The Writer Of Robinson Crusoe Tried To Make Perfume From Cat Buttholes
Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe and long considered one of the forefathers of both the novel and journalism as a whole, wanted to be a businessman. Didn't matter which business, really; he'd try anything. And he did. Because he was bad at everything.
Defoe would strike out again and again. Sometime after failing at selling women's stockings, driving a brick and tile factory into the ground, and somehow not being able to sell tobacco, wine, and beer, the future writer hit upon a foolproof plan: He was going to buy 70 civets and make perfume from their rears.
Civets -- nocturnal, vaguely cat-like mammals from Africa and Asia -- have long been famed for their amazing assholes. Even as recently as a few years ago, coffee made from civet droppings was all the rage. But back in the late 1600s, it was the civets' anal musk that everyone wanted, and by god, Defoe was going to give it to them.
Defoe purchased what we assume was a crate of civets, set up a couple of stalls narrow enough to keep the creatures from turning around, and then got to work scraping out -- with a goddamned spatula -- "the butterlike secretion" that "collected in the pouches between the tail and the anus."
In a turn of events that surprised absolutely no one, the endeavor failed spectacularly. It rapidly devolved into a convoluted shitshow of falsified credit notes, and the entire lot of civets was bought and sold and rebought, to the point that even Defoe's biographer Paula R. Backscheider thought it was an amazing con. His creditors, however, were less than impressed. Defoe went bankrupt, gave up on trying to do business altogether, and instead redefined everything we know about writing.