Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A casual observation

I'm not sure now if it was Thursday or Friday morning... I actually thought to make mention of it here at the time, but neglected to... just goes to show you... but anyway, I was on my way to work, and as I crested a hill in my neighbourhood, I saw a large, fat skunk lying dead in the road. The air was suddenly full of his (or her?) "perfume". I steered around him, of course. Not just because he was a skunk, but because the idea of running over a body offends me. That skunk may not have been human, but he was still a being. To some extent, he was "someone", if you see what I mean.

I wondered at the time what would happen to the body.

On the weekend, I drove past the skunk. His body had been mashed up, everything opened up and on display, by the passing wheels of cars. Good God, that seems cruel. There's the world for you.

The last couple of mornings (today's Tuesday) I've noticed there's not much left of the skunk. A few tufts of fur, stains on the road. In a few days, from all practical intents and purposes, it'll be like he never even existed.

Now a skunk is a sentient being. Maybe not sapient, but sentient. There's someone behind the eyes, albeit someone pretty dull, I'll grant you. But anyway, he wanders out onto the road, probably just looking for food on the other side, and pow, that's it. That's his big mistake, for which he forfeits existence: that he wanted to be on the other side of thirty feet of asphalt. Okay, he was a skunk. He was never going to build a moon rocket or write an symphony to the glory of love or cut a canal across Panama. But how many of us do? It seems to me that most human beings never aim that high either. Most of them time we're pretty much just talking skunks. We wander around, looking for things to eat, other humans to screw (am I being literal or figurative? Yes.), and seeking diversions to pass the time till God comes along to squash us with His car, in whatever form it takes... heart attack, cancer, gunshot, typhoid, fall, sometimes even a real car. So what's the point of all that?

I don't really know where I'm going with this. It's just something that I needed to say. The only tribute that skunk's ever going to have, I imagine.

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