Tastes like burning

On December 7th, my wife and I, with the help of some friends, put down about 3000 square feet of sod in our front yard. It was tough work, but worth every strained muscle and aching back: the yard looks beautiful.
In addition to representing lots of hard work, the lawn also represents a significant financial investment, so I am sort of manic about keeping it looking its best.
Because of this mania, I am ready to fucking kill the goddamn skunks who keep tearing up the edges of the grass each night.
However, I am a peace loving man, and I’ve chosen to refrain from planting AP mines at the corners of the yard. Instead, I bought a big old jug of red pepper flakes at Smart and Final (for 5 dollars, thank you very much), and spread them all over the perimeter of the lawn last night.
Here’s the thing about red pepper flakes: even when you wash and dry your hands really well after you’re done? The oil that makes them spicy is still on your hands. So when you absentmindedly scratch your chin, or rub your eye, or go to the bathroom, every single thing you touch will immediately burst into flames.
Every. Single. Thing.
Oh, how it burns.
So when I got into bed last night, I felt like I’d spent a week in Bangkok.
But when I got up this morning, the burning had subsided, and my front yard was unmolested by the little stinky bastards.
Skunks- 5
Wil- 1

127 thoughts on “Tastes like burning”

  1. Went camping one time and a skunk decided to hang around our site (i mean, like 3 feet away). We just “marked our territory” to get it to go away. Nothing like a perimeter of pee.

  2. Truly classic — “A female acquaintance recently told me that she once handled habaneros, then a tampon.”….”young lady

  3. Wil,
    Been reading the blog for a couple months now and this is my first comment, simply because I have to give you mad props on the Simpsons reference in this post. The Lord of the Flies inspired Model UN episode is one of my all time favorites.
    “It’ll be like Swiss Family Robinson except with more cursing! We’ll be kings! Hell, damn, ass kings!”

  4. Are you sure it’s a skunk? Have you seen it? Maybe it’s a lawn-envious neighbor. Or a Wil-stalker who is really desperate for a Wil-mento. If it is skunks, be sure and keep the pepper-oil fighting lemon and tomato juice around to fight the inevitable unfortunate run-in with the skunk.

  5. Thank you for that, Wil.
    Your pain has caused many of us to giggle uncontrollably.
    You have not suffered in vain.
    And why can’t you train that ruthless killing machine Ferris to devour the skunks?

  6. Poison oak, pepper oil, arm swelling up, etc. You must have sensitive skin to suffer so.
    By way of contrast, I once pepper-sprayed myself (very stupid move, no I’ll choose not to explain how). All it made me do was cough for a few minutes. My high-school encounter with 30 molar Hydrochloric acid was worse (coughed til I damned near puked from the fumes), but left no burns.
    Hmm, okay, I might be thick-skinned, but I am suddenly realizing that I am stupid/clumsy with caustic materials.
    Crawling back into my hole now…

  7. Sorry Wil!!
    Didn’t mean to start a fire with the “sending pepper to Berman” thing. Although it was my idea I wasn’t actually considering it. Besides, That bastard is sooooo unfeeling and insensitive, I highly doubt he’d even feel anything.

  8. Wil,
    Wow, you sound like a real adult. Protect that lawn. Hope you can still keep the holiday spirit, at least, through New Years.

  9. Wil,
    Very funny story, my man! Sorry to hear that you had burning “problems”…I can’t say that I have a personal story that can even relate to that. Best of luck with the skunks and you, Ann and the boys have a great New Year’s!! : )
    Take care,

  10. to me, that was a pretty stale wil-post…nothing extraordinary about it, or particuilarily funny….until the final score at the bottom
    that was the kicker!
    i loved it!

  11. I scanned through the posts and only read “7 inch long purple dildos” .. yeah, ok.
    Sorry about the burning, but thanks for the entry. :))

  12. That was too funny – though I’m sorry you were in pain. The gloves are a good idea.
    My parents had squirrels tearing away parts of the outside of their house to get in – they chewed out a huge hole – TWICE! They had to put mothballs out to keep them away. The also chewed the cables of my dad’s Contour. Good luck with the skunks! Wildlife certainly can be interesting at times.

  13. SKUNKS???? What are those? Just kiddin’ We Australians don’t have such things. We have 7 foot things called Red Kangaroo’s and small, fat, rock like creatures called Wombats who have teeth the size of your hand that burrow through sand and clay like it was whipped cream. Hey Will, and WWDN ‘er’s. HAPPY, SAFE AND PEACEFUL 2003.

  14. Oww….OWW!!! Today has been a very un fun day for mee :( At about 8:30 my dog who I’ve had since i was 4 died :(…. We knew it was commming, but i am sitt in shock :( Stupid Dec 27!!!! :)

  15. Wil, imagine you just finished making salsa and washed your hands real good, but despite your best efforts, some pepper remained on your hands. Now imagine you then tried to change your tampon. Real story.

  16. Next time, wear gloves :). Glad you got those damn skunks, tho.
    My BF, Joe just presented me with the final piece of my Christmas gift – a lovely signed 8×10 of the “RED SPACESUIT.” The form letter was a riot.
    Thank you.

  17. Hey Wil,
    The topic of the day reminds me – have you ever been to Burning Man? I bet it would be right up your alley, and it would be fun to read your impressions. [You are officially on the short list of My Favorite Writers.]

  18. Oooohhhh, I feel your pain!
    A couple of months ago, I made some of my (in-)famous 4 alarm vegetarian chili, and I grated up some habanero peppers to add to the mix. Several things happened:
    1. I inadvertently created pepper spray in my kitchen, causing me much respiratory distress
    2. I turned on my stovetop hood fan, and it blew up (because of a faulty wire and not the peppers, but it was quite a coincidence!!)
    3. Several hours (and several handwashings) later, I removed my contact lenses and it BURNED, oh it BURNED!!! I had to teach my anatomy class the next day sporting my coke-bottle glasses and screaming red eyes…
    I hope you beat those stinky little rats!

  19. “…There was this guy who claimed to be the world’s biggest chili head. So, at lunch, we stopped at Ralph’s in Studio City and bought a Habanero as a dare. Back at the office, Chili Head promptly munched the thing down in two bites.”
    That one actually reminds me of an outing with the Aikido club recently… we went to a Japanese restaurant and the guy next to me pretended that he was going to eat the entire hunk of wasabi in the sushi boat nearest him. We teased him that he’d committed himself with the fake, so he put the wasabi onto a small sushi roll, picked up another hunk of wasabi and added it to the first (we’re talking a near apricot-sized hunk of wasabi here!!!) and ATE it.
    We watched in amazed horror as he stoicly chewed and swallowed… tears pouring from his eyes. Even the restaurant staff was impressed. (;

  20. ahh, the powers of capsacin! (i think i spelled it correctly)…
    try milk. crazy as it sounds (and i didn’t read all 74 previous replies, so if this has already been said…well, read it again), milk is the best thing to drink if you get too much hot pepper in your throat, so logic would stand to reason that it would work topically, as well.
    gives a whole new meaning to “GOT MILK?”, doesn’t it? πŸ˜‰

  21. Was that title a reference to Spark’s “Internet like burning”? I think it was. Good job, Wil. Little things like that foster a sense of community on the Internet, to see one thing somewhere more or less reproduced recongizably somewhere else.

  22. I tried mothballs once to discourage the neighbor’s cats from using our mulch as a litterbox, but the mothballs smelled worse than the cat pee. I’ll try pepper flakes. I’ve tried them indoors to discourage sugar ants but the ants didn’t seem to care. The tomato worms around here actually seem to prefer habaneros to tomatoes–do peppers just have that effect on mammals? Anyone? Anyone? (Geez I really ought to get a life, huh.)

  23. I tried mothballs once to discourage the neighbor’s cats from using our mulch as a litterbox, but the mothballs smelled worse than the cat pee. I’ll try pepper flakes. I’ve tried them indoors to discourage sugar ants but the ants didn’t seem to care. The tomato worms around here actually seem to prefer habaneros to tomatoes–do peppers just have that effect on mammals? Anyone? Anyone? (Geez I really ought to get a life, huh.)

  24. LOL!!!
    Try having the little fuckers going under your house and getting scared by something.
    Damn house smelled for days. $*#@
    I don’t miss skunks. Don’t see too many here in FL, but they were all over San Diego when I lived there.

  25. Poor Wil’s little tortured, immoliated starfish. I hope it was all worth it in the end and the little stink-badgers stay away though. I dread the idea that they may start getting used to the pepper flakes and begin wanting their grubs to come cajun-style.

  26. YIKES!! Sorry to hear about your “troubles.” I hope Anne kissed it and made it feel better. πŸ˜‰
    Glad to hear you solved your lawn problems too. :-)

  27. Skunks are your only problem? You are so lucky. I’ve got fire ants, armadillos, and theiving neighbors. Too bad pepper won’t keep them away…
    I couldn’t even manage to go near pepper anyways, I am so allergic to pepper… *shudder*
    But shyeah, next time wear gloves.

  28. Hey Wil!
    I know it’s already been explained ad nauseum at this point. But, if it’s any help, I actually work for a professional lawn care company out in New England (so don’t worry, I’m not tryin’ to sell you anything… ;P).
    Anyway, as has already been stated, the skunks are looking for grubs. The problem is, even though you’ve put in a whole new lawn, the grubs were probably already on the property. So, you’re probably going to have to put down some kind of treatment to get rid of them.
    The skunks are still going to hang around for a bit. They’re “creatures of habit”, after all. But, once they realize there’s nothing to get from your lawn, they’ll move on.
    Here are a couple of suggestions:
    Merit Grub Control. Produced by the Bayer aspirin company. Best grub control on the market. 98% fewer pesticides than anything else out there. Environmentally friendly.
    This IS still a chemical. So, if you’re worried about the kids (and it sounds like you are, if you started out using pepper flakes), then don’t risk it.
    Another suggestion is something called Diatomacious Earth. It’s an organic grub control, so don’t expect complete eradication. Basically, it’s ground-up insect shells. Harmless to people. But, for soft-bodied insects (like grubs) it’s like crawling through broken glass. πŸ˜› Lovely visual, I know.
    Just spread it out on the whole lawn and water it in for about 30 – 45 minutes. That should, at the very least, kill off a bunch of the grubs. Only problem is, the skunks will still dig for them.
    If you want any more suggestions, feel free to email me, though. :) I’m always happy to lend a few suggestions out. (Keeps me busy in the off-season, which I’m languishing in right now, actually… :P)

  29. There is an all natural product called ROPEL which you might find at pet supply stores or garden stores. Not sure about skunks, but it repels other animals from yards and doesn’t have the pepper on your pecker effect!

  30. i’ve had my own fun with hot peppers…and know well the pain of which you speak…it’s much more fun if you can persuade someone else to wash the pepper residue off of the affected areas…did i hear you screaming…ANNE!!!

  31. I hope you didn’t try anything funny with the wife…. I’m pretty sure that she would have beat the living crap (a.k.a. “seven shades of Sh*te”) out of you.

  32. That was so funny when you called in to the Call For Help-A-Thon and talked about your grass and the pepper! I almost died laughing! BTW, you did a great job co-hosting on TSS the other day too! You are a natural in front of the camera! A techy who can talk in front of a camera is hard to come by! πŸ˜‰ BTW, did you get your remote control back yet?

  33. You should have just tossed some pepper onto your garden. Skunks HATE pepper, trust me, this has been tried and tested!
    Plus it would have saved you from the ‘oh so terrible’ burning :)

  34. You know I had a back muscle problem for a while and used some Icy/Hot on my back then washed my hands, THEN went to the bathroom. Same farking problem, burned like the pizza in my oven right now……….MY PIZZA!!!!………..CUL8R

  35. No doubt too late to do you any good now, but some years ago I was making salsa from scratch with fresh habanero peppers, and alas, I neglected to use gloves while dicing up the little buggers. I rubbed my nose at some point, and the inside of my nose began to feel like it was on fire. In desperation, I stuffed sour cream up my nose. It got all gloopy and disgusting, but it cut the heat significantly after the second dose. (Much like how drinking milk instead of water will help cut the heat of 16-alarm types of chili.) So um, yeah… dairy products, that’s the key!

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