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National Editorials & Columns

Like a fly on a wall

The other evening Christine and I were cozy on our couch when out of the depths of our basement roamed an insidious insect of general description. It looked like a cross between a silverfish and a lady bug. Having drawn the ire of Christine by simply peacefully co-existing with her, my wife directed me to vanquish the nefarious ne’er-do-well, which bothered me because I didn’t feel like getting up.

So I asked Christine why she wanted the bug dead. She told me that bugs have the whole outside to live and when one comes into where she is living it must perish. I pointed out how outrageously illogical I found her insect assassination philosophy and asked her a simple question.

“How would you like it if every time you went outside bugs tried killing you for no reason aside from minding your own business?” I rhetorically inquired. “When you go outside do all of the tiny ants rally, ‘There she is! She isn’t permitted outdoors, it’s where we live. Come on gang, let’s swarm her.’ Yet here you are wishing to kill — wanting me to kill for you — that poor little speck on the wall over there. And why, because it invaded your personal space? This bug has harmed you in no way!”

Nevertheless I acquiesced, which brings up an important issue. There are two fields of thought on the matter of bug-squashing I suppose. On the one hand a person could use, well, their hand, but that makes quite a mess now doesn’t it? That’s not necessarily an activity a normal person nominates themselves for anyway.

I take the road less traveled. When I impose insect death I like it quick, easy and preferably without a humongous, gross stain on the living room wall right above the mantle. I am more of a bug flicker.

What I like to do is creep up with my index finger cocked against the fleshy part of my thumb and — flick! So that’s what I did and this silverfish-ladybug-thingy sailed behind the television like it was launched from a catapult.

Christine asked me if I killed it, and I answered by saying, “Probably.”

Now you have to figure that I’m not the only person who wants to rewrite the rules when it comes to indiscriminate bug homicides. I think it’s fair to suggest that insects are pretty staunch supporters of such reform, too, especially spiders because spiders take the brunt of it.

Nobody wants a spider in their house. I kill spiders on principal alone. Aside from making grown men scream, spiders are just plain gross. They have eight legs and eight eyes. If I met a person that had eight legs and eight eyes I would sympathy kill them for sure.

Spiders are my sworn enemy, but I never kill them in the house. It’s too risky. Instead I will fog a spider with harmless hairspray. Once the spray takes hold I collect my homemade spider statute in a clear cassette tape case and take it outside on the deck. Then I use a spray bottle with water to dissolve the hairspray, thereby freeing the arachnid to enjoy a few seconds of freedom. Just long enough for the spider to think he has made a safe getaway.

And that’s when I squash it underneath my boot heel. That’s how much I hate spiders.

Sometimes I try to see it from the perspective of a spider, because spiders have to think it’s ridiculous.

A spider would be all like, “Look, I’m just over here on the wall just hanging around and being a spider, mostly because I have three brain cells and don’t know any better.

Maybe later I will kill a bug for you and save you the time and trouble. I can see you with my eight eyes, and you can see me with your measly two. I mean you no harm, yet each time I am spotted you attempt to spray me with Suave Max Hold.”

After I explained all of this to Christine the same bug began creeping up the wall again. This time she got up and smacked it with a magazine.

“The next time you go outside you better be watching your back,” I reminded her.

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