Monday, June 25, 2007

COLUMN: Insects

A few weeks ago, my friend Jason and I were driving around aimlessly in the sticks near Galena when he turned to me and said, "Can you pull over for a sec? I think I need to stretch my legs."

"Here?" I asked. We were quite literally in the middle of nowhere, driving on a gravel lane in the hills around the Apple River. The road didn't have ditches so much as canyons, and there really wasn't any place to pull off. Suffice to say, it was not your ideal rest stop locale. "You sure?"

"Yeah, here. Stop the car."

So I did. My friend suffers from occasional back problems, so when he needs to stretch his legs, it's usually not a debateable issue. I pulled over as best I could and stopped the car.

"Let's get out for a second," Jason said.

"Umm, ok," I replied. I mean, I was still on a photography kick from my new camera. Maybe Jason had spotted a good photo op or something. I grabbed the camera and stepped out of the car.

"Okay, don't panic," Jason said. "Stay out there. I just need to get a bee out of the car."

My friends know me too well.

"Sorry, man," he said after shoo-ing the tiny honeybee out of the car. "I didn't mean to lie to you. I just value my life is all."

See, Jason knows my deep, dark secret: I'm TERRIFIED of bees. Irrational, act-like-a-ninny terrified of bees. And he was right, if I had happened to have glanced in the mirror and seen that bee buzzing around my back seat, I probably would have driven us right off a cliff. And, while plummeting in a vertical freefall to our certain doom, my biggest fear would STILL have been getting stung on the way down.

Look, I know I'm not the most macho guy alive, right? I don't hunt or fish or ultimate fight or what-have-you. But I at least strive to be a step above full-fledged weenie status. Any success towards that goal, though, goes out the window if a bee comes in the window. When that happens, you might as well put me in a bonnet and call me Nancy, because I become a Super-Sissy.

In a way, I have full rights to act like a fool when a bee's near. I'm allergic to the things. If I DO get stung, you'd better have directions to the nearest hospital, because I poof out like the Pillsbury Dough-Shane. When I was a kid, I stepped on a bumblebee nest and got stung 3 times before my dad could grab me and run me indoors. Five minutes later, I was gasping for air and en route to the hospital.

So bees are not my friends. I'm in full favor of eliminating them from the world altogether. When the news broke in our paper this spring that bee populations were mysteriously declining across the U.S., I did a happy dance. Let them all die, I say. Who cares if they pollinate the flowers. Let the flowers die, too. It's a small sacrifice towards the noble goal of bee genocide, I say.

Actually, I'd probably be okay with the elimination of most all insect-things altogether. Not that I'm scared of other insects, it's just that other insects frequently put on amazing bee impressions. I've been known to run away from houseflies if they buzz by in a bee-ish manner.

Truth be told, I had NO idea what to write this week's column on until I was standing in the shower this morning. That's when I was greeted by a visitor: a moth flew directly into the shower. But this was no ordinary moth. No, this was Mothra himself. How this pterodactyl of an insect managed its way inside my apartment is beyond me, but obviously it was carnivorous, vorpal, and quite possibly rabid.

So there I was -- birthday suited, face full of shampoo, armed with little more than a loofah -- having to defend my most private of private parts from a deviant moth with the wingspan of a Boeing 747. And all I could think to do was make a noise that might be spelled "Nyaaaahhh!" After several failed attempts at moth wrangling, I did what any macho man would do: I gave up and ran away.

So as I type this at work, Mothra still holds reign somewhere in my apartment. But as I see it, it's okay. Most moths have lifespans that run hours instead of years, so maybe it's dead already. Plus, as I was leaving, my elite security team (i.e. my cats) were already on the case, meowing heartily at my winged intruder. I keep the cats entertained AND they rid me of the moth -- that's 2 birds with one stone... or one moth with two cats, as it were.

In the meantime, I think I'm doing better. The other day, a bumblebee flew into my car and onto my shirt and I just flicked it off. Of course, I thought it was a leaf at the time, and when I realized I had just touched a bumblebee with my bare hand, I may have had a slight aneurysm. But I'm pretty sure it was a macho aneurysm.

1 comment:

kaystro said...

Very funny stuff....on a par with Dave Barry. I enjoyed your column so much I'm going to bookmark you so I can return to read more. Nice job!