Once upon a time, long long ago, I was an ambitious young man. Having spent some time in my childhood, living on a farm, I was convinced it was what I wanted to do for a living.
I was newly married and my wife and I had managed to make a purchase agreement to buy a farm with four hundred acres of land and an old barn. The house was beyond repair, but the barn was sound. It all seemed promising, and I was enthusiastic about it.
Before I set about building a home to live in I decided I needed to secure a water source.
The old well on the place was half covered with rotten sheeting. At the time I lived more than an hour away and so had come out by myself to begin work on our new home. I peeled away the sheeting to reveal an ancient wooden cribbing. The wood was semi-rotted and the well gave off a decidedly unpleasant odour. I briefly considered abandoning it in favour of a digging a new one but upon consideration of the volume of earth I would need to move for a new one opted instead to simply enlarge the existing one to remove all the offensive materials. I found some lumber in the old barn and built a wooden ladder to descend into the murky depths. As I went down, I tore away the wooden cribbing.
Toward evening, I had stripped away the cribbing, down where a debris pile lay half covered in water. I filled a bucket using a shovel and began hauling this mix of wood, and soil, up. It was hard work, but I was a strong young man, and kept at it relentlessly. I was making progress. Down one foot, then two. The stench seemed to be getting steadily worse. My shovel hit the body of the dead skunk, hard, approximately an eighth of a second before I came flying out the top of the well at twice the speed of sound. The stench permeated my world. It hung on the air, it engulfed me inside and out. Nothing could ever absorb a person in quite so awful a fashion. The entire scene was gloriously funny and horribly tragic at once.
I desperately hauled earth, to close the well up, not stopping to rest till it was half filled. For weeks the smell hung on my new farm.