Human Urine is an Olfactory Repellent
When Riley brought up the fact that he had a case of the coyotes (coyotes were on his land, intimidating his dog, ripping through his garbage, and going to the bathroom on his lawn), I wasn’t paying too much attention. I’m normally a pretty decent listener, but a story about a man living in a relatively remote location, having problems with coyotes, didn’t captivate my attention. I had a whopper of a story all locked and loaded, and I couldn’t wait to start it. As such, I was committing the mortal sin of all good listeners: I was waiting for him to finish his story, so I could start mine.
“What does a man do when coyotes start peeing all over his land?” Riley asked himself when I forgot to ask. “You pee right back. You reclaim your land.” Lines like those last two are conversational depth charges. Everything goes silent, after he releases them, as we try to figure out if he’s serious or not, and then they obliterate every thought we had prior. That story I had for him was gone.
“How does a dog mark their territory?” Riley asked. “That’s right, they urinate on it. I didn’t know where they were marking, of course, but they obviously did a job on my lawn, because Murphy (his dog) was afraid to leave the porch after a while. So, I saw urinating around the perimeter of my land as a way of taking my land back.
“I use my morning urine, because it’s more concentrated and potent,” he said, responding to a question I had about his selection process. Responding to my question about whether beer urine was more potent than non-beer urine, he said. “I wouldn’t know, because I have no control group … My urine has had at least some beer in it since I was fifteen. And to answer the question every one else asks, I have to do it again after every rain.
“I tried the privacy fence, as you can see, and I watched one jump it without even taking a running start one late, late night I sat on this very porch, in the dark, with a rifle. They’re not scared off by gunshot, not long-term anyway. They’ve not afraid of motion detection devices, and their lights, and the name brand coyote repellents doesn’t scare them off long-term either. Nothing did, until I began marking my territory. I have to protect my dog, and my property right? I see it as marking my territory in the way any other animal would. I see it as informing them that this is my land in their language, and they respond better to that message than any of the other ones I tried. I don’t know why it works so well, but I think it has something to do with their fear of humans. Our urine is also very high in ammonia, which most animals hate. I still hear them, off in the distance, but I haven’t seen them once since I started doing this. They appear to consider the smell unbearable. It is an olfactory repellent to most mid-level predators. It can also be used as a pesticide. The scent of human urine can be used to confuse and deter rabbits, squirrels, and unintelligent people.
“Not all predators are repelled by the scent of human urine however,” he continued in a matter-of-fact manner, as we sipped on our beers on his lawn. “The debate on whether bears are detracted or attracted to human urine is ongoing. Some say larger bears, like grizzlies, might actually approach a camp lined with pee that campers put there to detract bears. They say that bears now so associate humans with food that any sign of humans will attract desperately hungry bears, and they know the scent of our urine. Others claim that bears are naturally curious creatures, and the smell is so foreign to them that they investigate. They’re just in our campsite to see what the smell is, in other words, but when we start screaming and running away, their other instincts and impulses cause them to do the things they do to us.
“Reindeer, apparently, go nuts for our stuff,” he continued. “And yes, I did some research on it, because the topic fascinates me. Reindeer, apparently, have a salt-deficiency, and our urine is high in salt, so they crave it, like we do Ruffles. The Inupiat people of Alaska found that all they have to do is pee in a reindeer trap, and they’ll have a nice meal for the night. Imagine the trial and error that went into that finding. The Tozhu people of Tuva in Russia like to keep reindeer around for whatever reason. I assume they occasionally kill and eat them, but they offer reindeer a bowl of urine every once in a while, and the reindeer will never venture too far away. The Tozhu say that the salt-deficient reindeer crave our urine so much that they’ve learned our patterns, and when they see a man who they think is about to pee they will all rush up on him and jockey for pole position.”
The Majestic Seahorse
“Why are you getting so upset Earl?” Wilma said, as the two of them walk out of a theater, “it’s a seahorse?”
“A seahorse said it, sure, but don’t you think someone wrote it for him,” Earl said. “Seahorses aren’t that sophisticated Wilma.”
“Either are you Earl.” (Hit the laughter button.)
“In order to comprehensively refute a seahorse, I need to be issues-oriented and topical, and you know I hate doing that to any being,” Earl replies. “I would probably be especially cautious about doing that to a seahorse, because the seahorse is majestic, and there ain’t no arguing with majestic.
“What’s the hot topic of the day?” Earl asked in a sardonic manner. “I just don’t want to go down that road with anyone, anymore Wilma. What’s the point? What’s my opinion on it? What’s yours? What’s his opinion, why is he wrong? What’s her opinion, why is she right? Blah, blah, blah, no one cares. Can we affirm our opinion or confirm it? Who cares? Can we change minds? No one cares. Can I prove how smart I am? It’s very important to me that people know how smart and clever I am. It’s the coin of the realm. A way to prove my value in a world of people who don’t know. Other people do it far better than me, and they’re almost all narcissists. Am I a narcissist? Anyone who brings up anything issues-oriented and topical suffers from some look-at-me-please, but if we put our opinion in the mouth of a seahorse, do we remove the narcissism?”
“You’re such a cynic Earl,” Wilma said. “You’re so negative that I don’t think I’ll be attending any more movies with you anymore.”
“It isn’t negative or positive Wilma, and it’s not cynical or a conspiracy theory. It just is, or it isn’t.
“Is it crazy, or so on the mark that it has to be nuts? Ask yourself that one. If you have the capacity to recognize the difference between crazy and sane, you’re probably not coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs. Is it crazy that the rest of the world doesn’t see it? Perhaps, or they might not have a frame of reference. Those who are crazy don’t know it, or they have a such a tentative hold on the difference between sane and crazy that they think they’re the normal ones.
“Is it crazy to try LSD?” Earl asked. “I understand wanting to experiment, and I’ve altered my mind as much as anyone can with beer, but when I read that taking LSD once, once, could alter your brain, and you could experience flashbacks decades down the road, I don’t understand chancing it for one evening of what I presume to be their need for hallucinogenic fantasy. The limited, and relatively poor, research done on this subject suggests that some report seeing hallucinations “long after drug use.” These reports assure us that such instances are anecdotal but possible.
“Our children are here to replace us, but what are they learning from talking seahorses, gerbils, and English-speaking aliens from another planet?
“They’re crazy Wilma. They’re the crazy ones, but we desperately curious observers study their patterns, and we come running whenever we think they’re going to drop some useless information on us, hoping that something they say might be in service of something we need or want. Are we wrong? Yes, most of the time, but some of their nuggets are so delicious that we’ll race for pole position, with a proverbial bowl, to catch any drop that falls out to fulfill our weird, crazy, and just plain different deficiency.”