How I Got Burned By A Skunk

The year– 1989

I don’t remember much lately. It’s either menopause or alzheimers or little mini strokes (that’s what did my poor mother in), I prefer to think it’s menopause or better–I just have a crappy memory. But I remember clearly that day in 1989.

A few weeks before I got a call from my son’s elementary school. He was in the third grade at the time. It seems his third grade teacher (I will not mention any names here) had no idea how to handle him. I was told that the nurse, his gym teacher? and his third grade teacher spent time in his class observing him and came up with the conclusion that he needed therapy. I had just gotten divorced and figured maybe that’s why they were having a problem with him. He was always a high strung, non stop, dive in, kind of kid but I never thought he needed therapy. If anyone needed it at the time it was me.

I was brought up to do as I was told. I still have that problem. I have a tough time saying no to anyone. So I took him to therapy. Don’t worry I’ll get to the skunk soon. This is all just the set up. Like in a movie, you don’t go directly to the critical scene, you have to set things up, get to know the characters. I don’t know to this day if taking him to therapy ever really helped him but it did help me. I don’t remember seeing any changes in him but I learned how to deal with him a little better.

Now to the skunk. We had just finished with the therapist and stopped off at a pizza place to get some to go and then head home. By now it was dark and I hadn’t left the light on by the side door of the house. As I walked toward the steps, with pizza in hand, trailed by my two darling children, I went up the two steps and right in front of the door was the monster skunk from hell. He looked and me and I looked at him and we both screamed. I’m not sure that he actually screamed but some noise came out of him. I had no time to react (other than scream) before I got hit squarely on my right cheek with a steady stream of skunk stuff.

skunk-spraying.jpgI’m not sure what part of that ass, the stuff comes out of. I really always have some kind of ass problems.

I always envisioned that when a skunk sprayed it would actually come out as a spray. But no, it was a stream. I could still feel it dripping down my face. I dropped the pizza, my pocketbook, yelled at the kids to run (I don’t think they had any idea what was happening) and we all ran. I could hear my son yelling “Mom, you forgot the pizza”. Chaos ensued. It didn’t take long for the kids to realize what had happened because I smelled like freshly sprayed skunk fodder.

Finally the skunk took off. My son felt worse for the pizza he knew he couldn’t eat than for me but my daughter, who was ten at the time, was right there for me. We went in the house, I got in the shower and told her to find every can of tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce (I didn’t care if it was seasoned, I figured a little basil couldn’t hurt) (I think my son thought I was going to make homemade pizza) and bring it to me. She promptly brought me about 8 cans and jars of whatever she could find and I took a tomato shower. I scrubbed my head in it, my whole body was covered in tomatoes. You haven’t lived until you take a shower in tomato sauce. I could picture myself wrestling in it, like mud wrestling. With who, I don’t know. I knew no one would want to stand near me for the next month. After I rinsed I took a regular shower with the strongest smelling soap I could find.

The problem was, the stuff had actually gone up my nose a little. It took weeks before I stopped smelling skunk. The next day I went to a hair salon and bought some stuff to strip anything in your hair right out. That actually helped. I threw away all the clothes I had on that night, including my pocketbook. Unfortunately I threw away my glasses which were in the pocketbook. I took about 5 more showers and I stilled smelled skunk, though my daughter said she had to get up really close to me before she could smell it. I think she was just trying to be polite.

Now to the burn. I was actually left with a burn on my face from the skunk stuff. Is there actually a name for skunk stuff? Is it their pee? I had the burn for a good week. I remember thinking “Can you actually get scarred by a skunk?” I mean physically not emotionally. I was definitely scarred emotionally.

Shortly after that is when my daughter thought it would be cute to always buy me some sort of skunk thing for birthdays, mother’s day, Christmas, etc. I have quite the collection.

skunkhatrealbacktoplg.jpgThis is my skunk hat

Well, that’s it. Now I hate the little bastards. Is that too strong a word. No, I don’t think so.

Next time I will have to tell you all about how my wasband (ex-husband to those of you who are new here) tried to electrocute a squirrel with water and an electric frying pan. Or even better, how he tried to chop down a ninety foot pine tree by himself. That was a close call. It’s one of those stories, that if it were on TV, you would see at the bottom of the screen “Please don’t try this at home by yourself.” Actually, that could apply to the squirrel incident too.ย  Oh, I just remembered the best one, the night my wasband tried to burn ourย  kitchen table (whole- I mean in one piece) in the fireplace. Actually that’s the best one.


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. moonbeammcqueen
    Jan 02, 2008 @ 13:42:23

    What stories you have to tell! This was hilarious. I keep imagining you and the skunk looking at each other and screaming.

    My “wasband” is a bit of an eccentric. He lives out in the middle of nowhere and actually once kept a skunk as a pet. He somehow removed the anal scent glands, and I guess they both lived happily ever after, until it was time for the fur buyer to come to town. Then I think the skunk may have ended up as your hat.


  2. joanharvest
    Jan 02, 2008 @ 13:48:50


    My wasband is like my son only he doesn’t know it. He just dives into things without think of the consequences. I had another story I was going to tell but I already forgot it. It’ll come back to me. It was a good one too.


  3. Wendy
    Jan 02, 2008 @ 22:22:12

    This. Was. So hilarious!
    Oh my god, Joan, it was jut so funny … and I know it must have been terrible at the time. And Damon yelling for the pizza! Your glasses! Basil!

    The smell of skunk spray is nauseating, I think I’ve actually thrown up because of it but I can’t remember. Our dogs got sprayed quite a few times every summer. Even though they were outside when they were sprayed, the skunk stream must have hit the house or something because smell always permeated the entire inside of the house. Maybe it was because all the windows were open? I don’t know but it was always at like 2 AM and woke everyone, the stink is that bad. Once I got up and drove to the A&P at 2 AM to get the poor dogs some tomato juice for a bath (because it’s very upsetting for them, they know something is wrong) and the all-night cashier said she could smell me as soon as I walked into the supermarket.

    Another time I went to work at the E the next day — and I hadn’t even been sprayed, mind you, but I still bathed with the tomato juice in the morning — but I stunk up the newsroom anyway and they asked me to go home till I could solve the problem. I ended up calling the vet, who told me to buy a big jar of powdered douche and mix it up in a gallon jug. Buying all that douche was humiliating because the CVS girl told me I stunk. But I had to get in the tub and pour it over myself and scrub it into my scalp, etc. The vet said it even gets into your pores and I might have to do it again, which I did.

    Just as “only love can break your heart,” only douche can kill skunk odor. I like your hat, though.


  4. CuriousC
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 09:53:39

    Gosh, funny. Ah, the days before Fabreze! Our dog had gotten skunked a few times and it’s true about getting into pores. Poor pup ran thru a barbed wire fence a year after the last skunk run-in and when the vet put him under to sew him up, the skunk smell CAME BACK. Cuz he was so relaxed…


  5. David
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 10:45:51

    HA! What an awesome story! I like the screaming part too. And the part where your son thought you were gonna whip up another pizza. Kids! And I can hear the music, Wendy, “only douche can kill skunk odor”!

    I’ve managed to avoid direct skunk confrontation, but of course most of our dogs have not. Our present cat, Hunter, was actually “hanging out” with a skunk last summer. Or that’s what she told us anyway. “Just friends” she said.


  6. romi41
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 23:05:56

    Hahahahaha….you need to do a series of these stories ๐Ÿ™‚

    You have at least 3 more with the table, the squirrel, and the pine tree (LMAO ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    PS: I cringed when you mentioned the stream, MY GOD the stream….in any case, THAT is by far, worse than any poo-story…I have new-found respect for you!


  7. joanharvest
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 02:23:19

    The thing about my stories is they are all absolutely true. I don’t even have to embellish them. The weirdest stuff happens around me. One of the worst is I saw a cop get shot in his car. Fortunately he lived . I’ll tell that one sometime. Or the time I heard a car careening across my front lawn into the neighbor’s yard in the middle of the night and I watched him head towards my house. I had the police scanner going and they said he had a gun.


  8. David
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 20:22:24

    You know something Joan? Your last comment just helped me realize one thing that I love about blogging. It’s the lightness of it. For though we all have heavy stories to tell, we usually post the lighter stuff. Lord knows there’s enough heavy stuff on the TV all the time. But reading others’ thoughts and lives in their own words, our complicated little lives don’t seem as complicated any more. Thank you.


  9. moonbeammcqueen
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 22:03:56

    Joan– I like your heavier posts too. It’s all good, and all interesting.

    You asked me to tell you which word games I play online, and I keep meaning to send them, so here they are:

    Please let me know what you think.


  10. Lucky
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 16:32:06

    OH NO!!!!! I can’t believe it burned you … or that is was a steady stream! GROOOOOOSSSSSSS! I love that your daughter buys you skunk stuff…that is hilarious! haha ๐Ÿ™‚

    Skunk sprays are the worst. My car was sprayed once. It tooks MONTHS for the smell to go away. ECK. It makes my nose burn just thinking about it.

    Once, this lady called our office because she wanted a permit to keep 2 skunks as pets. (We didn’t give it to her – she was bringing them from another state and couldn’t cross statelines with them.) Why? WHY? Get a cat! You’re going to de-scent it anyway…you know what a de-scented skunk is? A CAT!


  11. joanharvest
    Mar 04, 2008 @ 11:52:00

    @ Lucky
    I had to put vitamin E oil on my face for a week. I have my three black kitty boys (no white stripes on them). I think I’ll stick with them. Our side light at the door is broken so if I come home in the dark I always carry a flashlight and check out the area first. I am convinced I am going to run into that little shit again someday but I’ll be prepared.


  12. Tybron
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 23:10:59

    Well it’s an interesting story but I can’t help but think you deserved the spraying. First off, you were less than 2 feet from a skunk and instead of backing off respectfully, you screamed at it. You honestly didn’t expect to be sprayed when startling a skunk with loud noises? That’s like hitting a bee hive and expecting not to be stung.

    Secondly to answer your question the skunk’s defensive liquid is called musk. It’s not toxic, and had you not been sprayed so heavily (nor waited to treat it) you probably wouldn’t have been burned. I’m sorry your experience made you actually hate skunks, in truth they’re some of the most peaceful, quietest animals in the forest (and to reply to Lucky here, they make EXCELLENT pets if you can handle their unique habits, though personally I’m against de-scenting because it really hurts the skunk and leaves it completely defenseless against other animals).

    Thirdly, tomato juice/sauce is pretty ineffective at removing skunk scent. You should’ve used hydrogen peroxide and baking soda (which completely deodorizes and removes it), but given that solution wasn’t discovered until the mid-90’s and tomato juice is the most popular old wives’ tale cure it’s understandable you’d try it.

    Coincidentally there’s no chance whatsoever you’ll run into that same skunk again if this happened in 1989. Skunks on average don’t live more than 10 years as pets and less than 1 or 2 years in the wild.


  13. joanharvest
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 23:50:41


    Thanks for stopping by. I think the screaming and the spraying more than likely happened simultaneously. It was pitch black and I could barely see him even at two feet away. I certainly would have backed off if things hadn’t happened so fast. It happened such a long time ago that I am not really sure if I screamed because I saw him or he sprayed me.

    I agree with you about descenting skunks. That’s as bad as declawing cats.

    I wish I had known about the hydrogen peroxide and the baking soda at the time.

    I’ve heard they make great pets and I don’t suppose I really hate them. But I did hate getting sprayed. I didn’t realize it would burn until the next day when I woke up with a red face.

    Thanks for all the info on skunks. Hopefully I will never get sprayed again ๐Ÿ™‚


  14. Peter
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 02:04:15

    Forget about the tomato juice. Use Nature’s Miracle (TM) Skunk Odor Remover instead. It worked for me. Try it & I’m sure you won’t regret using it!


  15. joanharvest
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 01:27:23

    @ Peter
    I’ll remember that. Hopefully, though, it won’t happen again.


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