Mad Dog

When I was about 10 or 11 my dad had a bunch of tar drip on his head as he was patching a hole in the roof of a shed in our back yard. I don’t think I dripped the tar on his head but you never know and I don’t remember? To remove the tar he used a liquid he called coal oil. I don’t remember where it came from but I suspect it came out of a garage we tore down in Eldorado, KS. (El-dough-raid-o not the home of the gold, El dough raw dough) That coal oil acted as a thinner and not only did it remove that tar, it cured a really bad case of dandruff. That home remedy is one that I filed in my memory banks for later use.

Sometime later and I’m not sure of the intervening time frame but later on a friend of mine had an old dog that came down with the mange and had large bald spots where the fur was dropping off. One day as we were goofing off in the back yard I mentioned the coal oil remedy to Denny. He was a really fun kid to play with but not the brightest bulb in the pack. I think it was a disease that burned up some brain cells when he was younger that diminished his capacity. Being a consummate follower, Denny couldn’t wait to find some of that miracle coal oil. We searched my dad’s shed and where Denny’s dad stored his stuff. Not a drop of that “New Miracle Cure” could be found. (Yes, I now know that Coal Oil was an old product and not something most people would have a can of) We found a long list of products that could be a substitute but few that we thought would be appropriate to pour on a poor dog’s fur. Denny finally found a gas can and thought that because it came from crude oil that it would be close enough to substitute. You know, Crude oil vs coal oil. I wasn’t sure but hey, it was his dog and his gas.

Needless to say his experiment and application of gasoline to a mange spot turned out to be something we were not ready for. I had heard the term turpentined cat but had never witnessed a gassed dog. That old cur, that could hardly walk, turned into a whirling dervish of snapping, barking, howling and foaming at the mouth critter much more scary than Steven King’s Cujo. Mostly because we had to imagine Cujo and that dog was right there in real life and pissed off.

Thank god there were piles of large boxes in the yard and I immediately sought refuge on top of one. After a few seconds Denny thought that was a good idea and joined me. The dog continued to run around that box and bark, snarl and act rabid for about five minutes. All of a sudden she dropped on her side and didn’t move. Denny said,Did she die?" "Na," I said, "She ran out of gas."

Other than the ending of this story that I have made into a joke the above event did happen. Needless to say we learned a good lesson that day.



  1. I liked your poor dog story and needed a good laugh. Thanks...

  2. I should have seen the punch line coming since Danny tells a very similar joke all. the. time. Was the dog okay?

    I wrote a blog post a while back where I mentioned living at this place http://www.oltiv.org/sale.html
    before it was what it now is. Anyway, I worked the housekeeping department as my after school job and we used coal oil twice a year on all the woodwork. Nasty, nasty stuff! I hated the way it smelled and the way it made my hands feel, but it sure gave the wood a shine and I think it gave it a protective coating as well.

    I enjoyed your comment on my post about the cottonwoods. I love the way the cotton looks, but it makes me a tad sneezy. Kansas sure is a beautiful place to live and I'm blessed to be here.