For years, we’ve kept a flower garden down by the road. Anne has made it beautiful with phlox, daisies, cone flowers, petunias, and wild pink primrose. But last week she discovered that something had been biting the buds off the taller flowers. It could only have been deer, though we’d never had that problem before.
So Anne went to see our brilliant hillbilly friend Butch Gorman up in Kingfield and asked him what to do. Butch said, “That’s easy: Male urine sprinkled around the garden will repel deer. The deer smell it and think it’s a predator scent.”
When Anne told me what Butch had said, I said, “That’s ridiculous. Can’t be. Butch has been drinking too much of that Kingfield water he brews up.” But when Anne leveled her dead-earnest, school-teacher gaze on me I knew Butch had cast a spell on her that I couldn’t remove.
“Well, You’re not much of a predator,” Anne continued, “but you’re about the best I’ve got around here.”
I told Anne, by God, I was not going down by the road to urinate around her garden. It would be undignified, even for a known reprobate like me.
But Anne said, “You can do it tonight after dark. And, besides, you piss off the porch all the time anyway, so nobody will be surprised to see you pissing by the road.”
That night, before darkness crept in, I slipped into the house and took off my boots and curled up on the couch to read. I thought surely Anne would take pity on me and not make an old man with an aching back and no shoes get up from his comfortable seat and walk down to the road to urinate on her flower garden.
And I was right: acting pathetic always works for me. Anne came in and looked at me and gave a disgusted sniff and walked back out.
Instead of me, she took Walter, our golden retriever, who was only too happy to urinate all around the garden, marking it as his own. Walter’s not much of a predator either, of course, except where doggy treats are involved, but he is always ready to piss on something.
And so the deed was done. And sure enough the nibbling of the deer was stopped.
I spoke about these events a few days later with Butch, and he said: “Here’s what you should have done, Wayne. Go over to Tractor Supply and get one of those plastic spray bottles you mix fly spray in. Then pee in it till it’s full, just like you were doing a drug test, and then go down to the road and spray it on the garden.”
Now why didn’t I think of that? Butch is a genius.