THE TIME I GOT SPRAYED BY A SKUNK

by Steve Clem on November 14, 2010

Growing up, my best friend Jeff and I got into plenty of trouble.

Like the time we decided we were going to build a baseball stadium in the front pasture of his farm. My mom arrived to pick me up and found Jeff sitting on a fence post, yelling at me for what part of the project I had to do next.

Or the time that we decided to add a fireplace to the fort we built right next to the farm’s gasoline tanks. A fireplace would be bad enough, but we built a fireplace without a chimney (such things are lost on 10-year-olds). Jeff’s mom returned from an errand to find us putting the fire out, wondering if she’d ever be able to leave us alone again.

But there is no memory with Jeff more vivid than the time we got sprayed by a skunk.

It started innocently enough. We were going snake hunting.

Jeff lived on a nice farm just outside the city limits. A rolling piece of land was our playground. And on this day our chosen form of entertainment was snake hunting.

So he and I built our weapons of choice. We whittled long sticks to have a spear on one end. Primitive, yet effective. Jeff’s two older cousins joined us in our hunt. We set out and found a series of holes along a hillside path that looked like they needed further investigation.

When we came upon a slightly larger hole, we looked at each other, and Jeff said “I think this might be a really big snake living here.”

We all decided the best tactic was to attack as a team. As we moved closer, a set of eyes peered out of the hole at us. “Wow, that’s a big garter snake,” I remember thinking to myself.

The next thing we knew, a little black cat with white stripes came bolting out of the hole and immediately turned around to run back into the hole.

Or so it appeared.

This was no cat. This was Pepe Friggin’ Le Pew. A skunk that was not at all happy that we woke him up from a nap looking for snakes.

Before we knew it, we were all sprayed by Pepe. And it burned our eyes. And stunk. Worse than nearly anything else I’ve ever smelled in my life.

We made our way slowly back to Jeff’s house. As we arrived, Jeff knocked on the kitchen window to tell his mom to come outside. Upon learning of our situation, she quickly called my mom. My mom arrived and took Jeff’s cousin and me back home. She made us ride in the back of the station wagon. Many moms may have made their kids walk home.

A few tomato juice baths later, and many repeated loads of clothes washing, my world returned to normal. But in that short time, I learned a very valuable life lesson.

Don’t go hunting snakes if you’re not ready to be sprayed by a skunk.

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: