This is one of those scheduled posts, sumthin' I drafted before we set out on our latest journey of
a thousand steps 20-thousand Yankee Dollars. I'll prolly be in recovery mode for at least 24 hours... what with six bleeding holes in my gums where teeth useta be... and with little or no inclination to put up the usual, customary, and reasonable semi-enlightened blog post. You, Gentle Reader, get re-runs as a result, the first o' which are a few ruminations on my relationships with creepy-crawlies. Beginning with this:
It’s WAR! Normally I’m a live-and-let-live kinda guy, and my tolerance extends to creatures great and small. Included in the “small” community are various bugs, with the exception of flies and mosquitoes, which are terminated immediately with extreme prejudice…always. Take spiders, for example. Spiders are generally good, as they eat other small critters and generally stay out of my way. And I enjoy their webs, which are both small-scale engineering feats and supremely artistic, as well…as anyone who’s seen an early morning web covered in sparkling dew will attest.
My tolerance ends, though, when spiders begin to overwhelm my personal space and get presumptuous about territory and such, thinking it’s theirs for the taking. While I love and appreciate outdoor webs I don’t like to see the things hanging off my table lamp, or worse, have a small spider drop down on a gossamer filament right in front of my face while I’m surfing the other web (heh). And that’s just in the front of the house. Things get worse, much worse, as you move to the rear of El Casa Móvil De Pennington. Lately I’ve been involved in a daily ritual that involves wiping away webs that have been spun overnight in both the bathroom and the kitchen, and the spiders have become so numerous that they’re scurrying around in plain sight. It’s time for a new strategy: we’re gonna surge.
It appears that GHQ Arachnid is located in the bathroom. Yesterday I took extreme measures on the HQ… emptying both bathroom cabinets, thoroughly cleaning out the spaces, and finishing off by liberally spraying the interiors of both cabinets and the surrounding baseboards with Raid. Result: no webs in the bathroom this morning. The kitchen will be a little more problematic because I don’t want to engage in unrestricted chemical warfare in that operational area. The risk of collateral damage (to YrHmblScrb, hisownself) is just too high. So we’ll just content ourselves with applying forceful thumb pressure on the little terrorists as they transit from nook to cranny. And waging chemical warfare along the baseboards and other spaces in the kitchen where the risk of collateral damage is low.
We have evidence the surge is working, as noted above. There will be NO political settlement, and we’ll take no prisoners. All I’m asking is a return to the status quo ante, or in other words, if the spiders stay in their space, I’ll stay in mine.
Peace in our time.
That was but the first salvo in an on-going War Against Arachnids. This is a follow-up:
This calls for chemical warfare.
We simply cannot let a "bugs" post go without posting this, for about the third time:
I’m putting the final touches on dinner last evening (read that: taking the last of three grilled cheese sandwiches out of the frying pan) when, from literally out of nowhere, a medium sized daddy longlegs drops on to the counter in front of me. I quickly put that grilled cheese on the cutting board and take a swipe at the spider. I miss. He’s a quick little bugger! There’s only one escape route available to said spider and he takes it, leaping on to the cutting board, heading straight for my dinner. I take a couple of stabs at him with my finger, again. Miss. Miss. Now that bold little SOB is actually ON my dinner, so I sweep him off the sandwiches with the flat of my hand, surgical precision be damned. I succeeded in sweeping him off the cutting board back on to the counter from whence he came. He was terminated with extreme prejudice and the remains deposited in the trash.
Fifteen or 20 minutes later and we're done with dinner. Those sandwiches were good! As I’m clearing the table I look down on the cutting board to see what are clearly two tiny little legs amongst the remnant crumbs. Which, of course, raises the question: “How many spider legs did I actually eat?” After a brief “ewww” moment I realize this ain’t the first or the last time I’ll consume a bug, in whole or in parts. The government has standards for “acceptable” amounts of insect parts and other filth in our food, ya know. And here they are. (ed: dead link) I’m glad I didn’t have any fig newtons for dessert.
Which brings to mind another bug story. In the last installment of “Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine” I told you about my mid-70s trip to Ramasun Station in Thailand and associated events. During that trip I became very good friends with a young lady that worked in one of the local bars in Kho Kha. One evening after work I’m sitting at the bar, nursing a Singha and minding my business when my lady friend slides on to the stool next to mine. We exchange greetings, and she says: “I bring you present.” “Cool!” sez I.
She reaches into her (very large) purse and pulls out this little cage made out of woven palm fronds or something, about three inches in diameter by two inches high. She then opens the top of the grass cage and dumps out this VERY large beetle-looking insect on to the bar. The beetle is about the size of an Almond Joy piece, which is to say it’s a really big bug. It's alive... and crawling ponderously around on the bartop.
“That’s nice,” I say. “What am I going to do with this?”
“You eat!” she says.
“You SHIT, too!” sez I.
She looks at me in a mildly offended way, shrugs her shoulders, picks the bug up off the bar, bites off the bug’s abdomen, and chews it up with exaggerated smiles of delight. I almost threw up.Well, that last sentence isn't entirely true; it was more a matter of hours. True lust conquers all.It turns out she had offered me a Rice Bug, a particular form of beetle found in rice fields. This beetle eats rice, “processes” it, and stores the resulting paste in its large abdomen. A real Thai delicacy, so I’m told, even if the bugs are normally deep fried or steamed. My friend ate this one raw (and ALIVE, fergawd's sake!), though. It was a day or two before I kissed her again.
My apologies to you Gentle Readers that have been with me since Day One or thereabouts, coz you've seen this post a LOT. That said, the above is my ALL-TIME favorite bug story and it loses not a whit of its humor and/or impact in the re-telling. That would be in MY mind's eye, of course. YMMV.