Heat and humidity have drawn out the gazillions of itchy, bitey, stingy and just irritating little bastards that make Southern summers challenging.
It’s early June and I’ve already run afoul of a red wasp. Ugly thing. A refugee from a 1950s Japanese horror film with a sting as fiery as Godzilla’s breath. Popped me right on top of the hand and sent me inside for a poultice of chewing tobacco and baking soda.
Chewing tobacco and baking soda? The old-time remedy draws out the poison…maybe, I don’t know. As I create this masterpiece of literary art my hand is still swollen, red and itchy…and painful…did I mention painful? Did I mention I hate the taste of chewing tobacco?
Why Noah? Did you have to bring the little bastards on board two by two? Couldn’t you have replaced them all with a couple of unicorns?
Challenging it is. Wasps, yellow jackets, Russian hornets…are Russian hornets payback for winning the Cold War? “Big bastards they are,” said Yoda in my head…or was it Dr. Suess.
A memory flashes from a decade ago. On an early morning run and despite the low light, I saw the B52 sized insect invading my airspace. I zigged. It did too. I zagged. The hornet followed my movements like a GPS led, nuclear-tipped cruise missile and exploded just as hotly.
My upper lip and its stinger intersected at a point some two miles from my home. By the time I returned to my recliner and my too familiar poultice, I could see my upper lip poking out beyond my nose and felt the fire from a thousand dragons burning hotter than a Game of Thrones episode. The pain was exquisite…and long lasting.
Some of the little bastards of summer don’t sting. They are just irritating. Gnats…Gah…zillions of Gah…nats. I just returned from my early morning walk with the remains of thousands of gnats strained through my teeth, rubbing gnats out of my eyes and sneezing from gnats snorted up my nose. Challenging…yes, and I’m ignoring mosquitoes and deer flies. They are irritating too.
Nothing matches my war with yellow jackets. The original little bastards. They lie in wait in high grass, under the pile of matted leaves I should have raked up last fall. They buzz in looking for moisture…and anything they might sting…usually me.
They remind me of the villainous Borg from Star Trek fame. Yellow jackets…and the Borg, are of one mind, a hive mentality, and seem to have my DNA on file. If one little bastard gets angry, they all become angry…all angry at me. A buzzing, stinging cloud of pain and agony with one intent, to cover me in baking soda and chewing tobacco and put me to sleep with Benadryl. Resistance is futile…just run.
I remember stepping into a yellow jacket’s nest soon after we moved to our little piece of heaven. Satan’s spawn rose from the ground, I slapped and ran. They go for your legs trying to take you down before moving in for the kill. I decided slapping was futile and ran to the house howling at the top of my lungs. My wife locked the door in my face.
“Don’t bring them in here!” she shouted. Thank you, my darling. I guess love doesn’t conquer all when it comes to stinging insects. More chewing tobacco and baking soda. Later, calamine lotion and Benadryl. “Little bastards you are,” said Yoda.
I turned into a pacifist and conservationist in my old age…except for my personal war with yellow jackets, wasps and hornets. With most animals, crawley things, and insects around my little piece of heaven, I tend to “live and let live.” Not yellow jackets. “Die you little bastards, die!” Huh, that wasn’t Yoda.
I’m girding myself for battle despite the knowledge Mother Nature’s minions will ultimately win in the end. Mother Nature always wins. Nevertheless… spray cans of wasp and hornet killer are locked and loaded. Despite the futility of resistance, I will go down fighting…
Note to self: Check your hoard of chewing tobacco. May the force be with you.
For more of Don Miller’s wanderings, go to his author’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM
The image is from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LOo22BkM94