♫ Take Me Out of… I mean TO… the Ballgame ♫

Thanks to my niece Maeve earning straight A’s this year (congrats, Maeve!), we all were privileged last night to witness – in person – Homer Bailey pitch a no-hitter against the SF Giants. The anticipation of said event lent a certain edge-of-the-seat aura to the proceedings, especially the last couple of innings. However, other than attending all the Little League games my boys participated in, I am not normally a big baseball fan – particularly the major leagues. And this is why: watching baseball seems to me to be akin to a common description of war, but modified a bit – baseball is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer excitement.

Apologies to my cousin, who is in the sports promotion biz (hmmm… would the game be even duller without all the frippery?) but I think so many “extras” detract from the actual sport: the shell game called guess-which-animated-plate-of-Skyline-chili-the-baseball-is-under-to-win-cheese-coneys-for-your-row; the CEO-throws-out-extra-balls-for-some-company-with-huge-advertisement-billboards-plastering-the-fences show; the kiss-cam (alright, that was slightly entertaining); all the silly “pitches” for everything under the sun that make the game go on waaaaay longer than it already does. Get on with it already!

If you’re watching the game on TV (or listening on radio!) and hear all the screaming and cheering, you might wonder if you’re somehow missing something truly exciting – “What??!! Did I look down to dip my chip into the salsa and miss a triple play?”

No worries. You’re simply unaware of the completely orchestrated nature of being an observer (fan?) at the ballpark. Every rhythmic clapping sequence,  every chorused cheer, dance steps, loud noise of all kinds, is directed by the Jumbotron. The sudden appearance of huge animated, disembodied, Mickey Mouse-like hands tell the spectators when to clap (even then, it seems perfunctory – it all dies down before the hands disappear from the screen); gigantic words scream in vibrating capital letters: CHEER! YELL! MAKE NOISE! MAKE NOISE! MAKE NOISE!; and herds of prancing rhinos stampede across the screen to synthesized trumpet fanfare: CHARGE!

Holy cow! Would no one know what to do without intervention from the Jumbotron? Would everyone just sit there paralyzed, struck dumb? Or possibly cause some unauthorized havoc (as opposed to the customary mayhem of NHL games)?

“What do we do now, Frank?”

“I don’t know, Buddy – maybe throw a water bottle at the ump, or  a cell phone at the opposing pitcher?”

What did people ever do before? Watch the game, maybe, instead of the big screen? Not possible, I guess, in the age of smart phones and 24/7 “entertainment”.

Granted, I did get a bit bored myself, which is one of the things (besides my ignorance of baseball rules) that led to my son having to explain to me how the game qualified as a no-hitter despite SF’s one man left on base: “Mom, you have to get to the base by actually hitting the ball, not on a walk.”

“Ohhhhhh…!”

Due to the lack of action on the field, this fluke probably happened while my sister and I engaged in a hands-on exercise in genetics by comparing our toenails.

“I have horizontal ridges, and you have vertical ones.”

“Huh. I have vertical ridges in my fingernails.”

“Oh, so do I – look! And so does Mom. It must be hereditary.”

I must admit, though, that on the whole, with the crowd on their feet and roaring at the end of the game (not scored by the Jumbotron, thank you very much), the rest of the Reds mobbing the pitcher, and seeing the big, satisfied smiles on my family’s faces, it did turn out to be a rewarding evening. If I’m going to go to a baseball game, this was the one to see!

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The Sidewalks of New York

Sidewalks_of_New_York_cover

East Side, West Side, all around the town
The tots play Ring around Rosie, London Bridge is Falling Down
Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O’Rourke
Tripped the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York.

This could have been the anthem of my childhood, although except for jaunts to Grammie’s in Jamaica, Queens, we did our playing on the streets, sidewalks, and grass of the more bucolic Williston Park, NY (and I wondered aloud just what “trip the light fantastic” was – “Is it some kinda game?”). The song was written in 1894, but 70+ years later, you could still hear kids on our street singing it, and up until 1996, it was used as the “parade to the post” song for the Belmont Stakes horse race.

We played the same kinds of games mentioned in the lyrics, and lots more, many of which were never formalized in any way, but somehow the gangs of Baby Boomers in our neighborhood knew the “rules” and how to participate. (Some enterprising soul must have decided to write them down, however; years back, when my kids were little, I was thrilled to find a book called “Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato and Ha Ha Ha”, a compendium of instructions for lots of those old games.)

bikes

Frequently, our adventures were segregated by sex – either because we each thought the other had cooties, or due to the fact that some games were considered too rough or too prissy. We girls spent a huge amount of time on comparatively rule-free, very sociable activities – roller skating; jumping rope; acrobatic ball-bouncing games using a small, pink Spaldeen; Hot Potato; Hopscotch or Potsie; and Witchdoctor (a game where you joined hands and twisted, walked around and under each other’s arms, – then the “witchdoctor”, who stood aside with eyes covered, would try to get the circle back in shape without anyone breaking their grip). We could while away rainy afternoons in someone’s basement or screened porch playing Miss Mary Mack and a variety of other hand clapping games; we put on plays and had a lot of sing-alongs and noise-making contests using various body parts; Old Maid, Go Fish, and Crazy Eights were our favorite card games, and we’d scream with mock-horror at the Mystery Date board game, where the officially-titled “Dud” looked a lot like the type of guy we’d be most intrigued by a decade later!

roller skates

When we had run through our usual repertoire and didn’t have enough girls to play one of the large group games, we’d troop up and down the street, one foot in the gutter, one on the curb, bouncing up and down with every step. Or several of us would sit on the curb while one person walked slowly down the line, offering her closed fists to each girl in turn,  and we’d try to guess which of her hands concealed a pebble. The “winner” got to take the pebble-hider’s place.

And we generally did this all day. Our moms would send us out in the morning, and except for lunch, they usually didn’t see hide nor hair of us until the six o’clock siren rounded everyone up for dinner.

I don’t know everything the boys did because – as I said – girls were not usually privy to their secret world. When we showed up, there might be a lot of rolled eyes, snickering,  and a chorus of “Ewww… girls!” But we did sometimes witness some of their more public rituals. We (and sometimes the worried and disapproving moms) watched with bated breath while they played Johnny-on-a-Pony, or Buck-Buck. images (1)

This painful-looking game involved two teams of boys who switched roles in successive rounds. The “pony” was formed by one team bending over and hooking their arms around each others’ waists (in a line), with the anchor holding onto a tree or other stationery object for stability. Then the “riders” would come running in, one by one, and with a flying leap, jump on the pony – the biggest kid was usually saved for last. If the pony’s back was broken, the riders won; if not, the pony team prevailed.

Boys also engaged in a lot of war games. The storming of the beaches at Normandy, or in winter, the Battle of the Bulge, were reenacted many times over, complete with aerial dirt bombs and all of those rat-a-tat noises that my brothers seemed especially adept at (I could never do it quite as quickly or convincingly).

Individually, ball games seemed to be most popular. One of my brothers was a stoop ball aficionado, and summer days echoed with the rhythmic ka-thunk-thunk of the ball hitting the stoop and/or door before ricocheting back off to his mitt.

spalding

Even though we spent most of our time engaged in separate activities, the ones we all joined in together seemed to be the most exciting. There were giant (20 or more kids) games of kickball, street soccer, Red Rover, I-Declare-War, Kick the Can, and many variations of tag. The best tag game, and one of the most fun activities of all, was Ringalevio, played with two large teams, a jail, and lots of shouting – “Olly, olly, all-in-free!” and “Tap-tap ringalevio one-two-three!”  I recall one such game played at Alley Pond Park one weekend with a huge gang of my high school friends – I think it went on for 3 or 4 hours!

And one rather lurid memory is of a day we played what we forever after called “Slaves.” The girls (we were about 11 or 12 years old) were bored with our usual games, and probably starting to feel the boys were more interesting than we’d previously thought, so we sought out our brothers and their friends and begged them to play a game with us. They weren’t as thrilled with the idea as we were, but said OK, as long as we played by their rules. We gamely agreed, and soon found ourselves tied up in a bunch (probably with someone’s clothesline jump rope) in a rather dark garage. Then the boys went off to ride bikes,  while we occupied ourselves chatting away and trying to guess what the boys were up to and when they’d be back. When they returned (probably a long while later), they hit us with tennis rackets before they untied us and let us go. Believe it or not, we asked to play this game again, but Slaves was a one-shot deal. I doubt that any of us was much affected by this activity, but in light of my later feminist leanings, it sure does seem strange!

jump rope

As we grew older, hardly any of these games held the allure for us that they once had, and Chuck Berry’s “No Particular Place to Go” would be a good tune to describe the way our days started to feel. But for a short while, we were happy-go-lucky and innocent – the run of the neighborhood, a pink rubber ball, a few pebbles, and each others’ company all we needed to be thoroughly entertained.

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Sail On, Sailor

John Laughlin

John Thomas Laughlin, 60-year resident of Williston Park, NY, died on March 3, 2013, in Hospice at the Tuttle Center. John was born on December 2, 1925, to James Loughlin and the former Mary Mulligan, both relatively recent immigrants from Ireland. This was a time when even a boy in Jamaica, NY, could still roam local woods and fields, and get a bellyache (for cryin’ out loud!) from eating peaches, grapes, and apples pilfered from the neighbor’s yard.

John lost both of his parents at a tender age, and when the siren song of World War II sounded, he enlisted in the US Navy as a stripling of 17, not even waiting for high school graduation. He served in the Pacific Theater, ultimately attaining the classification of Electrician’s Mate and rank of  Second Class Petty Officer. Fortunately, his wartime experience was not especially hazardous, and in later years, he entertained his children with stories of his escapades, including swimming with a monkey in the Philippines, and rescuing a Chihuahua hanging on for dear life to the pitching deck of a ship. Even today, his kids and grandkids can sing all the verses of The Ballad of the 455, commemorating the LSM that carried him across the seas.

Johnny met the love of his life, Pat O’Toole, while selling tickets to a church dance, and asked her to be his date. They were married two years later, on November 26, 1949. On their wedding night, spent at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, John opened a package of mouthwash, and found this serendipitous prediction on the inside wrapper: “Tonight will be wonderful!” It must have been — this past Thanksgiving, John and Pat celebrated sixty-three years as husband and wife.

The happy couple welcomed six children into the world, and John was a devoted dad. Each December saw a veritable feast of gifts under the Christmas tree, his lucky kids being the unwitting beneficiaries of their dad working several jobs, and spending nights in the garage turning neighbors’ outgrown bicycles into shining chariots. John loved to travel, and almost every year there was a vacation of some sort, frequently involving camping, fishing, and hiking, as well as visits to sites of historical interest, especially forts and battlefields of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

Big John could be stern and maybe curmudgeonly at times, but his kids always knew he loved them. He knew how to tell a good joke (and lots of groaners), and could make even putting groceries away fun with the promise of a license-plate-sized chocolate bar when the job was done.  Friday nights were made special with Dad’s homemade ice cream sodas and banana splits (even though he was probably the only one who ate the bananas!).

Although when all those kids started coming, John had to abandon plans for a degree in electrical engineering, he was always curious and spent many, many hours in self-educational pursuits. He hated to waste time, and combining this pet peeve with his love of learning resulted in lists of German verb conjugations posted in the bathrooms and by the telephone.

John could do – or fix — anything! He was a master carpenter, efficient electrician and plumber, and could kill the biggest, hairiest spider without flinching. He was a talented writer, seeing an interesting story in the most mundane circumstances. He also loved poetry, and gave frequent recitations of his favorite piece, The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes (“…tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot…”), to great acclaim.

John was charter member of a local poker group and played for over fifty years, not often winning, but always having lots of fun. One of his favorite activities was singing with the Long Island Harmonizers Barbershop Chorus, and his quartet, the Long Island Express.

John was preceded in death by his sisters Kitty (Joe Cole) and Helen, brothers Jimmy and Joe, niece Beverly Sharkey, and sister-in-law Kay O’Toole. His irrepressible spirit will live on in the fond memories of his devoted and loving wife Pat, and children Terry (Alice McHugh), Steve (Denise Edkins), Moira (Jerry Papania), Pegeen (Kim Korkan), Sean (Cheryl Smith), and Tara, and grandchildren Fiona, Cari (Rich Loveland), Betsy, Eamon, Rourke, Maeve, Rob, Katy, Davis, Sarah, and Andrew, brother-in-law Gerry O’Toole, and many dear nephews and nieces, particularly Barbara Swofford.

In lieu of John’s wish to be fired out of the torpedo tube on a submarine, a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St Aidan RC Church in Williston Park, with interment at Holy Rood Cemetery.

John was fortunate to have had so many loving friends and relatives, and we will all miss him enormously.

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Let’s Misbehave

There’s something wild about you child
That’s so contagious
Let’s be outrageous–let’s misbehave!!!
– Cole Porter

family dinner

Just today, a friend, hearing an anecdote about my childhood (related to food), said she thought growing up with me would have been fun. I guess I do have a lot of stories about coming of age in the Laughlin family, and that some of them are pretty funny, especially in retrospect (although honestly, who tells the sad ones?).

A lot of crazy things happened in our house – particularly, for some reason, at the dinner table. Could be at home, to my parents’ dismay; could even be in a public place, to their embarrassment.  Maybe it was because all of us were together at once, or perhaps it was just an attempt to inject some fun into an otherwise boring event. Even if the food is great, what, to a kid, is entertaining about quietly and politely gathering morsels of whatever on your fork, putting them neatly into your mouth, and chewing them – with your mouth closed, of course – while adults drone on about the price of tea in China? I know I rolled my eyes when an elder would mention that old saw about children being seen and not heard. Even more often, if my mother tried to guilt us into eating something we considered disgusting (like tongue, crowned with a nest of taste buds – ugh), by telling us about the starving children in Biafra, we had a quick and snide comeback: “So send it to them!”

We weren’t bad kids – we were just kids. With brains that raced a million miles an hour, restless legs, lots of energy, things to do, places to go, and people to see. It can be a lot to ask of kids to sit quietly while there’s so much going on in the world. Since there were six of us (children, that is) sitting around the table, that was six times the energy and brain cells. Energy in one kid percolates up, bubbles over, and bumps into the next kid, and it can be like an atomic or chemical reaction – suddenly, there’s chaos!

I can recall several times being stabbed (playfully) with a fork as I reached in front of a sibling to grab a bowl, and one occasion where a brother bit my ankle under the dinner table (this was a teenager, not a toddler), causing me to scream, and everyone else at the table to look my way, eyes wide with alarm.

There were also meals in restaurants that were accompanied by loud laughter and “funny business” (my father’s disapproving term), thankfully, not at high class establishments. With six children, our dining out experiences were more likely to take place at Howard Johnson’s all-you-can-eat nights (my favorite was fried clams), so although other diners may have looked askance at us, we never had to worry about a maitre d’ throwing us out due to the objections of a Thurston Howell the Third.

Reading this, you might think my parents gave up on ever instilling manners in their brood, that they threw up their hands, eyes raised hopelessly heavenward, and sighed, “Oh well… I guess we’ll send a herd of beasts out into the world.” But you couldn’t be more wrong.

They were not permissive and experimental parents. Quite the contrary, in fact – they were very strict, and we all knew what it was like to have our backsides “warmed”, to lose privileges, or be exiled to the foyer during dinner (sometimes multiple times in one meal).

These two saintly folks never threw in the towel. No matter what, they did their level best to civilize us, tame us, make us into gracious and sociable human beings. And on the whole, they did succeed. We could – and still can – be courteous, urbane – dare I say delightful – dinner companions when the occasion calls for it. But we still know how to have fun. And guess what? Now, when we’re all together, and a waiter tell us he’d love to sit down and eat with us while all this funny business is going on, my parents (who are in their 80’s) actually grin, and proudly say, “Yeah – these are our kids – we’re responsible for this gang!”

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I Just Wanna Testify

cholecalciferol

“Friends, inquisitive friends
Are asking what’s come over me
A change, there’s been a change
And it’s oh so plain to see….”

I just want to testify what D3 has done for me
Oh, I just want to testify what D3 has done for me.

Oh yeah, there’s been a change
A change that memory can’t erase
But D3, vitamin D3, keeps that snot
From runnin’ down my face.

Are you educated about vitamin D3? There are all kinds of websites out there that either tout or denounce the ability of vitamin D3 to provide health benefits. It was difficult for me, wading through all the material, to decide whether I agreed more with one side or the other. I tend to be a skeptic (you haven’t guessed this from my cynical writings?), and being trained as a scientist, I like empirical evidence… so I decided to conduct my own experiment.

For years, I suffered from colds and sinus infections. When my son’s allergist suggested to me that allergies might be the cause of my 10-times-a-year sinus infections, I started taking prescription allergy medication, and after switching types a few times, settled on one that really does seem to keep those monsters at bay. (Regular use of a Neti Pot is also a huge help.) But the cold problem wasn’t so easily solved.

One day, while I was researching something else on the web, I came across a reference to vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) being used preventatively against the common cold. This was intriguing. For years, vitamin C has been promoted as the “cure” for the common cold, and although it does seem to provide some relief once you get a cold (or it gets you!), it never seemed, for me, at least, to do anything to prevent getting one in the first place.

After doing some more reading about vitamin D3 – about deficiency, toxicity, etc., I settled on a dose of 2000-4000 IU daily (far more than the RDA of 600 IU, but only a tiny fraction of what’s considered to be a toxic level), and added it to my daily regimen. No horse pills, these – it’s easy to consume this amount, as you can get liquid drops or very small (1/4”) capsules that deliver a dose of 1000-2000 IU.

I’ve been taking vitamin D3 now for well over 2 years, and can only think of one cold I’ve had in all that time – and I attribute that one to a short period that I’d stopped taking the vitamin. I recommend D3 to a lot of people, although they don’t necessarily let me know if they take it, or whether it helps. But my niece, who had been plagued with very frequent head colds, reported to me a few days ago that since she started taking D3 in January, she hasn’t had a single cold!

So – especially now, with winter coming on – if you hate the stuffy-head, runny-nose, scratchy-throat feeling of the common cold, try vitamin D3. It can’t hurt as long as you keep the maintenance dosage under 5000 IU daily (I go up to 4000-6000 IU if I feel any cold symptoms coming on, then go back to my usual dose within a week), and it might just keep you sniffle-free! (Of course, if you have a medical problem that taking D3 might aggravate, or take meds that D3 might interfere with, it’s a good idea to let your doctor know that you’re planning to do this – in my own experience, docs don’t “promote” D3, but neither do they say anything against it – I think they ought to give it a try themselves!)

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[Fake] Food, Glorious Food

Michael Pollan asks in a video why carrots cost more than Twinkies. Although his explanation about wrongheaded agricultural policies makes perfect sense, he might do better to ask why people prefer to eat Twinkies over carrots and other healthy (and delicious) foods.

Here’s my take on it. When I was a kid, there was a TV program hosted by “Uncle” Fred Scott. Curiously, although I loved to watch that show, I don’t remember anything about Fred Scott’s TV program except the commercials, one in particular. I don’t know whether it was for budgetary reasons or what, but Fred did his own commercials – and the one I remember best was for Twinkies.

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The unwrapped delicacies were artfully stacked on a platter (with some off to the side still in their cellophane packages), and just as in this photo, one was cut in half and arranged so that the cream filling was clearly visible. As Uncle Fred spoke about the virtues of these glorified ladyfingers, he prodded the fluffy cream with the business end of a small wooden pointer.

Fred’s description of Twinkies as mouthwatering was the quintessential understatement. With one little jab of a pointer, all semblance of order in our TV room was lost –  I could have used a bib to contain the saliva that was probably pouring from my open mouth, and a chorus of voices called desperately to the kitchen, where mom stood slaving over a hot stove: “Mom, can you pleeeeeease buy some Twinkies???”

Whether it was because we couldn’t afford such extravagances, or that Mom knew most of the the stuff we begged for was garbage, we rarely were granted this wish, and our cries usually went unheeded as Mom or Dad blithely sailed the towering shopping cart past Twinkies, Alpha-Bits and Lucky Charms, Mallomars and soda.

Another of our favorite TV hosts of the time was Sandy Becker, and although I loved his entertaining characters – Norton Nork, the Big Professor (my introduction to Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance), and especially, Hambone – Becker’s own down-home commercials grabbed my attention as well. His main products were Bosco Chocolate Syrup (“milk amplifier”), Bonomo Turkish Taffy and, as an odd counterpoint, Maggio Carrots.

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A large bunch of carrots would be reclining on the studio countertop, and when Becker lifted them up to begin a litany of warm and fuzzy praise, their fernlike green leaves sprang alluringly into view – of course, I had to imagine the rich orange and cool green colors, as we had black and white TV til I was at least 16 – but that didn’t stop me from admiring and coveting this particular brand of carrots.

I begged my mom for Maggio carrots, and oddly, to me, at least, she seemed happy to grant this request. Unfortunately, this dream had a disappointing ending for me, since, as a child, I never warmed to the taste of cooked carrots – it was just too strong for my undeveloped palate.

But back to Michael Pollan and his question about Twinkies vs. carrots….

I hate to admit it, but I’ve always loved Twinkies – at least until I get the package open and a few bites into my mouth. Yes, the cake is moist and the cream as fluffy as promised by Fred Scott’s pointer, but after I’ve been chewing for a few seconds, the cloyingly sweet and slightly chemical-y taste comes to the fore, and the snack ends up less satisfying than I might have imagined. However, childhood memories and desires die slowly, and sometimes, after months of boycotting the Hostess aisle, I again succumb to their counterfeit charms, and… curses – foiled again.

Why do I engage in this sad and ridiculous dance, you might ask? As I said, childish dreams can linger long after we recognize that they’re nothing but smoke and mirrors. And the fact that Twinkies, as opposed to carrots, were forbidden fruit in our house, just added to their seductiveness. One of the things I told myself growing up was that when I had a job and could use the money to purchase what I wanted, I’d buy Twinkies, and eat them whenever I pleased.

I haven’t tested this theory of childhood dreams and prohibitions being at the heart of the Twinkie vs. carrot dilemma, but I figure it’s got to have some validity, at least within my own family. Years ago, one of my then preadolescent nieces complained that she and her sisters weren’t allowed to have Twinkies, but that the floor of their dad’s car was littered with their distinctive wrappers – “He won’t let us have them, but he hides them and eats them himself!”

Perhaps if my parents hadn’t been so willing to give in to my request for the attractively colored veggies, but instead, held them hostage as a treat, we might be hoarding carrots these days instead!

PS: Oh my – here’s an update just 2 days after I posted this: Hostess is filing for bankruptcy. Do you think it’s because I badmouthed the taste?! Anyway, that link includes a link to make your own, non-chemical-y-ingredients Twinkies!

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Pretend Love

mef

The Roman Goddess Mefitis

Through my son Rock Star and his band, I’ve become a fan of the Avett Brothers, and their song Pretend Love is a good theme song for this post.

If I came with a present
I would bring you a clue
In hopes you’d finally see
That your feelings for me
Will never be returned

I’m guessing a lot of you remember a cute little black and white cartoon character of the genus Mephitidae (for you non-science nerds, that’s skunk – in Roman mythology, Mefitis (or Mephitis) was the personification of the poisonous gases emitted from the ground in swamps and volcanic vapors). Pepé le Pew captivated all of us with his romantic antics and franglais: “I am Pepé le Pew… I am your lovairrrr!”

In the middle of the night last night, we were rudely awakened by a noxious smell that was so thick I could practically taste it… aaaggghh! Apparently, a skunk made its way into our cellar by way of the crawlspace under the front porch. Unfortunately, this is just where the ductwork connects to the furnace, so along with warmth, we got a big shot of… well, I’m sure you know exactly what it smells like. Enough that I needed to reach for my Vicks VapoRub (so good at masking smells that it’s reputed to be the forensic pathologist’s secret weapon).

Maybe Pepé thinks he does love me, as evidenced by his attempts to gain access to my boudoir in the wee hours of the morning. Well, Pepé, I want to make one thing complètement clair – you are not my lovair. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I am not zee lovair of you! There may be someone, somewhere in the world – a skunk of the female persuasion, perhaps? – that considers a spritz of your pungent, burnt-garlic perfume to be an aphrodisiac… but it most definitely is not me!

I guess it’s time to tune in the Skunk Radio, an old radio we keep in the cellar. Along with a bare light bulb left on right by the crawl space, we’ve used this, in spring and fall, as a deterrent to those nocturnal visitations. Nothing too romantic, to be sure – a boring talk show seems to do the trick. Maybe I can persuade NPR to reprise the entire audio broadcast of the Iran-Contra hearings between midnight and 6 AM every day until skunk season is over!

In the meantime, I’m keeping my Vicks handy….

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