Essay: Raising a stink Part 2

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

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

  1. crinkle (one's) nose / ˈkrɪŋ kəl noʊz / (idiom) – to show that someone strongly dislikes something or that it’s making him/her feel sick

    My daughter crinkled her nose and refused to eat the broccoli on her plate.

  2. stench / stɛntʃ / (n.) – a very strong and unpleasant smell

    We forgot to put the food in the fridge before we went on vacation, so the house was filled with the stench of rotten food when we came back.

  3. potent / ˈpoʊt nt / (adj.) – very effective, powerful, or strong

    You hung that heavy shelf on the wall with glue?! Wow, that must be some potent glue!

  4. stink / stɪŋk / (v.) – to smell very bad

    We need to give the dog a bath today. He stinks from playing outside.

  5. amusing / əˈmyu zɪŋ / (adj.) – causing laughter or entertainment

    I don’t find the comedian’s jokes amusing at all.


Read the text below.

Continued from Part 1…

As I walked to my locker, I started to notice other students were crinkling their noses. Then I heard a group complain about the smell of skunk.

“Could the smell be from me?” I wondered to myself.

I decided to attend my first class anyway, hoping that the problem would go away.

As soon as I walked in the door, I could feel everyone’s gaze turn toward me and the feeling of embarrassment hit me like a freight train. I was the skunk!

I abandoned hope for a normal day of school and went home after my first class.

A few minutes after I got home, where the stench had grown even more potent, my mom and dad both came running through the front door.

“We stink! Our bosses sent us home,” my dad said.

“Someone should rescue Jonathan,” my mom added. My younger brother, we later found out, had spent the morning stinking up his junior high school to the extent that the school principal made an announcement apologizing to the students for the awful stench.

It took me a few days and multiple baths in tomato juice to get rid of the smell.

Nowadays, this story is more amusing than embarrassing. But every now and then, usually late at night when I’m struggling to sleep, I still remember how awkward it felt to have everyone looking at me as if I was a skunk. (Joel Tansey)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The author realized at school that he smelled like a skunk, so he decided to go home after his first class. If you were the author, what would you have done (ex. stayed at school the whole day, immediately left when classmates started to stare)? Why? Discuss.
  • The author’s parents were sent home from work because they stank. If you were a boss, what (if anything) would you say to an employee who came to work smelling like a skunk? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The author says this story is more amusing than embarrassing nowadays. Do you think it’s always possible to laugh about embarrassing things after some time has passed? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • At the author’s younger brother’s junior high school, the principal made an announcement apologizing to the students for the awful stench. Do you think that was a good idea, or did the principal just embarrass a poor kid more? Why? Discuss.