I live in Hunterdon County so this caught my eye. A raccoon tested positive for rabies on August 19 in Kingwood Township. Health officials are concerned whether any residents had contact with this raccoon between August 2 and August 16.

If you think you may have, you are urged to contact a medical professional immediately.

Once a human being contracts rabies from an animal and goes beyond a certain number of days without getting a rabies shot, there’s nothing that can be done and the disease is fatal and brutally painful.

Which is exactly why I was so stupid a number of years ago when I had a weird encounter with a small animal outside of the radio station.

I had stepped outside during a newsbreak in the middle of our show to use my phone. As I’m standing there I suddenly felt something, I didn’t know what at first, scurry quickly up the back of my leg to my butt.

Naturally I began doing what must have looked like a combination of bad twerking and the Elaine dance from “Seinfeld.” This thing, still unknown, scurried back down to my ankle but then turned right around and scurried back up my leg past my butt and this time all the way up my back to my shoulder.

At that point I looked over my shoulder and right into the beady little eyes of a squirrel about one inch away from my nose. I can’t remember if I screamed or if it shrieked or what the hell exactly happened.

All I know is the thing ran back down my body and then ran off.

Photo by Caleb Martin on Unsplash
Photo by Caleb Martin on Unsplash

I had to go right back on the air and I told the story, and of course Doyle could not stop laughing. And I don’t blame him one bit. It was such a ridiculous situation.

But then callers started calling unprompted and were warning me that if it had scratched me even a tiny bit I should go and get a series of rabies shots.

The reasons given were that one, it was very unusual for a squirrel to aggressively jump onto a person and not let go. Meaning that could be an indication of the animal having rabies and acting abnormally.

And two, even the slightest scratch, a breaking of the skin, can transmit rabies. Many people think it has to be a full on vicious bite, but it doesn’t.

So I went into the men’s room during another break and took off my shirt and looked in the mirror. Sure enough there were some scratches on my back from this fuzzy-tailed rat.

Not bloody scratches but broken skin nonetheless. I googled what the listeners told me and they were right. Rare, but rabies could be transmitted through such scratches.

What did I do?

Being a guy I did the dumb thing. I did nothing.

I decided the odds were so low that I wouldn’t bother. Just reminds me of the time I was also victim to dumb guy syndrome and had all the telltale signs of appendicitis and yet chose to ignore them for another three hours and try to sleep it off until I finally had to rush myself to the hospital and have an emergency appendectomy.

That almost killed me.

My appendix ruptured in surgery and they had to remove part of my colon along with it.

I fared better with the squirrel scratches but still incredibly stupid of me. Why are us guys like this? I guess if I were smart enough to know that I would have been smart enough to get a rabies shot.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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