Is That Smell What I Think It Is? Nope, Not Even Close


Spoiler: Let’s get this out right now. This column deals with a sensitive issue that often divides the country, an alternative lifestyle issue that people from all walks of life have to deal with, a problem that crosses all socioeconomic and cultural lines: Skunks.

More specifically, the smell of skunks and the fact that an innocent drug like pot now smells like it.

I had no idea. I hadn’t smelled pot (that I know of) since the early 1980s. Starting sometime after that, while marijuana was being cultivated and bred to meet its customers' changing needs, I was busy changing diapers, wallpapering kitchens, and playing JezzBall on increasingly smaller computers. Although, now that I think of it, maybe I did smell pot and it had already morphed into the smell of strawberry public restroom air freshener or a new Altoids flavor.

It seems that pot growers have spent the last 20 years experimenting with strains, trying to get the most potent characteristics. Specific strains have had fruity smells, some have flowery smells, and one smells like bubblegum.  The big winner, though, smells like a skunk. 

“I don’t think they went out and said, ‘Let’s develop a marijuana that smells like a skunk,’” said Ryan Vandrey, a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine prof, in a Chicago Tribune story last year. “Rather, I think that at some point in the genealogy of marijuana growing and development, there was a strain that came along that was extremely potent and gave people a good high and happened to smell like a skunk.”

Enter me, a middle-aged non-pot smoker who was too busy to keep up on weed world, to the big city, specifically a city in a state where pot has been decriminalized and may as well be legalized for as much of it is smoked in public in a downright celebratory fashion.

I kept smelling skunks. Every time I went to a park, got on a bus, walked through downtown, or went anywhere the average age was half of mine, there they were: skunks and more skunks. 

It seemed so weird, so many skunks in the middle of the city. I mean, you’d think if we had anything, we’d have rats, which we don’t. But skunks

I may or may not have said aloud, “What’s with the skunk smell?” I’m hoping no one heard me, but I can’t say for sure. I rarely get a break on my displays of naïveté. When I realized that it was merely pot, I was relieved. Pot smokers on city streets are a lot less of a problem than skunks on the street. Although they both go through the garbage cans. 

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Read Diane's blog about moving at www.HomeSweetHomesBook.com. Her book, Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves can be purchased on Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com, and directly from the author, signed, by sending a note to info@homesweethomesbook.com.


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