Recorded, transcribed and edited by Mikal Jakubal from an interview with a local stream restorationist, Garberville, July 2010.
I was working on a restoration project in the upper Mattole Valley. This was May of ’90 or ’91, when big storms came in and all the creeks came up over their banks. This caused a debris torrent that flowed 800 feet down a creek, scouring it out and leaving the hillside bare and eroding. I was up there afterward doing work on erosion control, slope stabilization and drainage correction. The friend I was working with had not shown up that day, so at lunch time, I drove into Whitethorn, where I saw him. As I pulled over, I saw there was a Sheriff’s deputy behind me.
When the deputy asked me for my license, I realized that it was expired. The deputy poked his head in the truck and started asking what was in the various containers.
“What’s in that jar?”
I answered, “peanut butter.”
“And that jar?”
“And what’s in that one?”
Then he says, “do you mind if I search your truck.”
I said, “No. Go ahead.”
So, I get out of the truck and he points to a bale of alfalfa hay in the back and asks, “is that a bale of hay?”
Then he sees this big, balled-up bunch of newspapers and I say, “Oh no! You don’t want to look there, that’s my shit.” His eyes get real big. He’s really excited, ‘cuz he figured he’d found the wrapped up pound or two of marijuana in the back of somebody’s pickup. So, he’s tearing into it and I’m trying to explain why it’s there. I had been working on this steep hillside, near a spring and I didn’t want to crap near the site, so I crapped on paper and wrapped it up to throw in the outhouse back at home.
He’s still digging through the papers and finally he gets down to the middle and….ewwww….starts to fold it back up, telling me what a good sense of hygiene I had. [Laughs] I felt bad ‘cuz you don’t want someone getting in your shit, you know? [Laughs] I was embarrassed at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how funny it was.
That story got told and adjusted a lot by different people. It was made to fit the CHP doing pretext stops on Hwy. 101 in later years. It actually made High Times. It was priceless, the look on the cop’s face and how excited he got when he was told not to look there because that was “my shit.”