There are many olfactory offenses in New York City these days. The worst of which is the increasingly omnipresent marijuana. Whether you are walking down neighborhood sidewalks or enjoying lovely views, you will be hit over the head with the foul stench of pot sooner rather than later. I could write a long essay about the general unpleasantness associated with weed in New York City, but I decided that it would be better to yield the floor to The New Leaf (not that kind of leaf) Journal’s resident dialogue duo, Justin and Justina. In this dialogue, Justin will reveal that the truth behind the rancid smell that makes the body politic stupid is quite a bit darker than even I had imagined.

Think of the poor, innocent skunks.

Dialogue: Against Skunk Waterboarding

In today’s dialogue, we find Justin and Justina exiting a coffee shop wherein they both purchased coffees to go and Justin purchased one pound of whole coffee beans. As soon as they exit the coffee shop, they are assaulted by an all-too-familiar scent.

Justin: Ugh, that smell.
Justina: What smell?
Justin: Terrible.
Justina: Oh, I smell now. It’s just pot. I mean it’s everywhere now, it’s not that bad.
Justin: How can you say this is just pot.
Justina: Because it is?
Justin: Is that all a skunk’s life is to you?
Justina: Come again?
Justin: There’s a skunk being waterboarded right now and you’re talking about marijuana.

Skunk photograph from On the Trail: An Outdoor Book for Girls (1915)
Skunk photograph from On the Trail: An Outdoor Book for Girls (1915)

Justina: …
Justin: This rancid, oily, filthy smell is clearly a skunk reacting poorly to someone’s special enhanced interrogation.
Justina: Does this really smell like a skunk?
Justin: Poor skunk. Probably said the truth about how Cheney painted the chickens brown and called them turkeys. I better watch my step too.
Justina: Wow, you’re right. This article is about why pot smells like skunk.
Justin: “Is this a turkey, Winston?” “No, it’s a brown chicken!” “Time for you to go back under water!” That’s what’s happening right now. You’re browsing the internet on your phone while a small, innocent animal is being waterboarded.
Justina: I think I’ll share this article on Facebook. I bet it will get me some likes.
Justin: I’m not so sure about that. I think most of your Fakebook friends are into skunk waterboarding.
Justina: Good point actually. They can be pretty passionate about weed. I won’t post this after all. But you better give me something to post instead.
Justin: Imagine if someone was waterboarding your guinea pig and I was talking about social media. This skunk has a family.
Justina: …Are you waterboarding my guinea pig?
Justin: No.
Justina: I’m watching you. I need to do a home visit.
Justin: Don’t worry, I’ll send a card.
Justina: Now I’m really worried.
Justin: We need a hero to step in and put a stop to this skunk waterboarding.
Justina: Why don’t you volunteer?
Justin: I don’t really know how to connect to people who waterboard skunks for sport. Second-hand skunk torture isn’t enough but maybe if someone punches me in the back of the head…
Justina: I’m often tempted.
Justin: And our laws don’t countenance the kind of skunk’s life activism practiced by Duterte.
Justina: Who?
Justin: Very passionate skunk’s rights activist. Retiring now, actually.
Justina: I feel like you’re not being entirely honest.
Justin: When has that happened?
Justina: Never.
Justin: Stay strong, fair skunk. Never let them tell you that two-plus-two is five or that there’s such thing as a so-called turkey.
Justina: I still don’t get the chicken-turkey thing.
Justin: That says more about me than you.


I published a sequel to this dialogue on July 23, 2022 (see sequel).