Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Love and Penguins

There’s an old story. I don’t know if it’s true, but it goes like this. Penguins mate for life. And there’s a moment when some boy penguin is looking over that infinite expanse of black and white when one female penguin stands out. And he stands out to her. And then, well, that’s it. Of all the penguins, these two are now together for life.

A couple months ago, Heather and I went camping with some friends. One morning, we emerged from our tent, bleary eyed. There were a number of dogs camping with us, too, and one of them came trotting over to me, happy as can be.

And I did what I always do. I reached out with both hands and gave him a nice hello rub. Slowly, in my early morning haze, it occurred to me. Something smelled bad. Really bad. I looked down at the happy dog and something in his eyes said to me, “Yeah, I met a skunk. Kicked his ass.”

I brought my hands to my face and gave them a good sniff. The smell was intense. Skunk smell is bad from afar. But up close, it’s like pure essence of death.

And my first thought, of course, was: I’ve gotta share this with Heather!

“Hey, baby.” I said, walking to her, arms outstretched. “Smell this!”

And as she was bent over, hands on her knees, gagging and on the verge of vomiting, I knew I’d found my penguin.


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Hi, I’m Derek. I make awesome community-centric web stuff. I sometimes post things to Flickr and Twitter. I’m mostly harmless. More.





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