By Norris Chambers

             Everyone called it High Life. I always figured it was called that because when it was poured or squirted on any animal that unfortunate victim suddenly came to life! A few drops of it in a hollow tree would bring a possum, squirrel or rabbit out instantly. It was kept on most farms for other purposes. It was an excellent ant killer. A big bed of red ants could be exterminated with only two treatments. Just dig a small hole in the bed area and pour a couple of table spoonfuls inside and cover it up. It was used more widely to keep weevils and insects out of grain that was stored in a barn. A small hole in the cork of the bottle let enough fumes out to keep insects out for a long time.

            High Life vapors are very poisonous. The bottle had a skull and crossbones on the label! It was also very flammable and the gas formed by burning was even more deadly than the natural fumes. In later years I found out that the real name for High Life is carbon disulfide and that it was called High Life because when it was first introduced for fumigation and insect control the trade name was High Life.

            When I was in the eighth grade in school our general science teacher performed an interesting experiment with the liquid. We were studying evaporation and the absorption of heat during that process. He poured a small amount of water on a table then placed a small metal lid over it. He then put a little bit of High Life in the lid and had everyone stay away from the area for a few minutes. The rapid evaporation of the liquid caused the water to freeze and the lid to stick to the table. From this experiment I surmised that extreme cold from the evaporation was what caused such intense pain as it pentrated the insulating hair of animals.

            I found out another thing about it the next year when I was in the ninth grade. I was riding a horse to school and passed a house on the way that had a very belligerent dog. It would come running out barking and growling and would get the horse upset. Riding an upset horse is not a good practice. I would try to outrun the dog, but it wasnít easy to do. I had to resort to outsmarting him!

            A dime store provided me with a nice plastic water pistol. I thought that if I filled it with High Life and gave the dog a nice squirt with it my troubles would be over. Just before starting the early morning journey to school I carefully removed the plug on the bottom and filled the reservoir with the powerful stuff. I had fashioned a nice leather holster for the pistol and intended to carry it with me on every trip. I almost laughed when I thought about how funny it would be when I took careful aim and squirted the unsuspecting dog.

            When we approached the danger point I slowed old Alec to a walk and got my hand ready for a quick draw. The loud-mouthed dog was on schedule and I reached for my weapon. I saw at once that something was wrong. When I stuck my trigger finger though the trigger guard I felt a cold wet surface and before I could throw it away a few drops escaped and fell on the front shoulder of the horse. Old Alec took off like a race horse and I experienced one of the wildest rides of my riding career. We had traveled almost a mile when I managed to get him under control. What I discovered was that High Life melted plastic and it had melted my new plastic pistol. I wondered what the dog thought when it had been so quickly left behind.

            I wasnít about to admit defeat. This meant a trip to the blacksmith shop and a consultation between Clifton and me. We consulted and came up with another idea. We had made squirt guns with cane stalk joints and a rubber plunger. That was pretty simple. We just took a hollow cane joint and put a cork in one end with a small hole in it. Another cork on the other end had a hole in it big enough for a wooden rod to slide in. We cut a nice rubber piston from an old automobile tire and put on the end of the stick. By pulling the stick out it would suck up water and by pushing it in the water would spout out in a beautiful face drenching stream! A little modification transformed one of these into a beautiful high life spraying machine. I could hardly wait until Monday morning to get a shot at the mouthy canine.

            Monday came and my barking buddy was on schedule. Old Alec started shuffling around and acting a little skittish. I guess he remembered the nice dose of High Life from the week before. The dog was about four or five feet from us and was barking angrily. I carefully brought out my weapon and landed a full squirt of the obnoxious liquid directly in his ugly face.

            If youíve ever heard a hurt dog yelp, then you know how he sounded as he disappeared into the brush on the east side of the road. I could hear the pitiful sounds for a long time as we trotted along on the way to school. I couldnít wait to tell Clifton how well our project worked.

            I took the dog disabler along for another two or three days, but I didnít see our agitator any more. I didnít know if he learned his lesson and decided to let us alone or if he kept running and never came back.

            The lesson taught here is simple. If a dog keeps barking at you, make yourself a cane squirt gun and load it properly. A word of warning! It is very dangerous stuff and the fumes should not be inhaled. But think of the fun!.