Imagine driving along through Western Kansas on a rural, two-lane highway. In front of you is a beautiful panorama of green grass and blue skies. The fresh air is blowing in your face, and the sun is shining down. You feel so free.
Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, it hits you. It hits you like a car hitting a brick wall. Your face turns from a full smile to a look of disgust faster than the cropduster flying overhead. Despite enjoying a sip of your Sonic Cherry Limeade just seconds earlier, you are now in the process of dry heaving.
Congratulations. You’re approaching the Cargill stockyards.
These are cows. Acres upon acres of cows. And their waste. It stinks to high heaven. Given the choice between the smell here and a puke-covered dive bar restroom, I’d take the restroom. It’s that bad. And at least you expect the puke smell in a dive bar restroom.
Worst of all, the smell doesn’t go away quickly. It lingers for several miles, especially when you’re downwind of the yards. You cannot breathe. You must cover your nose and mouth with your shirt. And since you’ve been out in the 105-degree heat, that doesn’t smell so good, either.
So, here is a modest proposal for the Federal Highway Administration: I propose a highway sign. This sign will provide a generous warning that you are approaching a stockyard. It will provide warning that not even the most powerful air conditioning will block the stench of what’s around the bend. To those not acquainted with the scent of 4,000 tons of cow manure, the smell alone could cause someone to faint and lose control of their vehicle. This sign could save lives!