Lately I feel as though I’ve been thrust onto the set of a horror film. One in which the entire planet has been overtaken by a massive swarm of gnats—those unspeakably irksome creatures that I despise beyond all comprehension. Everywhere, it seems, the winged beasts are expertly poised to attack, kamikaze style—on packed playgrounds, in busy parking lots, in back yards brimming with picnickers and across vast expanses of athletic fields, lush with slick, green grass. Armies of said clusters-of-doom stand ready (they hover, actually) to unleash their merciless wrath upon the innocent and upon the fools who neglect or refuse to douse themselves with bug spray.
I have to wonder, what exactly is the purpose of the gnat—aside from wreaking havoc upon the civilized world one sufficiently annoyed being at a time? They must lurk near the bottom of the food chain, I’d surmise, serving as sacrificial sustenance for bats or birds or something toad-ish. Gak!
That said, whenever I venture outside it’s as if my head is a giant nucleus besieged by a cloud of deranged, piranha-like, helter-skelter-inspired electrons—ones inclined to gnaw upon my flesh, to become entangled in my hair, to buzz incessantly in my ears, to viciously invade my nasal cavities and to perhaps bore inside my brain where they would then read my thoughts and replace them with the idiotic notions of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.
Feels like a horror flick, remember?
Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of inhaling the wretched things, of fishing their sodden carcasses from my eyes and of waving my arms like a madwoman just so I can string two coherent sentences together while conversing with someone in the great outdoors. Someone, ostensibly, flapping like a lunatic as well.
“Just keep talking!” I shout, “Never mind this insanely stupid-looking flurry of clapping and slapping and grabbing fistfuls of what I hope are DEAD BUGS! I’m still listening to you…(insert horrendous hacking noises and the sound of spitting out wads of freshly moistened gnats)…really, I am!”
Viewed from afar, and from the encapsulated havens of cars, those plagued by the loathsome vermin must truly look like a bunch of loons, swinging wildly in the air, lunging erratically to and fro, cursing at the demons thought to exist just inches away. Straightjacket material.
Yep. That’s me. The dolt on the soccer field at dusk. Wishing like crazy that I had worn a hat…so I could whack the bejesus out of them. At least there’s some satisfaction in that. “Squishing gnats—it does a body good.” Mine, that is. Not the gnat’s so much. Indeed, there’s something inherently cathartic about the process of snuffing the life out of a bothersome bug and, of course, my brood gets a huge charge out of the sadistic commentary that generally follows.
“Are you the next of kin, my dears?” (My heathens nod, eagerly awaiting the punch line)
“Well, in my expert medical opinion, Mr. Gnat had a horrible headache……..right before he became entirely flat. He is dead, I am afraid.”
It’s a completely different matter, however, when something not-so-gnat-ish dies. There are tears, rambling eulogies and makeshift tombstones (etched with names like Pooper, Froggy and Slimy) for beloved souls like tadpoles, frogs and even worms. Cats receive lengthy graveside services as one would expect and pet goldfish, a ceremonial burial at sea with a woeful dirge softly wafting in the background. Taps usually.
Gnats, on the other hand, are the scum of the earth and infinitely expendable, methinks.
Planet Mom: It’s where I live (cursing at gnats and whatnot).
Copyright 2009 Melinda L. Wentzel