by Eve Fisher
I believe that I have cracked the reason why summer brings out the apocalypse movies, not to mention movies and TV shows about killer sharks, vampires, zombies, serial killers, Animals Gone Wild, and (I'm still waiting) Batboy. It's a distraction from the fact that summer isn't all that it's cracked up to be. What with mosquitoes (West Nile, anyone? Zika?), ticks (Lyme, tularemia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever), killer heat (more on that later), and trying to figure out what SPF actually works and what pesticide won't kill you as well as the bugs, we need something where humans eventually WIN.
But this year is lusher, greener, wetter, and more infested than ever. And hot. It is very hot. As you read this, it's 98 degrees outside, and the endless square miles of corn have increased our humidity to the point where we are outdoing Mississippi. It's stiflingly hot. Thank God for air-conditioning.
NOTE: Let us all now give thanks and praise to Willis Carrier, who in 1902 invented the first air-conditioning system. May his memory be eternally green. And cool.But to get back to infestations. We've seen them before, especially the Great Frog Infestation back in the 90s. Personally, I didn't mind the frogs. They were small, they moved quickly, and they tried to stay hidden. They only bothered me when I was mowing the lawn. For one thing, they froze as I came near, hoping (as most of us do) that if they ignored the problem (me and the lawnmower), it would go away. I got to the point where I'd carry a small broom and prod them into moving with it while I mowed. "What did you do Saturday?" "Swept frogs." Sometimes when they still wouldn't budge, I'd just pick them up and move them, while they expressed their gratitude all over my hands. Frogs are not toilet trained.
|Boreal Choral Frog|
Photographer - Tnarg 12345 on Wikipedia
The mosquitoes alone would be bad enough, but they're getting serious competition from the gnats. There aren't as many of them - at least, I hope there aren't - but their bites leave golf to softball sized swellings on ears, eyes, necks, etc. It's getting unnerving to go out in public. Half the people I see look like they've been in a fist fight, the other half are calomine-pink, and we're all in the same blithe mood the nation was in the night Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast. The air reeks of Deet, Skin-So-Soft, Off, and every other insect repellent known to man and we still can't stand outside more than two minutes without acting like Larry, Curly, and Moe.
So what do we do about this enemy invasion? Some people are moving down South, where they think all they'll have to deal with is cockroaches and kudzu. (There are also fire ants and even more mosquitoes.) Kudzu, for those of you who haven't heard of it, is a Japanese plant that some idiot imported for ground cover on poor soil. It can't be killed by drought, floods, fire, pestilence, or famine, and it grows a foot a day. There's a theory that it was left by UFO's on one of their human-tagging trips, but I think it's just a vicious predator. The one good thing about it is that it can't stand severe frost, and so South Dakota is free... until we get warmer...
|Kudzu growing on trees in Georgia|
Photographer - Scott Ehardt, Wikipedia
Anyway, back to solutions:
(1) Buy a bee-keeper's hat or a surplus space suit. You'll sweat to death, but you will be bug free.
(2) Don't go outside. Summer is highly overrated. It's hot, it's buggy, and people keep expecting you to do things, most of which involve a lot of work, which involves a lot of sweating, while overheated and in full sun. What we really love about summer is our nostalgia for the days when we were kids and didn't have to do anything except go swimming and eat watermelon. (What we forget is how much time we spent whining about how there wasn't anything to DO.) So turn on the AC, the blender, grab a stack of mysteries - I know some very good authors, many of whom are on this site, so check them out! - and stay indoors. All the fun, a lot less danger.
Latorilla at Wikipedia
But even if one of them does happen to transform into an orthodontically-challenged count with a bad accent and receding hairline, a little garlic and a wooden stake will take care of the problem.
The odds are good: one count vs. the swarm.
One against many.
Think about it.