What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done?
Up until a couple of days ago, that was a fairly tough question for me to answer. Mainly because there were so many things to choose from. Like the time I gave my bicycle a brake job. Or the time I decided that I could do plumbing on the overhead pipes in my basement and it ended up looking like a German U-boat getting depth charged in the North Atlantic.
But all those things pale to insignificance compared to the deed I did on Friday. When it comes to dumb, it towers like a sequoia over a forest of lesser foolishness.
First, some background. A while back, I told you about the Bokashi method of composting which we use. One of the byproducts of the method is something called Bokashi juice which drains out of the composted stuff. All Bokashi advocates talk about this being really good stuff. But let me quote from my previous post:
“Make no mistake. Bokashi Juice is pure evil. It looks like vomit and smells infinitely worse. I have poured it on weed patches in the yard on a breezy day, come back hours later and the stench was still as strong as when I first poured it out. Even the flies avoid it and the thought of getting some on me is now my number one primal fear.”
We use the system both at home and at the farm but we take all of the compost to the farm because there is more room to bury it.
Because of my abject fear of Bokashi Juice, I have developed elaborate safeguards for transporting it that would put the international standards for transporting plutonium to shame.
You can probably see where this is going.
Because the problem with standards is that over time, complacency develops. On Friday, my wife and I were heading out to the farm and decided to take a load of Bokashi out for burial. I thought to myself, why not dump the juice here rather than carry it? Believe me, the stuff is so bad that even when it’s hermetically sealed, just being agitated by the movement of the car can cause unpleasant fumes. So my thought was a good one. But I said, No, you have enough safeguards in the system.
I thought of buttressing the Bokashi bin and my elaborate containment vessel with some additional weights to prevent any possible shifting or tipping. But then decided that the web of bungee cords I’d mummified the whole thing with would be sufficient.
And away we went.
We took a new route because of some road construction and about halfway through the journey we noticed an odor. As I mentioned, this happens so we didn’t panic.
But it got worse. And worse. At one point, I mentioned that the stench, in addition to being more overpowering than usual also was reminiscent of even more bodily functions than usual.
My wife suggested that we stop to make sure that everything was secure. But in accordance with the rules of epic tragedy (which was about to unfold) hubris made me remind her of my fool proof safeguards and we continued, rolling down the windows.
We arrived at the farm and my worst fears were realized. It was the Bokashi equivalent of the China Syndrome. Not only had the container tipped, but somehow the containment vessel had also gone over and spilled unspeakably. A major meltdown.
Like most cars, this one has a false floor in the trunk which opens to reveal the spare tire and a storage area for tools and stuff like that. The Bokashi juice had permeated the removable fabric mat that covers the floor and had leaked liberally into the storage compartment, soaking everything and pooling into a vile mass at the lowest point.
I declared the highest level of emergency, but had no idea what to do.
Because I didn’t have a Hazmat suit, the first thing I did was take off all my clothes except some old shorts which were expendable. I didn’t want to risk getting any juice on clothes I might ever want to wear again. Then I found some Vicks Vapo Rub and applied it liberally to my nostrils. I figured if it works on CSI it may possibly work for Bokashi juice. (It doesn’t). I put on big rubber boots and gloves.
Flinching under the aromatic assault, I then took everything moveable out of the car and disinfected it with bleach. Then I sopped up the puddle in the bottom of the car and doused everything with bleach. I sopped up the bleach and then emptied a box of baking soda over everything. All rags went into a sealed plastic bag and into the garbage. Finally, I burned three consecutive incense sticks with the windows all closed. Then I let the car sit all night with the windows open.
Two days have elapsed and I’m thinking that someday maybe we won’t smell that smell. So question is, what will come first? Will the smell go away? Will I do something to surpass this epic act of foolishness? Will my wife forget that if I’d listened to her things wouldn’t have been so bad?