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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Skunk and Me

As if hormones, breakouts, and pop quizzes weren't enough for any 14 year old to contend with Pepe Le Pew decided my life could use a little more. . . . fragrance.

Picture it: Sicily 1945. . . . Just kidding. I can't help but reference the Golden Girls occasionally.

One night (when I was 14) I awoke at about 3 am to a truly putrid smell. Groggy- I couldn't imagine what it was. I tried to go back to sleep but this was a smell that would not be ignored. My parents woke up about the same time and after some investigation we found the offending culprit- a SKUNK somehow got underneath the house and couldn't get back out again. In a panic it began flinging itself against the wall over and over and over again- spraying its powerful scent each time.

There was no going back to sleep that night and there was nothing to do but wait for the skunk to find its way out- which eventually it did, but not before filling our home with it's super skunk spray. After a few hours the smell seemed to clear out and since it was too late to get much rest at that point, I got ready for school and my dad and I went out for an early breakfast.

Next stop: Junior High. Imagery is vital here. Imagine with me, if you will a bustling 8th grade hallway, 13-14 year olds milling around, chatting, getting books out of lockers, cheerleaders discussing last nights episode of 90210 and "how like, totally cute Luke Perry is". .

I took about 3 steps down the hall when just like a scene from a movie- the crowd parted, audible gasps could be heard all around as hands flew to protect noses, and one 6'2'' football player, towering over the crowd yelled out "SHOOOOOWEEEEE! WHO GOT SPRAYED?!?"

I was horrified, Praying to God no one knew it was me. How did we not know the smell was all over our clothes?!?!? I flew to my classroom, dumped by books and bolted for the Principal's office to call my mother. Before however, I could make my get away- a boy who had a slightly obsessive crush on me met me with a smile and a barrage of questions. "Hey Sam- You look good today. How was your night? Can I sit with you at lunch? Do you smell that? What's wrong? Wait, where are you going?" and lastly yelling after me as I ran down the hall "Did I do something wrong?!?"

By the time I made my way to the office school "officials" were already trying to figure out where the smell was coming from. I tearfully explained to the secretary why I needed to call my mom. They were all VERY sympathetic, not to mention eager to get me out of there! I called my mom's office and her assistant informed me she was already on the way- apparently she had been humiliated at work as well. Just then my favorite teacher from the previous year walked in and saw me in tears. The secretary- God bless her, explained for me because I was too busy dying of embarassment. Mrs. Patrick (the best teacher I ever had) felt so badly for me that she wrapped me in a huge bear hug. Yes, covered in skunk spray, she hugged me and told me that one day it would just be a funny story- and it is. She probably had to burn her outfit.

My humiliation wasn't over just yet. The principal- a dear man who really cared about the students escorted me to an empty classroom to wait for my mom. He then opened the window and muttered none too convincingly " Incase you get hot". It was 40 degrees outside. I watched out the window counting the seconds til my mom's car pulled up and when it did I made a break for it. Adding insult to injury as soon as I got to the door I heard Mrs. Phan behind me- exclaiming in her strong Vietnamese accent to no one in particular: Shoo! What died?

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to rid your home of skunk? Your clothes? All your belongings for that matter. Its darn near impossible! It takes washing the tainted items in all sorts of concoctions and lots of prayer. We didn't smell the skunk spray on our belongings because like any smell- we got used to it in the hours we were subjected to it before we left home.
For months afterward I was beyond paranoid that there were traces left of it on my clothes. I nearly drove my best friend crazy shoving things to her face and demanding to know if she smelled skunk! As if I weren't paranoid enough to begin with. . . . .


Daisy said...

Yikes! What a horrible thing to endure and a worse age to have it happen in.

When my mom was in high school in the 1950's her younger brother came home with a dead skunk over his shoulder on a stick. He had shot it with his gun. What was he thinking???? My grandmother had a heck of a time getting the smell off him and she buried his clothes in the back yard.

SamanthaNC said...

Yes lol- burrying our clothes was suggested to us too! Try replacing 5 wardrobes in one whack :)

MonicaW42 said...

LOL I remember my Dad and brother went camping once and came home skunked. My Mom went and bought a bunch of bottles of Ketchup and washed the clothes and made them bathe in it to get the smell out. Thanks for the memory Samantha, now when I have Heinz ketchup this week I will have a good laugh :)~

SamanthaNC said...

We used tomato juice- *cringe*

Anya said...

Samantha, what a story. You poor thing. It's kind of like a nightmare come to life.

I have a sorta-similar story about wearing a pair of shoes to school that I (later) discovered one of our cats had relieved himself in. Aww, memories!

Thanks for sharing. It's great to look back on these more absurd episodes of our lives and be able to see the humor.

SamanthaNC said...


Doube ick- I can only imagine how that day went :)

merryway said...

ooh, once upon a time, my dog got sprayed the night before the movers came. It was horrible, he was right on top of the skunk when it sprayed and got it right in the eyes/head. No home remedy or anything store-bought worked. I can't remember how long it took to fade, even with shaving his head.

I bet you didn't think you would live through that moment. How horrible. I can't imagine how strong it was.

SamanthaNC said...

Hello Merryway :) Good to see you here! Yes it was humiliating...... I'm sure you were glad when the smell faded at your house too!