Kids are hilariously unpredictable, and creative, so I didn’t panic when my six year-old son marched in the house from the back yard and proclaimed, “We need to get rid of a skunk!” I thought it was a new game that he and his five year-old sister made up. So, I played along for a while.
“A skunk, huh? Well, how do you think we should get rid of a skunk?”
He thought about it seriously for a little while. He must have considered the latest super hero cartoon episode he’d watched, because he decided zapping it with a laser gun was the best solution.
“Well, that’s not a bad idea, but what if you missed the skunk and shot the house? Then, our house would fizzle and smoke. Maybe you should think of some other way to get rid of a skunk?”
My son nodded sagely at my counterargument, remained silent for a while, and then suggested a more mundane, but equally dangerous solution.
“We could just shoot it with a gun.”
“Uh, I’m not sure that’s the best way to do it, son. We’re not supposed to shoot anything in our neighborhood. We might miss and hurt somebody.”
“Oh, right. That wouldn’t be good,” he agreed. “I’ll go think about it for a little while.”
Only ten minutes passed and my son was back to play the game some more with me. He handed me a blue print that would have made MacGyver proud. It involved digging a huge hole with some sharp sticks at the bottom, a couple of trip wires strung around our back yard, and, for some reason, an alien from outer space. I looked it over carefully, keeping a straight face. “Son, you have really worked hard on this plan to get rid of a skunk. I’m very proud of you. Now, where do you think we can get an alien?”
“Can’t we buy one at the store?”
“That depends. Is it a real alien from outer space, or just a toy.”
“Well, it’s a real alien. His job is to make skunk noises and get the skunk to come over to investigate, trip over a wire and fall in the hole.”
“I see, son. You’ve really thought this through.” Plus, I was inwardly impressed a kindergartner correctly used the word “investigate.”
“Maybe the store doesn’t have aliens,” he suggested. “I’ll have to think of another way to get the skunk to go in the hole.”
Just then, my daughter, who was still playing in the back yard, screamed. I looked out the window just in time to see her holding the door to the shed wide open, and a black and white creature run across our lawn. This was no game. My son was right. We had to get rid of a skunk!
Ushering my daughter back inside, I gave up all thoughts of blueprints and aliens and laser guns and trip wires. I told my son there was a special number we could call when we need to get rid of a skunk. He agreed that calling Allstate Animal Control was probably the best (and easiest) course of action.