Drowning In Chicken Shit

Drowning In Chicken Shit (Unfortunately a True Story)

Ever had one of those days, (or lifetimes), when it feels as though you are drowning in shit? Believe me, it’s much the same as the real thing. At an early age God gave me a taste, (literally), of what my future was to hold, an endless struggle, just to keep my head above all the crap.

It’s one of those tales that may seem funny now, even hilarious to some, but at the time it was devastating, (and disgusting). I was at my grandparents’ farm where we sold mostly pickles, potatoes and eggs. The chicken barns were not as high-tech as they are today, and instead of underground holding tanks for refuse, we had to broom and spray all the waste from the front, out the back door, and into a big swimming pool-like container. It was about six feet deep at the door, and tapered down to where a truck could back up and pump it out when full.

The farm was a magical place as a child, lots of things to do, baby animals to play with, and places to explore. I was about four at the time, playing with Joe, my best friend (and my grandmother’s foster child), carefree and laughing, totally unprepared for what was about to happen.

We were joking around, balancing along fence posts and the like, as we headed towards the back fields. As we came around the corner of the barn I jumped up on the ledge of the ‘pool’, walking along the very thick concrete. Then I made my fatal mistake, with the source of most of my troubles in life, my mouth.

I have a very quick, sarcastic wit. (Something encouraged in my family, and something Joe should be used to, but…). All I did was say some innocent (and funny) remark about him and boof! A quick, hard, push from his left side, made me disappear as fast as the comment left my lips.

Everything was dark for a second and I didn’t even realize what happened until I looked up to the daylight, and saw the horrified face of Joe, who kept mumbling “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!”

“Never mind sorry,” I yelled back, “Just get me out!” At this point it was about a week away from being emptied, (about 3/4 full), and I, being quite small, was in way over my head — and sinking fast.

Now, chicken shit is thick (and in that quantity fermenting quite well), but you can’t exactly stand on it. You sink like it’s a pungent, slimy, quick sand. As hard as he tried, Joe could not reach me, so he ran for help, leaving me flailing in the bird crap, and going down fast.

I could hear them before I saw them. “She’s drowning in chicken shit, she’s drowning in chicken shit!” Joe was screaming.

She’s what?”

Suddenly three faces pop over the side: Joe, my grandmother and Old Ed (our life long farm hand and friend — more like an uncle). Joe pointed in horror at the tuft of blonde hair, the chin barely above the surface, and arms swimming wildly.

In that instant there was a roar of laughter from both, doubling over, and almost rolling on the ground. I was horrified! I was drowning in chicken crap, and my ‘saviors’ couldn’t keep themselves together long enough to help me out (let alone look at me without bursting out laughing again).

Finally, Joe grabbed Ed’s rake and lowered it down the side (which I managed to get to all by my self, I might add, no help from my ‘heroes’.) I grabbed on for dear life, when suddenly Ed’s massive hand jerked me up and out in one swift pull. I was covered, head to toe (and a few other places too), in chicken shit. But the indignities didn’t stop there.

Naturally, the smells of nature do not dissipate the moment you get out of it, but I found their reaction down right insulting. They turned their noses and ordered me as far away as possible. Then they turned the hoses on me — twice. First from a safe distance, they sprayed me as I was then they made me take off all my clothes, and sprayed me down again. They still wouldn’t let me in the house until three tubs of water later, when I was finally pronounced clean enough.

The event only lasted an hour, but the teasing lasted for years, and the experience seems to repeat itself throughout my life (if not literally, figuratively anyway). It still feels like quick sand, it’s still hard to get out of, the stench of it still lingers for a while. But now that I have had a good taste if it, I can smell it coming a mile away.

Grandma always told me that God puts a lesson for us in all that happens. For years I wondered what this one could possibly be (except, watch where you are walking when you are about to make a wise crack. I got that one right away). If there was one, it would be this for me: when you’re drowning in shit, keep your head above the surface, dog paddle like hell until you can get out of it, and what ever you do, don’t swallow any of it!

Most of Lyn’s writings are of her personal experiences, and the lessons they had for her. She has been writing for many years, mostly for herself, family and friends. Recently she has bowed to pressure to share some of these with others.