So much for altruistic instincts: a good-sized (about a foot-long shell) common snapping turtle was attempting to cross a busy street, and as we had passed the sad, run-over remains of one earlier in the day, we pulled over to help this one along its way back to the woods. Aside from the dangers of Reptile Associated Salmonellosis and missing digits (no such thing as safe handling when it comes to snappers), I was taught a valuable lesson about another, lesser-known defensive mechanism. My girlfriend sure got a good laugh at the sight of me running across the road while being doused in turtle piss, which, contrary to any alternative medicine rumors, has no health benefits and is most definitely not an aphrodisiac.
Probably most folks have experienced similar responses from cantankerous individuals who don't appreciate a good-will gesture.There's a related editorial cartoon drawn in 1807 by Alexander Anderson (not the recently deceased Rock & Bullwinkle creator of the same name) depicting a smuggler running afoul of Jefferson's Embargo Act of 1807. I find the self-censorship in lieu of any euphemism almost as amusing as the image, since this was in the days before the sophisticated language of comics hadn't evolved the symbols to graphically represent swearing ("grawlixes" according to Mort Walker's Lexicon of Comicana).