Should I douse my wife’s garden with the urine of a wolf or a cougar?
As you can imagine, this conundrum is cutting into my sleep.
Nor are my choices, in the realm of liquid produce protection, limited to apex carnivores.
Maybe I can confuse as well as frighten the tomato-gobbling deer and the blackberry-pecking robins by sowing the place with the excretory scent of the fisher, a diminutive but apparently quite vicious type of weasel.
The online market for the liquid byproducts of wildlife micturition — animal pee, if you’d rather dispense with euphemism-by-obscure-vocabulary — is considerably more, well, voluminous than I expected.
Indeed, more than I could have imagined.
Turns out you don’t need to actually own a wolf — and possess a certain deftness with a catheter — to procure the protective powers of a predator’s urine.
An Internet connection and a credit card will bring the stuff — packed in a well-padded and leak-proof box, one would hope — to your front door.
Which saves time and, probably, a finger or two.
It was pure coincidence that introduced me to the brisk commerce in what’s generally considered a waste product.
Not long after my wife lamented the loss of her tomatoes to the neighborhood mule deer, I happened to hear, on a morning radio comedy program, a reference to “predator pee.”
I sensed a potential solution which would be simpler, albeit more aromatic, than erecting 10-foot fences.
Whether Predator Pee ranks as the most prolific purveyor of this substance I can’t say.
But its competitors would have to go a fair piece to match the Predator Pee website — http://www.predatorpee.com, of course — for sheer entertainment.
When I scroll through the site and try to imagine how it came to be, I envision a group of people sitting around a seedy apartment, tossing around ideas rather like the joke writers for Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Fallon. There’s a laptop on the kitchen table, surrounded by empty beer bottles
and grease-stained pizza boxes, and occasionally somebody types in an especially comical line.
The humor on predatorpee.com, as you probably have guessed, lands solidly on the juvenile end of the spectrum.
The best of these is “pee-rimeter” — the pest-free zone you can create by sprinkling the urine of your choice around whatever it is you want to protect.
The company’s motto, as it were, is “Bringing pee to the people since 1986.”
Remember that year the next time someone contends the Reagan era was a repressive time.
The company’s line is not limited to urine. This is something of a relief.
But even the non-pee parts of the catalog involve other animal byproducts.
The company — its official name is Maine Outdoor Solutions — also sells authentic wool crusher hats. So far as I can tell this is the outfit’s only item that involves, or requires, sheep.
Also available is BearGuard, which isn’t what you probably think it is, what with all the previous urine references.
In fact BearGuard is a water-repellent for boots. It is, however, made from “real bear fat.” I don’t doubt this keeps the rain from soaking your socks. But extracting it from the bear must be a more, well, irreversible process than collecting ursine urine. Which, rest assured, is also available if your garden marauders are particularly fearful of bears.
Jokes aside, Predator Pee exemplifies the essential vigor of capitalism, and its existence proves that in a free market pretty much anything can be turned into a profit.
Indeed, these clever iconoclasts from Maine peddle urine as a way to attract as well as repel wildlife.
Pee, the company claims, will lure butterflies, because it’s an essential source of sodium and other vital elements for these graceful flyers.
The website boasts about this with the sort of breathless enthusiasm typical of online marketing, although the insertion of a single word (the one just before “business”) transforms an otherwise predictable sentence:
“We have been in the urine business a long time, but we always get excited when we discover a new use for this incredibly renewable resource!”
You won’t read that at the Harvard Business School.
The ultimate question, of course, is how Predator Pee obtains its raw materials. I’ll leave the details to the website, but suffice it to say the explanation is mundane.
The company does not, as I had hoped, employ a battalion of short people with quick hands who can move fast even while wearing galoshes.
Jayson Jacoby is editor
of the Baker City Herald.