When ON the Course of Human Events…


Yesterday I got a canister of bear spray — it’s pepper spray. The canister is a lot larger than I expected — between 10 inches and a foot — and it has a holster. I don’t see me strapping that on and going to walk the dogs at the slough. I was hoping it was a simple four-inch can of spray with a holster I could clip to my pocket or pack strap in front, but this… I don’t need it for a bear. I need for a grubby man who makes me nervous and scares Dusty.

So, last evening, as I took Dusty T. Dog and Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog for our usual walk around the hood and high school, I noticed the golf course was empty. Really empty. Two cars in front of the club house. A familiar high school golfer walking around with his bag to the holes that challenge him.


They close next month, but right now the course is beautiful. In the beginning of the summer — May, June, most of July — it was aching from the drought like everything else was, but six weeks or so of regular rain and careful tending…

Why was it empty?

“Don’t look a gift course in the mouth,” I said to myself.

It was really good to be back. I’m pretty sure “Grizzly Man” won’t take daily walks there and as much as I love the slough, the views from it don’t compare to those from the open plain of the pasture, I mean driving range. As for animals, I’ve seen more at the golf course than at the wildlife refuge. This isn’t cold comfort at all.


17 thoughts on “When ON the Course of Human Events…

  1. Were we used to live in town we had a neighbour who had pepper spray and used it on a guy that was breaking in. Just wanted to say it works, he was out on his back in pain until the police arrived.

    • Yep. I’m all for it, but this thing is too much. I guess if I ever get to the point where I’m hiking in bear country, I’ll carry it, but for one obnoxious ugly creepy guy, this is overkill ( ha ha ) I have two canisters of pepper spray. At the end of my teaching career, when I’d been physically threatened by students, I carried it at school.

  2. Eep! That is horrible that this bloke is making you feel so wary that you feel the need to buy pepper spray! 😦

    We just bought some too…but for bears. I was also surprised by how massive the “small” can is!

    • Right? That thing is almost as big as a fire extinguisher for the kitchen. I don’t know about the guy. I’m just avoiding him, and maybe he’s OK, but I don’t like him. A friend suggested that maybe I should carry something more formidable than my dogs, especially as the guy walks with a big hiking stick and has said he doesn’t like dogs.

  3. I would like to get some of that bear repellent myself. No specific problems per se, but it never hurts to be prepared. I’m curious about the story of the grubby man…has he approached you and feels threatening or what? Did you tell the cops about him? Be safe.

    • He hasn’t done anything for me to tell the cops. I wrote about him a week or so ago https://marthakennedy.blog/2018/09/07/bark/ I just don’t like him and I don’t want to be anywhere I’m likely to see him — but it’s a small town. I feel avoidance is the best strategy, but sometimes I like to walk at that place so I’m going to take pepper spray when I do. Usually when I see his truck, I go somewhere else. He’s just creepy, to me, but who knows. Maybe he’s a nice guy.

  4. I’m supposing that bear spray is designed not just for the little black bears, but the big old grizzly. Not that you have grizzlies … or do you? We are getting black bears now, but so far, no one has had a run-in with one of them. They are around. We see their markings, but they seem to be mostly hiding. I suppose winter will bring them more into the open.

  5. Martha, if your small canisters of pepper spray are old, check the expiration dates. They do lose effectiveness over time, so if you’ve had yours a while, you may want to consider buying a fresh one.

    I’m glad you’ve found a suitable alternative place to walk, and I’m enjoying picturing Dusty & Bear pooping on the green. I don’t like golf. It’s one of only 2 college courses I got a ‘C’ in, and my instructor was a creepy old guy they called out of retirement to teach the class, and he only worked with the females in the class. I don’t suppose he would’ve lasted long if this had happened in the #MeToo era, but this was back around 1998.

    • I’ll check those little canisters. They’ve never even been out of their package, but it was still 3 years ago. I think at least 50% of my profs would’ve been fired today; probably more. My prof for 20th century philosophy said the first day, “If you’re a Jew or a woman you won’t pass this class.” He was right in my case. I never went back but I forgot to do the paperwork to drop the class so I got an F.

  6. Pepper spray in the smaller cans should work fine for dog walkings, and its a strong human repellent. I bought some bear spray when we were in yellowstone and didn’t have cause to use it. Its actually illegal to use it on people, so be aware. Self defense may be an extenuating circumstance, as one isn’t supposed to shoot people either.

  7. I always trust my dog’s instinct. I never used to think much about it, until a stranger out of no where knocked on my door. I lived in the woods, no close neighbours, no phone. The dog had been barking a while and I had been getting annoyed with him because I could see nothing to be barking about. Fortunately, this fellow was innocent enough, his car had broken down and he was looking for a phone. I gave him a ride to the closest neighbor with a phone. It was his comment, when I mentioned how my dog had been barking, that made me think twice; always listen to your dog!

  8. This reminded me of that part of Crocodile Dundee when some would-be assailant pulls a knife on Mick. Mick looks at his assailant’s knife and then pulls out his machete and says, “Now that’s a knife!” You can never have too much protection, Martha.

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