Saturday, September 20, 2008

Interview with a Skunk Spray Survivor

The young man came up the walk and threw the newspaper on my neighbor's porch, pausing a moment to see if the paper landed where he wanted it.

"Are you the one who got sprayed by the skunk?" I asked.

"JESUS!" he yelped. I clearly saw the air between his feet and the sidewalk as he jumped. He turned his face to me, sitting in the dark on my porch. "I didn't see you."

And I guess he hasn't seen me before, on the rare occasions I am outside at 5 a.m. on my darkened porch. I've never said anything before, and he comes off a lighted walkway and throws towards a lighted porch. I had never made my presence known, and I guess he had never seen me. I am not out there often at that time of day, but this day I was.

"Are you the one who got sprayed by the skunk?" I persisted.

"Yes, that's why I'm so jumpy," he answered.

I asked where he was when he got sprayed, and he gave me an address a block or two away. I asked what happened and how far away the skunk was.

He hadn't seen the skunk, he said, and it was about 10 feet away. Hit his upper right hip. Well, skunks don't see well. Good to know it was off-center. I asked what he did then.

"Well, I finished my route," he said, which I thought was heroic, knowing the stink.

Then he went by a pharmacy, he said, and got peroxide and baking soda and went to a friend's home (must have been a very good friend) and showered and scrubbed and scrubbed till the smell was off his skin. He said he had tried washing the clothes and cleaning the smell off them with less success. Couldn't get all the smell out.

I wanted to ask what he'd tried, and ask for even more details, but I had delayed him long enough and he had a route to finish.

"Thanks for the information," I told him, and he loped off, back to his car to finish his route.

I suspect he'll search for me for awhile on the dark porch in the future, but, as I said, I am seldom there at that hour. And I cause no harm, so his guard will finally relax.

Peroxide and baking soda. Huh. Good to know. Never talked to someone who had gotten sprayed before. I have read that even skunks don't like the smell. I remember a time as a kid when my dad shot a skunk right outside my bedroom window in the middle of the night, and the shotgun blast didn't wake me up, but the smell did. Awful.

I understand skunks live all over the world, and in Great Britain they are called polecats, which I always thought was a colloquism here.

I've known a lot of dogs that got sprayed, but the news carrier was my first human.
Good information. And his bosses should know, great work ethic.


Crucis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crucis said...


I grew up on a farm---hogs mostly but we also grew corn, soybeans, wheat and had some horses. We had an old barn that sheltered the horses so there was a manger and feed stalls inside.

One summer, a skunk moved in under the manger and had some kits. The manger was a trough about 2 feet off the ground. Hay and other feed dropped down from the loft into the trough and the horses would come in and feed.

Well, the skunk was back in a far corner of the manger and the horses wouldn't go in because of the skunk. Dad got his shotgun, got down on the floor of the barn and fired into the corner---and missed. The skunk didn't. Dad left rather quickly leaving the rest of the job to me. I didn't miss.

Fortunately, the horses took care of any skunk that tried to find a new home in the barn. Every now and then, we'd find a mashed skunk where skunk met horse and lost. Horses have long memories.

night lightning woman said...

crucis, I'll ve reading you regular in the future, and if I can figure it out, link to you. Great memory.

Crucis said...

Night Lightning Woman, I don't have a blog really. Never thought I had enough to write about.

It's a thought.


Crucis said...

I've taken your advice and started a blog at

I've included the skunk episode and fleshed it out a bit.

Thanks for the kick-start to get me going!