Okay, a few years back my eleventh grade Chemistry class began with Ms. Serevetas handing out textbooks. A small woman wearing big glasses and a big labcoat, she just introduced herself and then began calling us up, one by one, to the front of the room.
It was the first day so nobody had the guts to just start talking or playing games in the back. Honestly, we just sat in mind-numbing silence while each person shuffled up, signed their name, collected their ratty old book, and shuffled back down.
It was a slow and painful ordeal until something really funny happened: one guy’s book stunk.
Honestly, it just really stunk. It was terrible. A steamy hot funk filled the room and people started giggling. Some laughed, some pointed, but Stinky-Book Guy stared straight ahead, pretending nothing was happening.
Unfortunately for him, the buzz and chatter quickly built to a point where Ms. Serevetas was forced to take action. She did so by looking up at Stinky suspiciously, and then scrunching her eyebrows with a pained grimace until he was finally forced to began fanning through the pages while everybody stared on in anticipation.
And remember: we were bored out of our minds here so this Mystery of the Funky Textbook captivated us like nothing else. The room got quiet and tense and everyone craned their necks and stared at the stink, the book, and the guy, with tingly anticipation.
Stinky-Book Guy fanned through the pages slowly at first, and then quicker, and then quicker, until a few pages slapped real fast and told us all that the mystery stench had been found.
So we watched with teeth clenched as he peeled back the page to reveal an old … rotting … piece of salami.
Yeah, apparently someone had the good idea to drop a thin slice of cured meat between two pages on Boyle’s Law for a nice, long sit in a musty storage closet all summer. Now that once beautifully speckled slice of spice was gray and slimy and smelled like a fish market the Tuesday after a long weekend.
Anyway, at this point there was only one thing to do and Stinky-Book Guy did it: he bit his lip, nodded forcefully, and then peeled that salami off, walked over to the garbage can, and dropped it right on in.
And so — whether it’s the old can of salmon in your kitchen garbage pail, the toilet that didn’t get flushed before a long vacation, or the pool of dirty water collecting under the carpet in your basement, how does it feel to find that stinky treasure and just ditch real fast?