Dead Skunk

Dead Skunk

During my time as principal I taught music to the kindergarten children. Twice a week I would visit each of the classes. This would get me out of the office and gave me the opportunity to get to know our newest students.

One evening, I was considering some new songs I could introduce to the students when I thought about Loudon Wainwright III’s song, Dead Skunk. It was a hit song in 1972 and I thought it would be a fun one to teach the children. It included the lyrics:

Crossing the highway late last night
He shoulda looked left and he shoulda looked right
He didn’t see the station wagon car
The skunk got squashed and there you are

You got your dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinking to high heaven

The following day I started my lesson off by telling the children that I wanted to teach them a new song. With my guitar in tune I started singing. During the second verse I notice one of boys was staring at me with a rather forlorn expression and then tears started falling down his cheeks. I stopped playing.

“Michael, why are you so sad?”

He sobbed, “We have a pet skunk.”

Oh no! Really? I quickly thought of my cousin David who once had a pet skunk he called Amos. For this young fellow it was like singing about a dead kitty in the middle of the road.

“Michael, I’m sorry, this is just a song. It didn’t really happen.” Actually, it happens A LOT around here.

Putting my best improv skills to work I said, “Boy and girls, I have new words for this song. It goes like this:

Crossing the highway late last night
He did look left and he did look right
He did see the station wagon car
He watched it pass and there you are

“You got your happy skunk who crossd the road
Your happy skunk who crossed the road
Your happy skunk who crossed the road
He is safe on the other side”

I had them sing the chorus a few times with me. Michael was smiling again and happily singing along.

That was the last time I sang a song about dead animals in a kindergarten class.

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