Saturday, July 12, 2014

"The Smell"

People of Kaukauna, I have a problem I need to discuss with you. I have lived here for 12 years and I love it. Our church is here, our kids' school is here, my husband grew up here and all of our family is within an hour from here. But lo these past 12 years I have dealt with people asking about "the smell."

"The Smell" is like some separate entity that lives and breaths and well, smells. Once in awhile, usually on a cool morning, I step outside and there it is. I notice it and move on with my day, it dissipates within an hour or two. It is not pleasant, but I have dealt with far more pungent smells, like poopy diapers, puke and cat litter boxes.

I don't even really know what the hell the smell is. A lot of folks say it comes from Thillmany Paper Mill. Others have said it is the Outagamie County landfill (which is not even in Kaukauna) or the waste water treatment plant located near the mill. Whatever or wherever it comes from, people who don't live here always ask me, "How do you deal with the smell?"

I cringe when I hear this. Why do I constantly have to defend the community that I live in? We have so many great qualities.

At Dick's Drive In they don't bring your food out on roller skates but the burgers and ice cream are as classic as they come. 1000 Islands Nature Center is home of Jabber the parakeet who will greet you with a friendly Hello. We have neighborhood Parks that have hung on to simple childhood joys like the old wooden merry go round and horse swings at Horseshoe. SafeWise.com ranked Kaukauna number 20 on their 50 Safest Cities in Wisconsin list.

Yet I always get some yahoo that tells me, "I could never live there because of the smell." Well good for you, who asked you to move here anyway?

A lot of people will ask about the smell and then after seeing my eyes roll, immediately chime in with, "You're probably used to it, huh" or "I suppose it's not very strong on your side of town." Am I used to a stinky smell? uh no. I am not used to it anymore than I am used to the smell of poop in my baby's Huggies. But just as I am not immersed in the smell of poop diapers all day, every day, "the smell" is not slapping me in the face 24/7. As for my side of town, as I said, I don't even know where the smell originates from so I am at a loss on how to answer this one.

So if you haven't surmised yet, my problem is dealing with people asking about the smell, not smelling the smell. I don't even know why people bring it up. When someone tells me where they're from, I don't automatically think of the worst aspect of that community and ask them how the hell they can live there.

I need some kind of go to response, a token reply when faced with this oh so annoying question. Here are some that I have come up with-

1) "It is a lot easier dealing with the smell than dealing with idiots asking me how I deal with the smell."

2) "I know he is stinky, but I married him, gas and all."

3) "Where is it that you live? Oh, man, what a shithole! I would rather deal with the smell than live there!"

4) "There's a smell in Kaukauna? How have I not heard about this yet?!?!"

5) "That is just the smell of dead bodies decomposing in my backyard, wanna come over and join them?"

Fellow Kaukaunanites or Kaukaunaires or Kaukauna dwellers (anyone know what the word for a Kaukauna resident is?) what is your response to this rotten, smelly question?


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Thank you for sharing!

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