Essay: Raising a stink Part 1

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. spectacular / spɛkˈtæk yə lər / (adj.) – catching people’s attention because of being very extreme or sudden

    The complaints about the company’s latest product caused a spectacular fall in its stock price.

  2. unfortunate / ʌnˈfɔr tʃə nɪt / (adj.) – unlucky or having negative effects

    It’s unfortunate that Brian had to quit college because of his family’s financial problems.

  3. drag (oneself) out of bed / dræg aʊt əv bɛd / (idiom) – to leave one’s bed with great effort or difficulty

    When the weather’s cold, I often have to drag myself out of bed in the morning.

  4. wretched / ˈrɛtʃ ɪd / (adj.) – extremely bad or unpleasant

    The house is in a wretched state because no one has taken care of it for 15 years.

  5. eager / ˈi gər / (adj.) – having a strong desire to do something

    My little cousin’s eager to learn how to play the piano, so I agreed to teach her.


Read the text below.

Do you have any moments from your past that, even years later, still give you a feeling of embarrassment?

Unfortunately, I always seem to think of my most embarrassing moments at night when I’m having trouble sleeping. Some examples include the time I made a big error in an important baseball game and a presentation in French class that was a spectacular failure.

But those unfortunate incidents are nothing compared to my most embarrassing moment, a day in my final year of high school that I’ll never be able to forget.

The morning started like any other. My alarm went off two or three times and I hit the snooze button two or three times. Just when I was preparing to finally drag myself out of bed, something else gave me the push I needed to get moving. That something was the strongest, most wretched thing I’ve ever smelled in my life: skunk spray. And the victim of that skunking was our dog Sadie.

Sadie quickly spread the awful smell around the house, going from one room to the next as if that was her plan.

Eager to escape the smelly house, I got ready quickly and drove to school.

But I soon realized I wouldn’t be able to leave all of my skunky problems at home. (Joel Tansey)

To be continued…

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The author is writing about his most embarrassing moment. What embarrassing moments have you or someone you know experienced? Discuss.
  • The author says that it was a day in his final year of high school that he’ll never be able to forget. Have you ever had a day that you’ll never forget? If so, what happened? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The author always seems to think of his most embarrassing moments at night when he’s having trouble sleeping. What do you often think about at night (ex. work stress, plans for tomorrow)? Why? Discuss.
  • The author’s alarm went off two or three times, and he hit the snooze button two or three times before finally dragging himself out of bed. Do you struggle to wake up in the morning too? Why or why not? Discuss.