April 4, 2015

I Notice Your Home Smells of Feces

Of course, that's the comedically genius bit of dialogue uttered by Homer Simpson when he visits chimpanzee saviour Jane Goodall's house.

I had a similar experience yesterday as my lovely wife and I decided to take a stroll through our neck of the woods. Not that our entire neck of the woods smells of feces, but one corner of it does - namely the barns at Riverdale Farm. To the uninitiated, Riverdale Farm was Toronto's first zoo and is nestled within Cabbagetown. Nowadays it's basically a quaint little spot with 2 cows, 4 or 5 sheep, a horse, 9 ducks, some pigs, 6 roosters and a rabbit or two. I made those actual numbers and animals up but you get the picture.

It's a nice spot to visit when out for a walk which we often do, part of the reason we love our neighbourhood. You're smack dab in the city but you can escape to a bit of quiet greenspace, not to mention the associated history. On our way back we even passed by the original home of magician Doug Henning..at least I thought it was his house - it might've just been an illusion...

Riverdale Farm is immensely popular with locals and suburban visitors alike. Admission is free and it's a nice spot for families with little kids. They get up close with these animals, and parents can use the experience as a life lesson of sorts. "See this chicken Billy? You ate his brother last night."

Much like American Psycho's Patrick Bateman:
Lovely on the outside, revolting on the inside.
The barns housing the majority of the animals are the most popular spots, and you see happy kids and adults oohing and awwing at the freshly-squeezed baby lambs and pigs every spring. These barns are the originals and very old fashioned full of hay and antique farming equipment and such - very quaint. Yesterday when I was there though, I felt like stopping for a second to make an announcement to the 20 or 30 people there at the same time I was: "Um , excuse me everyone - Hi..yes, hello..thank you..um..is it me, or does is smell like shit in here?" You know, just to get a reaction. In my view it really is quite fascinating how everyone simply pretends that it doesn't smell like shit. I think what probably happens is people stroll in from outside, get hit with that scent, think something like "Jesus Christ it stinks in here!", but just sort of look the other way.

Something tells me people would react differently if that same odour hit them when they walked into a boardroom meeting or a restaurant.

Maybe I'll try that theory out sometime.


  1. I still remember the first time I walked into a rural butcher shop when I was a small child. It smelled totally unfamiliar and primevil considering I'd been to the meat section at the local supermarket countless times and hadn't experienced this sensory overload before. Obviously the supermarket grocer had a sanitisation regime to avoid superfluous odours. I remember having the same reaction as you and blurted out, as any 8 year old would say :"This place stinks!" and held my nose. My dad belted me for not being man enough and for offending the shop owner. On the way home in his pickup truck, my dad subjected me and my mother to the second hand smoke from his hand-rolled Sportsman cigarette. Dinner was pan-fried pork chops from said butcher shop for dinner. I wretched having been reminded of the smell of death from earlier in the day.

    My dad's attempted lesson in machismo that day did nothing for me. Whenever I visit my crazy cat lady mother now I still have to explain to her that I can't sleep in her house because it smells like cat piss. Somehow she doesn't notice.

  2. Good stories Blin. But don't fret.To your parents, those equally terrible stenches simply remind them of victory, just like the dude in apocalypse now who loved the smell napalm in the morning.

  3. Hey Hobo
    It's been almost two months since your last podcast. What gives?

  4. Blin - I booked the Hobo Gauntlet studios this past Sunday to record a show, but the details of the latest post above got in the damn way. Stand by!