Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Story Time: The Rotten Egg Incident

Bear with me, I feel the need to reminisce...

I was always a good kid. I never really got into defiance for the sake of defiance; I always wanted to follow the rules and loved the praise and approval I received for being such a good kid. Occasionally I was naughty, but mostly I was not the trouble maker. Which is why the Rotten Egg Incident is still such a sore spot for me: I was innocent, but I looked guilty as hell. And it was spectacular.

I was about eleven, maybe twelve years old. My cousins, Heather, Sadie and Jessica, had come to visit, and the next door neighbor kids, Jamie & Ben, were also over at our house playing. Heather was three years older than I, Sadie was my age, and Jess, Jamie and my brother Jon were two years younger than we were, with Ben a couple years behind them. We were having a grand time, playing around and in the pond, on a beautiful summer day, while our parents chatted in the shade.

Now, the pond at my parent's house is not huge, and it's not deep, but it is murky and the bottom is mucky, not nice at all for wading or swimming. In the center of the pond is a small island where wild ducks nest nearly every year. Exploring the island was the obvious thing for us to do when my dad produced a small boat for us to play with. Jon and Sadie ferried Heather and I over to the island, and then headed back to the shore to pick up Jamie, Jesse and Ben. There was a lot of silliness going on in the boat, and somehow both of the paddles were dropped overboard.

Meanwhile, Heather and I began to explore the island, which was very brushy. We pushed our way through the branches and came upon an old duck's nest in the lee of the biggest alder tree. It still had an egg in it! What a find! I picked it up, examined it, and held it up for everyone to see, yelling to the other kids "We found a duck egg!". And they yelled back "Throw it! Throw it!"

So I did. I hauled back and unquestioningly threw the duck egg.

Which hit the network of low-hanging alder branches and aerosolized into a fine mist of pure rotten-egg putrescence which enveloped all the kids, both in the boat and on the shore.

Now, as is often the case in these situations, I knew as soon as the egg left my hand that it was a mistake. I suddenly saw the kids on the shore holding a tow-rope tied to a weight, ready to throw to the kids in the boat who had lost their paddles overboard. In an instant it was crystal clear, but it was too late. Everyone was shrieking, crying, retching, adults were running from the yard to see what was happening, and there was a mind-boggling terrible stink in the air.

To everyone but Heather and I it seemed like a completely unprovoked biochemical sneak attack. We were stuck on the island for what seemed like hours, while the adults rescued, bathed, and comforted our siblings. I think they even got ice cream. We were told we could wade to shore through the now stinky muck water on our own. No-one wanted to hear my side of the story, because really, what possible excuse could there be for doing such a horrible, stupid, mean thing?

Eventually after all the other kids were cleaned up and settled down someone came and rescued us off the island, but despite my teary-eyed protestations I don't think anyone really believed me that it had been an accident. I mean really, when your story is that you accidentally threw a rotten duck egg right at all the other kids because they asked you to, well, that's a pretty hard explanation to sell. But it's true. I was innocent... and also guilty. And although it was terribly traumatic for everyone involved (especially me) it makes a pretty funny story now!

1 comment:

Ericson said...

just think of it as punishment for all the stuff you got away with :)