Photo by Bryan Padron on Unsplash

On my walk this morning I encountered a skunk, my light illuminating its upturned tail and butt hole as it waddled down the sidewalk away from my general direction. It is not uncommon to encounter wildlife in my neighborhood. There are plenty of squirrels and ducks; just like many other neighborhoods; but we also have a healthy population of racoons, armadillos, turtles and deer. Skunks are either an oddity or just keep well hidden, but regardless, I made the quick decision to alter my route and let my new-found friend be alone with its thoughts, which likely were singular in nature: spray the motherfucker!

I half laughed or maybe I just chuckled a little as I considered what a Millennial or Gen Z member might have done. I suspect a picture would likely have been necessary, because we live in an age where if there is not a picture or video then it did not happen. The question is how far would someone have gone to get that picture? For one, it was dark. Also, skunks aren’t terribly large, so one would likely have had to have gotten close enough for – I don’t know – a selfie? Oh no, do not do it. The skunk does not want to be in a selfie with you. You will pay…

Which is almost hilarious, but it is not. There appears to be a very large group of people within our society who think all animals act like they are domesticated pets. These people tend to end up getting gored by buffalo in Yellowstone. The buffalo, like the skunk, does not want to be in your Insta feed or on Tik Tok. There is a reason zoo animals are behind fences or glass. It’s not to protect them from you; it is to protect you from them.

Revel from a distance in the silent majesty of the buffalo, or look in awe at the courageous skunk as you wisely back away from its rigid tail. It will be a much better memory than anything you post to your feed.