Burt Prelutsky

It was many years ago that I discovered that I liked the smell of skunks. I hasten to explain that I’ve never been doused by the animal, never had to burn my clothes or bathe in tomato juice. But every so often when I’ve been driving down the road, I’ll get a whiff of skunk scent, and while everyone else in the car is trying not to inhale, I’m wondering what their problem is. I’m not at all sure what it means, but I have a similar reaction when it comes to John McCain. While nearly all the other conservatives I know are frantically waving their hands in front of their noses, I’m thinking McCain may not be Chanel Number 5, but, unlike Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, he’s not exactly the equivalent of mustard gas.

Something else that baffles me is the conflict between creationists and those who aren’t. Not being a religious man, I don’t feel as if I have a dog in the fight, but I just don’t get the hard feelings on either side. In fact, if there is one area in which compromise between those on the secular left and those on the religious right seems possible, this would be it. After all, why is it so difficult for people to accept the premise that God created the heavens and the earth and all the rest, after which things just evolved? I realize that there are some folks who can’t figure out, if man evolved from the ape, why there are still apes hanging around. Or, for that matter, if land animals evolved from the sea, how is it that fish still exist? But one might as well ask: If Darwin was right about the survival of the fittest, how is it that Ted Kennedy and those people who insist on honking their horns when driving through tunnels aren’t extinct?

Speaking of animals, I’d like to know how Trouble is doing. In case he’s slipped your mind, Trouble is Leona Helmsley’s cocker spaniel. When the lady died, she left the dog $12 million in her will. So, naturally, it figures that greedy people would go after the pooch. The last thing I heard was that Remus Pop, the 27-year-old son of Mrs. Helmsley’s housekeeper was talking to lawyers. It seems that his mother had been nipped by Trouble, and had already tried to sue her employer. The case had been dismissed years earlier by a judge who ruled that Mrs. Helmsley was insulated from liability under the worker’s compensation law. Now I’m not a lawyer -- and you’ll simply have to take my word for it that I’m not just bragging -- but where does Mr. Pop get off coming after the grief-stricken heir? Mr. Pop was quoted at the time, stating: “That dog got money. That money is going to be taken away from that dog.” So while I make no bones about disliking Mr. Pop and his naked greed, I must admit that I admire his prose style.