Stupid, Evil Goat Heads


I cannot tell you how much I hated goat heads.

If you grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, you didn’t wear shoes during the summer.

Every now and again, you’d step on those suckers.

They’d stab you right in your heal, and bury the “horns” to the hilt.

When you tried to rip them out, half the time the “horn” would stay embedded in your heel, and blood would start trickling out.

You’d have to limp home so your Mom could perform surgery, using a needle, tweezers and Methiolate.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the wound would ache for days, because the evil goat heads had some kind of poison in them.

If you stepped on one of the dry, dead ones, it was sort of like getting finned by a catfish on your bare foot.

As I type this, I can literally feel the goat head pain in my heel.

I hated the stupid, evil, goat head stickers. At least the dead ones.

I have to admit the stickers could be great fun while green and still on the stalk.

My best friend Steve Madden and I would gather them in bunches, taking great care to pick the best ones, with just the right amount of stickers and perfect throwing stems.

Then, BOOM, it was like a full-on snowball fight, but with stickers.

Man, that was fun, especially when your opponent was wearing cut-offs and no shirt!

There was nothing better than seeing the stickers you’d just thrown stabbing directly into the flesh of your best friend.

Steve was way bigger than me and a two-fisted thrower. I only had one hand, so I couldn’t go toe-to-toe with him during these epic Sticker Wars.

My strategy relied on “strafing runs”.

I’d race at him going about 900 mph, throw a couple of stickers, and then, poof, be gone. 

On my final run, I’d unload my entire payload.  Because, even if Steve wanted to kill me, I could outrun him. 

And by the next day, he would have gotten over his mad, so he wouldn’t pound me.

Face Shot

You could only target from the shoulders down. You could never, ever, throw at somebody’s face.

No one ever violated that rule on purpose.  But during war, accidents happen. 

One time, I remember saving my very best sticker for last.  It had five individual stickers on the longest, most perfect throwing stem I’d ever seen.

It was beautiful.

I charged Steve like a maniac, threw with all my might, and it hit him right in the eye. I just froze and held my breath.

By God’s grace, Steve got his eye closed just in time.

The stickers literally sutured his eye closed, with some impaled on the top eyelid and some on the bottom one.

When he gingerly pulled the stem, the stickers remained impaled in his eyelids.  He had to pluck them off with his bare fingers, one by one.

Now, I don’t recall running away from Steve very often. But on that day, once I knew I hadn’t put his eye out, I ran home like a jack rabbit.

I didn’t come out the next day until I knew Steve had two good eyeballs left.

After a sincere apology, and a few punches in the shoulder, Sticker Wars began anew. 

And he got the first throw.

Fair is fair. 


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3 Responses to “Stupid, Evil Goat Heads”

  1. Steve Dutch says:

    I was on a field trip to Upheaval Dome in Utah back in 2001. I was the last in the group to a stop at the bottom of the canyon, dropped my pack and plopped down.

    Right on a cholla cactus.

    Those suckers are evil. I wasn’t seriously hurt. Just numerously. That’s when you learn who your friends are.

  2. Lillian L.. says:

    It is hard for me to believe your education is so lacking, Grasshopper.

    Those green stems you used in your sticker wars were green goat heads. Some call them sand burrs, but those are wrong! When they fell of the stem and turned brown is when they turned into the devil thorns of pain and suffering we call goat heads.

    So, in essence, you were scattering them hither and yon in your wars. Serves you right for every single one that embedded your feet.

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