(originally posted 3/5/2018)
Mosquitoes have netting and roaches have motels but there is only one insect that has a swatter; the fly. Think of all the annoying, stinging and/or dangerous insects (in Australia that means a solid hour plus of thinking) around you and yet humanity has sat down and designed only one weapon whose sole purpose is to eradicate a particular pest.
Musca domestica of the suborder Cyclorrhapha. Living only a couple weeks, they spend their entire lives flying around contributing to the transfer of pathogens and food-borne illnesses.
Did I mention they were annoying?
Earlier today a fly was buzzing around my head incessantly, trying his best to land on my face and deliver some hideous payload. After about the tenth time of brushing it away I went and grabbed a fly swatter. One good swat later the fly sat stunned at my feet. Not yet dead but clearly needing a moment to compose itself.
Thy summer’s play,
My thoughtless hand
Has brush’d away.
So I did what any fly-hating man would do … I scooped him up and hurled it into the toilet. Not content with that I tore a single sheet of toilet paper from the roll and delicately placed it over the fly to ensure its fate. I then, like any good Bond villain, I retired elsewhere, not needing to see the final act of the play. Secure in the knowledge of the fly’s demise.
What could go wrong?
Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
Later in the day, long after any thoughts of my triumph over said fly had passed, I returned to the scene of the crime to pee.
The fly was gone.
It was impossible. It should have drowned. I searched the entire bathroom, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that it couldn’t have gone far.
For I dance
And drink & sing;
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.
In World War II the Japanese actually used flies as weapons, coating them with bacteria that caused cholera and dropping them in bombs on China. In Baoshan the flies killed 200,000 people, in Shandong 210,000.
My point? You can’t underestimate flies. They’ve been around since the Cenozoic era. They’ve picked up a few things.
If thought is life
And strength & breath;
And the want
Of thought is death;
I’ve pretty much gone through life assuming I was James Bond and yet here I was feeling more like the bad guy. I had the fly. Right where I wanted it. What made me think mere toilet paper would seal its fate? Was it that I was too squeamish to watch it twitch and struggle and finally expire or was I just too arrogant to feel the need to see the act through?
I was right to be worried but even I underestimated the danger I was in.
Less than an hour later I smelled gas. Normally I wouldn’t have thought twice but I was feeling on edge and it turned out my instincts were right on.
I ran for the front window and launched myself through it just as I felt the heat from the blast hit me.
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.