• 45°

Go ahead, shellac it — no one will notice

My former father-in-law Dave is a very creative person. Whenever he has an idea about something, he goes after it full-tilt.

When he saw some stained glass windows he really liked, he bought one and then taught himself how to make stained glass windows on his own. He came up with some nice creations and made gifts for lots of people. After a year or so, he was bored with that and on to something else.

He came across some turkey sculptures one day, made of old rakes and disc brakes and metal funnels and such. So he bought a couple of welding machines and taught himself to weld. We all got turkeys or buzzards or something unidentifiable for Christmas that year.

During our infamous trip to Alaska when I was 22 years old, Dave took me for a walk with him and his son, David III. We carried a couple of empty coffee cans and went looking for something Dave said would be great.

He had an idea.

If you grew up anywhere in or near the country, you probably know what cow patties are. You also know roughly the size of said cow patties. They’re big. Like cows.

If you’ve ever had rabbits, you know how the rabbit pellets compare to the cow patties. Like rabbits to cows, pellets are much smaller than patties. That just makes sense, doesn’t it?

What about moose? You know, those incredibly large animals that are like deer mammoths? Huge antlers, standing well over 6 foot tall and with nasty dispositions, you would think that moose droppings are proportionate to their size, much as rabbits’ pellets or cows’ patties.

You’d be wrong.

Moose droppings are torpedo shaped, and about 1.5 inches in length. There’s just a lot of them. When they are on frozen ground, they become about as hard as rocks.

If you’re wondering where in the wide, wide world of sports I’m going with this, fret no longer. Dave’s brilliant idea was to gather up as much moose spoor as we could shovel into these coffee cans with their lids and take it back home with us. We just had to be careful not to get into the fresh piles.

Back home he let them dry much longer, just in case, and then coated each one in clear shellac. No, I’m not making this up. Here’s where it gets interesting.

He took some and glued a brass tack clip of sorts on one side. To the ends of others, he attached brass hooks. He had just created moose dropping tie tacks and earrings. Guess what everyone he knew got for Christmas that year?

I still have a tie tack somewhere. I actually wore it a couple of times. You know, on a tie.

We stumble across things in life sometimes that are better off left alone, left on the ground where they’ve been discarded. But we pick them up anyway — bad habits, bad language, questionable behaviors, outright defiance and an argumentative attitude. We carry those newfound trinkets with us and show them off as novelties, bright and shiny.

But we tend to forget. Sometimes the things we pick up and cover up with something else and try to play off as original or beneficial or even funny … well, they’re just shellacked moose poop.

Don’t pick it up. And be careful where you step.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com or 601-265-5307.