By Eliska Counce, TSB Columnist
I was all set to pen you, dear reader, some thoughtful and provoking blog this week on some topic of great social and political import. You know me. But I have been derailed, I cannot concentrate, and it is on the account of the itching.
So now, thanks to the scratchy agony I am currently experiencing, I shall instead inspire you with my tale of my life-long hatred for all things insect. A hatred with the heat a thousand, boiling suns. I loathe everything about bugs: their gazillion eyes, buzzy wings, disease-carrying hairy feet, just the word “thorax.” Yarg.
And thanks to our non-existent winter and copious spring rains here in North Texas, bugs abound this summer. No killing frosts means buggy babies. Many, many buggy babies. Oh, it was cute at first with a booming butterfly population, pretty dragonflies. You know, the tattooable bugs.
But then the June bugs, mosquitoes, spiders, crickets, flies of every stripe…and finally the tarantulas…came out. Yes, you read that right. And while spiders of any kind make my head itch, there’s nothing like seeing a hairy one the size of your hand being escorted out of the backyard riding a shovel borne by a husband snickering at your full-blown panic attack.
What exactly bit her in the butt? You very may well be asking metaphorically, but I’m going to be quite open, dear readers, about what exactly DID indeed bite me in the butt this week. And the hips. And the…soft, white underbelly. You get the idea. The sad, sad, scratchy idea.
And you may blame that creature, sensitive, sweet readers, on the too-much-information anti-insect rant I am on today. I thought him at first a mosquito. But the nature of my angry wounding suggests an itsy bitsy spider. With a grudge. And some venom straight from Beelzebub himself. Who clearly thought he was being smothered by my ample haunches. I’m sure he was defending himself from what he considered copious butt assault. But I was unconscious! Innocent in my own bed! Hadn’t we made a deal: you stay away, and I let you live?
You see, I am what has been artfully called “indoorsy.” There should have been no reason for the terrible insect assault inflicted on me. But I live in the country, people. The Texas country. A land so God-forsaken that the sun kills every piece of living vegetation for half the year while spiders and scorpions celebrate. If there is a creature that scurries, it lives in my house to jump out of my drain and give me an apoplexy. Lizards and spiders and mice, oh my!
And thus: this bastard was in my bed, y’all. And evidently in my drawers. Because over two nights (and here’s the sharing part I warned you about), I ended up with, and I do not exaggerate, a dozen of nasty red spider bites in my most tender of regions. Many of these regions are known only to my husband and my health professionals. I assure you, the idea of an insect roaming some of those hills and valleys while I sleep? SHUDDER.
And when you get a dozen itchy red welts between your knees and your waist, trust me: you ain’t scratching ’em in public. I’ve had my hand down my pants more times than Al Bundy after a hard day at the shoe shop this week. Every garment of clothing I am wearing is rubbing against that spider’s calling cards. And running with spandex? Fuggetaboutit.
It’s like these stupid bugs know of my life-long hatred of anything with more than four legs. At seven, we returned to a house covered in fleas after removing our animals, and when they coated my legs, I ran screaming from the house like I was Jamie Lee Curtis. I even had a healthy fear of the spider lily flowers that grew in our backyard (and yeah, I was known to adults by what was called “a handful” back then and “spectrum” today).
I was born, perhaps, with a total repulsion by bugs, fueled by their many squirmy legs, the unexpected flying or jumping at you, and…oh god…the crunchiness level involved in smooshing them. The more audible the bug’s possible decline, the higher I would climb on furniture to avoid them. I am a feminist in every since of the word, and I believe I can call myself that despite a staunch belief that the man should always kill the bug.
The power of my insect phobia was strong enough even my parents approved of my younger brother doing my bug collection for ninth grade science. BECAUSE I WAS WILLING TO REPEAT THE GRADE before I pinned a dead beetle to a board. Dissecting a grasshopper? I let my lab partner do it, and indeed would have watched through closed circuit TV instead if such technology indeed had existed in 1984.
It doesn’t help that, perhaps due to my Cajun genetic background, mosquitoes have and always will find me incredibly delicious. I don’t know if my blood is tastes a bit like remoulade sauce or what, but I am evidently serving up some caviar-level pheromones. Bugs have munched me with abandon while ignoring all others since I was a babe.
So excuse me while I go smear pink calamine lotion in places I’m almost sure were never, ever meant to be exposed to calamine lotion. Don’t worry. I’ve boiled my sheets and gone to DEFCON 4 with the toxicology of bug spray. My grandchildren may or may not be born with tails. But I’m a killer with extreme prejudice. Never again shall I itch in the most embarrassing of regions due to anything roaming inside my pajama bottoms. Which is pretty much good advice for any and all of us, right?
So, it’s on, insects. You’ve made me mad, now. I’m usually a pretty green and understanding chick. But after a week of clawing my thighs et al open? I’ve lost interest in the fact that eliminating the entire insect population will destroy the ecosystem as we know it. I no longer care.You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette, right?? YOU SAY RIGHT. What’s a little species elimination but survival of the fittest? I got the thumbs. SO NYAH.
So, it’s on like Donkey Kong, bugs. No more Mrs. Green Guy. As long as I live in the buggy South and the mosquitoes are the size of chickens, and bloodthirsty spiders dare roam my sheets and my nether regions, I only have one thing to say, and that is this: DEET. I’m soaking in it!