Well, I talked this story around to a lot of people. Folks thought my close encounter with a skunk was funny, so I kept telling it. There’s a feed store in town where I do most of my business. That’s where I got my water jugs, feed troughs, and I’m always buying fifty- pound bags of corn. There’s one guy there I usually deal with. He has some hens, so when he tells me what I need, I know that he knows what he is talking about. So one day I told him my story about the skunk; only he didn’t laugh. He told me I should have killed that skunk. He said that right here in our area skunks were caught for the purpose of testing them for rabies, and 90% of them tested positive. Well, good gosh and monkey! I didn’t know that! Right then I changed my mind again.
It wasn’t long before I caught another skunk. For the sake of the weak of heart, I’m not going to tell you now I killed him. I figured it was going to be a problem getting a dead skunk out of that cage, and the stink would be unbearable. Guess what? It was way worse than anything I had imagined. By the time I was done dealing with that big mess, I had changed my mind – yet again. I have a dust mask I wear on a regular basis in my shop, but I knew it was no good for this job. I got out the gas mask I wear when I’m down at the paint house spraying a finish. That mask has two big charcoal canisters to filter everything out of the air, and I could still smell that critter. The ground around the cage stunk and by the time I was done I stunk. You know how you can walk into a place where people are smoking, and come out smelling like cigarette smoke? That’s the way it was with Pepe’ Le’ Pue’. I was so sorry I had created such a mess. I reset the trap and went back to my shop.
A day or two later I caught another skunk. Well shit! I didn’t know I’d end up with another. I guess I should have known that Adam & Even thing would be going on. If there’s a boy skunk, there’s going to be a girl skunk somewhere. Since I don’t want to be overrun by a bunch of rabid skunks, I changed my mind one more time. I killed that creature in like manner as I had the first. And it was every bit as big of a mess as the first one. It has been more than a week now, and I haven’t caught any more skunks. I hope that’s the end of this problem.
I am always fascinated with the idea that the Almighty gave us the ability to change our minds. It’s what we call “free will.” I don’t guess animals have a free will as people do. My hens are so predictable. You remember how Rosco P Coletrain used to say he would jump on something like a “chicken on a Junebug?” They really do that. I ain’t never seen them pass up a Junebug, or worm, or grasshopper. For some reason every year at Thanksgiving the president is supposed to keep the tradition of pardoning the turkey. Even though we know it is food we can choose not to eat it. My hens don’t think like that. I don’t think any animals do.
And here’s a bit of truth. I always feel sorry for God. When it comes to this matter of free will, there’s always somebody mad at Him. We have this group of people commonly referred to as Calvinists. They say we only think we have the ability to choose. According to them, God already has everything planned out and everybody is predestined to go to either heaven or hell. The thought of that brings out the worst in some people. They say they want to be able to make their own decisions and make a choice about eternity. The idea of God having absolute control just irritates the hell out of people who want to row their own boat.
And then you got some people who are pissed at the Almighty because of all the evil in the world. They say He either doesn’t care, or He’s to blame, or maybe He’s dead. They love free will but never stop to see that the bad comes from bad choices we make. Somebody gets murdered, or raped, or robbed and we want to blame God. I think the only thing the Lord could do that would please everybody is to let us make our own choices, and then come behind us and rescue us from the consequences of our bad choices. A man gets drunk and drives – no problem. The Maker of us all just steps in and causes him to fall asleep, gently veer off the road into some safe place, and there he sleeps it off. Later, he wakes up sober, drives home and treats his family kindly. No worries. Everybody got to make their own choices, nobody got hurt, no need to cuss and shake our fist at God, and life is good.
Only problem is that life just doesn’t work like that. Everything we do has an impact both now and for eternity. Since I get to choose, I have to accept the consequences. And I’m not changing my mind about the skunks anymore. He gets in my trap and he’s a dead skunk. Only way he gets to live is to make the choice to stay out of my trap.
Makin’ sawdust & Diggin’ the music