When the bugs take over the universe, I hope they remember I didn’t try to swat them with my newspaper

The first thought that went through my mind when I saw it this morning was, “Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding.”

My second immediate thought was, “Holy crap, it wants to kill me.”

There was a bug in my basement this morning. He was clinging to the wall, spread-eagled (well, spread-bugged, actually), right above where I keep my freshly-laundered shirts. He was yellow and green with a black head and slanted wings, and he was staring straight at me. I didn’t know if he was going to evade or attack.

First off, what the hell? It’s freakin’ January. It’s minus six degrees where I live. If it was July and I went into my laundry room and suddenly found myself eye-to-gazillion-eyes with a massive polychromatic mutant bug, at least it’d be in season. But it’s the middle of winter. I’m terrified to imagine what this thing’s been living on for the past four months. I’m guessing it’s some sort of experimental bug, escaped from some secret government lab somewhere.

Now if you’ve read my blog for very long, you know that on occasion I’ve had to rid my basement of giant Ad-libb3d eating spiders, and when it comes to bugs, I’m truly not a fan. Some entomologists argue that there are approximately nine zillion different species of insects, each one special and wonderfully unique in its own way. Don’t buy it. I find it’s much more useful to divide bugs into four easy-to-remember categories:

Buggus terribilus: bugs with massive, serrated, flesh-tearing jaws

Buggus horribilus: bugs with scary, flesh-puncturing stingers oozing with disease-causing poison

Buggus disgustibus: bugs that exude toxic, germ-infested, rabid yellow slime

Buggus invisibilis: bugs so tiny you can’t even see them but that can still bite you to death when you sleep

That’s it. If anyone tries to tell you there are other kinds of bugs, chances are he’s on their payroll. Look into it.

Hey, remember that time you tried to kill me with your shoe and I fell behind the bed? Me too.

Hey, remember that time you tried to kill me with your shoe and I fell behind the bed? Me too.

Given the aforementioned categories, I make it my policy not to kill bugs.

Take last summer, for example, when there was a giant wasp nest on the side of our carport. (By the way, I use the term “wasp” and “hornet” pretty much interchangeably because, frankly, I don’t know the difference.) My vote was to not do anything about it. I told my wife that I take a cosmic view on such things, which is that wasps have just as much right to their tiny niche in the universe as I do. My wife told me to man up and grow a pair.

Truth be told, there wasn’t much I could do about it, even if I wanted to. The wasps didn’t lend themselves to traditional anti-insect warfare. For instance, I don’t believe they ever slept. Mostly they just swarmed around looking pissed off. Spraying them with something would have just annoyed them further.

Moreover, as we all know, conventional anti-bug weaponry is useless. It’s a well-known fact – one that I’m certain I could provide evidence to support if I wasn’t so content with making sweeping generalizations – that there is no official record of one single bug dying from the use of a household bug spray. Most sprays simply cause a bug to lie quietly for about 45 seconds, after which it will spring up feeling renewed, refreshed, chemically-mutated, and now able to fly at supersonic speeds and inject previously unknown poisons into the person who dared interrupt its business.

So, taking the cosmic view, I was all for letting the wasp nest alone, just on the off chance that it might simply up and vanish into another dimension when nobody was looking. And my plan was working fine too, until a group of small neighbourhood boys discovered it.

Believe me, no class of individuals range so far afield from the cosmic perspective as small boys. Rather than leaving things alone, small boys wholeheartedly embrace the doctrine of “let’s do it to them first just in case somewhere down the line it might enter their heads to do something to us.”

Hence my consternation when I came home and discovered four small boys milling near the wasp nest.

The nest had a gaping wound, ripped asunder by a rock undoubtedly launched by one of the small boys. Pieces of dangling, grey wasp paper hung below what was left of the nest, causing the whole affair to look like someone’s drunken attempt to make a papier mache bust of Ludwig van Beethoven. Panicky wasps were milling around, undoubtedly organizing their insect battalions for a counterattack against the homeowner, otherwise known as me.

“Do you know about the wasps?” a small boy asked me.

“Yes,” I replied, “and you shouldn’t throw rocks at them because …”

Because why? I groped for the proper deterrent language. I needed something with an unmistakeable quality of menace while avoiding all those “you’ll-shrivel-up-and-die” clichés. Small boys see through those with the clairvoyance of Jedi masters.

“… because you could get real sick of they stung you.”

Okay, so I’m a little lame on menace.

“They already did sting us,” one small boy said flatly.

“My neighbour died last night. We’re going to look at the body at seven-thirty,” another small boy informed me soberly, without, as far as I could see, relating it to the situation at hand.

“Good God,” I said.

The small boys looked at me, and I at them. I tried to think of something cosmic to say but found myself at a loss for words. It struck me that I should spend more time talking to small boys, who, for all their garishness, live very close to the pith and marrow of life.

Plus they’d probably have the balls to go into my laundry room and face down the government’s secret mutant killer bug. Me, I have to go out and buy a whole bunch of new shirts.

28 thoughts on “When the bugs take over the universe, I hope they remember I didn’t try to swat them with my newspaper

  1. What the entire FUCK??
    I was bitten by a Black Widow Spider once but for some reason, I refuse to kill spiders. I think it’s because they know that I was bitten by one of their brethren and KNOW that i know I’ll get bit again if I kill one. You know, spiders believe in karma too.

  2. That photo gives me the absolute heebie jeebies! Those eyes. Those eyes!!!

    I really, really hate bugs and will subscribe to your four categories with abandon. I wish I could offer some sane or practical advice in the face of our adversaries, but all I can say is that you have my sympathy.

    And laughter. Always my laughter.

  3. I’m there with you. New shirts it is. You do wonder if the bug in your basement is some kind of mutant. How is it surviving? Wonderfully written. I believe in your four bug categories. Because I have two young boys, I get to see and read about bugs all the time. My favorite!

  4. That picture is horrifying. Truly. *shudder*

    We had a bunch of hornets buzzing around this past summer, every time we killed one another would show up in its place. Honestly I finally became convinced it was just one hornet reanimating after being smashed into mush. Right up until all the leaves fell off the trees and I discovered the nest hanging off a very thin branch above the duck enclosure. I stood under it when I fed the ducks everyday, twice a day, all summer. But that picture you posted is still more horrifying than that.

  5. I was bitten by some type of spider on my thigh. My entire thigh swelled up and it was hard in the middle… for weeks the swelling didn’t go down…I had to ice it each day. I never did find/see the culprit, it got in my bed and the bite was bad enough it woke me.

    This happened when I was a jr. in highschool. Do you know what, I went to the dermatologist a few months ago (Now 41) and asked to have a couple of bumps removed on my legs…she said one of them might not freeze off as she suspects it’s raised scar tissue from a bug bite. WTF! I knew immediately. I went through the whole freeze and blister, scabbing process- one bump disappeared and the other remained. F’ing spider! to have it removed would require cutting and possibility of other scarring- so what would be the point?

    First time visiting. Fun stuff. thanks for reminding us of bugs. :) Come visit my end of the world some time!

    lake forest, ca

  6. I flinched when I saw the photo in my reader. Yech!! Plus I scrolled really fast past it when I was reading your post.

    I remember one time when I was very little sleeping and I woke up to my mom putting my laundry away, it was late at night. When I sleepily opened my eyes, there was a HUGE spider sitting on top of my chest, very close to my nose. Needless to say I freaked out and jumped out of bed screaming and slapping myself. It was a sight to see, that’s for sure…

  7. Previously, I considered myself one of those down to earth women who refuses to cave to the idea that girls are supposed to squeal and scream for help every time they see a bug. But that photo did it. Now I fear mutant insects dripping poison. You have a very scary imagination, Ad-libb3d. Sure, little boys are brave, but this is why they so often end up in the ER.

    • At first I was leery about posting the picture, thinking that I might be propagating fear of insects unnecessarily. But then I thought about the bug categories, and I figure this post is sort of like a public service announcement. Awareness and preparedness is key. :)

  8. That picture is just frightening! I’m sorry you had to get new shirts and don’t blame you in the least. Ugh.
    Bugs creep me out too but I’m a fan on squishing them (read: screaming for the boyfriend to come squish all the spiders for me). My logic is that I’m less afraid of what karma might do to me than I am of one more bug freely wandering my house… And don’t get me started on slugs… ack!
    Those boys have the right idea, methinks! :)

    • Want to know what’s scary? I didn’t have time to deal with the bug, so I just shut the door to the laundry room, thinking I’d come back and surely find the thing later. I’ve not seen it since, which means the bloody thing is still in my house somewhere. Shudder.

  9. I’m glad that you pointed out that there is no distinguishable difference between a wasp and a hornet. They are each and of the same in my book as well. Whatever I yell out first as their stinging me to death is what they’re called.

    Sometimes they’re called “oh shits!” It really depends on the circumstances…

    • I hate them, but I suppose wasps and hornets do fulfill a “survival of the fittest” role in the world. Picture the scenario:

      1) Bunch of kids can’t resist poking wasp nest with sticks
      2) Wasps can’t resist attacking the group of kids who are disturbing them
      3) When the kids run for cover, the slow, dumb, fat kids are the ones that are going to get stung to death and not grow up to procreate.

      That’s the absolute essence of natural selection, if I ever heard it.

  10. I came to your stupid site because this post was tagged as humor. It’s not at all interesting and your not nearly as funny as you think you are. Thanks for wasting my time motherfucker.

  11. I’m generally anti-bug murder myself, except when it comes to centipedes. If I make an attempted homicide on a centipede, and I fail? I know that means I’m sleeping out in the living room that night. I’ve found putting a paper towel on a broom works best.
    It always freaks me out when you see/hear about people vacuuming up live bugs. Like, that’s not a solution, now they’re just living in your HEPA filtration bag getting fattened up on whatever crumbs are in there.

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