(Repost from 5/11/11 after Blogger's epic meltdown and post removal event of the last day. My apologies.)

When I was in high school, there was a kid -- sort of a cross between a cow and a hibernating bear in a trucker hat and a hunter's jacket -- who always, ALWAYS, smelled like beef jerky. It was that very heavy, spicy, BBQ odor, which in the summer grilling out is one thing, but densely lingering on a teenage boy quite another. In the small space of a classroom, it was quite overwhelming. This scent was the cause of much whispered conversation in the halls.

One day, someone finally decided to pluck up the courage to get to the bottom of this mystery, at a school cafeteria lunchtable as the kid solemnly chewed on his cold chicken wing lunch from out of a grease-spotted brown paper bag.

"Hey, man! Hey... why do you always smell like beef jerky?"

The kid kept chewing his food. Completely nonplussed, he replied.

"Well, sometimes my parents use my bedroom for smoking meat."

Everyone at the long Formica table was stunned into silence for a few seconds, then erupted into an oil-gusher spew of howling, laughing disbelief and more questions. No, he didn't sleep in there when the meat-smoker was running. No, he didn't think it was weird. Yes, he likes smoked meats. Yes, they smoked venison. No, they didn't hang up the dead deer in his room. No, he didn't like sharing his room with the meat smoker. No, he didn't think it was a fire hazard, maybe. Yes, he took showers. No, the smell never went away. He didn't seem to be upset, and finished his fried chicken and a carton of chocolate milk by wiping his mouth on his jacket sleeve and snorting back a load of snot.

Oh my goodness. Oh my.