "churchy" kind of person. He's more your mountain man stock. Not that mountain men can't be churchy, but you get the point.

So, here he is, living in Utah. And he was in the Air National Guard. While at guard duty on one occasion, he overheard two other guys talking. This would have been 1991 or 1992, thereabouts. Which, if you will recall, is shortly after the end of the Cold War.

Keep in mind, as you read this, that my brother understood "mission" in a military context, more specifically, an Air Force context, along the lines of flying a plane someplace to blow stuff up.

Man 1: I got home from a mission last month.

Brother, thinking: Mission? Wow, these guys get to see some action... At least it won't be boring.

Man 2: Where to?

Brother, thinking: Must not have been anything sensitive if he can talk about it openly...

Man 1: Russia.

Brother, thinking: Russia?! What the... we're going into Russia??

Man 2: Nice. My mission was in Mexico.

Brother, thinking: ...!!
Anyway, it didn't take too long for him to figure out the Utah, more specifically, the LDS context of "mission". But I always found that story entertaining. Think twice next time you talk about a "ward", "companion", "mission", "gold plates", what have you, around someone not familiar with our faith.