Hasn’t it been a marvelous summer so far for experiencing the great outdoors? Yeah, sure, if you happen to be a blood-lusting insect.
Never mind aliens, cold war throwback Russian spies, or even global warming. It’s those wretched buzzing, stinging, sucking Attack Mosquitoes that are the real threat to our world, our freedom and our rapidly depleting personal blood supply.
A person can’t step outside these days without immediately being dive-bombed by several thousand tiny flying hypodermic needles. These needle nosed buzz bombs are fixated on attacking every square molecule of exposed skin, with the intent of relieving most of the blood from that skin and the body underneath it.
I remember back when you had to hand-crank the TV to watch your one channel, there was a commercial for Off mosquito repellent where a “scientist” would stick his bare arm into a glass box containing approximately four billion hungry mosquitoes. Without the bug spray on him, the mosquitoes would attack so fast and furiously that his arm instantly looked like it was covered in fur. Really ugly, buzzing, biting, squirming fur. With the bug spray on him, the mosquitoes would do exactly the same thing.
I remember thinking: I would never in a million years be a “scientist” and sacrifice my arm to a scary Off experiment. Yet now that’s exactly what it’s like to attempt to sit in the back yard for a momentary coffee — heaven forbid a person should try more serious outdoor activity, like trying to go golfing or walking to your car from the house.
Every where there are people-shaped mosquito-covered buzzing fur balls desperately attempting to make it from one shelter to another, collapsing face down onto the grass mumbling the word “Deet” over and over.
And that’s not all. Mosquito bites hurt. OK so it’s not in the same league as, say, delivering a baby (right at the top of the Female Pain Dread Chart) or experiencing brain freeze from a frosty drink (at the very top of the Male Pain Dread Chart), but those little suckers can really sting. Ouch. That’s why they call it a ‘sting.’
Lately, it’s gotten so bad that retail stores are reporting that they are completely out of mosquito repellent, citronella candles and bug zappers. Drug stores are low on calamine lotion, epsom salts and aloe vera trees and record stores are out of Lady Gaga records.
I’m not sure what Lady Gaga records have to do with anything, but I’ve heard some of her songs and I’m all for blaming it on the mosquitoes.
Which gets me thinking … if a bunch of the more talented mosquitoes got together and formed a band, would it be called Tse Tse Rider? Would their bass player be called Sting? Would they play hit songs like Itchy Coo Park, What’s the Buzz and Needles and Pins? Maybe. But one thing’s for sure, their instruments would have to be very very small.
These are the things one thinks about when they are in a blood-deprived delirium caused by too many mosquito bites.
But enough of the important questions, what about the questionable issues around truly effective mosquito assassination? What about those little plastic bug zappers that are shaped like tennis racquets? And why didn’t they invent those things when I was a kid?
Many people say those hand-held electronic fly swatters not only execute attack mosquitoes with an fascinating ‘pop’ and a visually impressive spark, they manage to make dealing with disease-carrying insect vermin a relatively amusing pastime. Not me of course, I would never admit to owning an instrument that might cause harm to another living creature — especially if that amusing zapping instrument is currently broken on account of hitting a wall while flailing at a squadron of wretched assault mosquitoes.
I’ve heard that it’s not a good idea at all to touch the strings on those little zapper tennis racquets when it’s turned on (trust me), and nobody in their right mind would put their tongue on the live wires just to see what it feels like. Never, ever attempt this.
There are too many cremated insect bits on the strings and you would never, ever want to touch cremated insect bits with anything.
But whether it’s amusing bug zappers or litres of high powered chemicals that somehow cause global warming (doesn’t everything?), I don’t think we’ll be winning the battle of the buzzers anytime soon. But I may have a viable short-term strategy.
A good friend of mine with a disturbing penchant for a good (read: mean) practical joke has suddenly decided that this weekend would be a good time to have a friendly outdoor party at his acreage. This is, no doubt, so he can lock himself in the house and watch his guests being attacked by hearty acreage mosquitoes.
In fact, I’m certain that he has been busy collecting and nurturing mutant mosquito larvae to release at the party. Just to make sure.
So I think I’ll go to Ikea and get one of those mosquito netting tents that you’re supposed to drape over your bed when you are in exotic places that are dangerously infested with the tiny winged vampires (that would be Central Alberta). I’m going to get out the scissors and the duct tape and make a custom, full-body mosquito suit out of that netting, just for the party. It’ll not only be functional, but will no doubt look completely ridiculous.
And after the party, I’m sure I’ll be able to sell it to Lady Gaga.
Harley Hay is a local freelance columnist, author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears every Saturday.