September 2021

Bug Off!

From carpet cleaner to an old-fashioned stomp, the world of insects has met its match. Or has it?

It’s finally September, and I’m praying we get some relief from the relentless, sun-blazed heat. What an awful summer it’s been.

One of the myriad of things I hate about summer is the bugs. (No need to write in outrage; I know some bugs are useful. I don’t care.) It seems that every summer, there is a particularly rife and hearty insect to contend with. I well remember the Summer of the Hornets. Geez — they were everywhere, droning about, somehow getting inside, scaring me. I’d spray their ugly faces with hornet spray and watch them die. I delighted in it.

And oh, the Summer of the Earwigs. These are awful things. I think they crawled in through the drains or something. They were always lurking around the bathroom and kitchen. I’d spray them with anything I could grab, including Windex and carpet cleaner. Then, I’d watch them die.

There’s often a Summer of the Spiders. Now, as long as they stay outside, I sort of like to watch spiders. But, I do not want them in my bathtub. Or lurking under the pillowcases. And since I’m not about to spray insecticide on my pillows, I try to brush them away and then stomp on them.

I am a bug killer. And I’ll use any weapon at hand, which is usually not insecticide. I can never find it when I need it.

Of course, this was the Summer of the Ticks. I’ve written about those as much as I can stand to; no more. I will say that, since I’ve been covering myself head to toe with hot clothing, including socks stuffed into my pants, and buying many cans of OFF! Deep Woods with which to douse myself, I have not had, or at least found, a tick lately. Still, my walk is just too hot, when you consider the heavy clothing and the cursed blazing sun. Even if I go at 9 a.m., I’m soaked long before I should be.

At least, I no longer live in San Francisco, when there was often a Slugfest. Slugs are icky things. They liked to slither into the cat’s bowl. One morning, I made coffee and began drinking it before I noticed a couple slugging around in the bottom of the espresso pot. Augh!

At least I no longer live in Florida, where the most awful of the insects are rife: palmetto bugs. If you don’t know, these are giant cockroaches. They can fly. They lurk everywhere. Even if your kitchen is spotless, you will cringe to discover them there. When my parents visited, Mom pulled down the sheet to climb into her nice hotel bed, and one was there. She wanted to cut the trip short and I don’t blame her.

When I was in the Key West comedy troupe, we wrote a skit. It involved an actor, Mack, dressed in a fabulous brown and orange satin palmetto costume, complete with skull cap festooned with feelers. Sam and I played tourists, gaga to be in tropical Key West. We got into bed and as we “slept,” Mack, a giant cockroach, shimmied down a rope from the rafters. He rifled through our snack bar and woke us up. Much screaming and a frantic call for security ensued.

On stage jumped Jeff, clad as a 55-gallon drum of “Palmet-NO!” bug spray. Did Mack the Palmetto die? No. He simply scrambled back up the rope. Believe me, folks, you really cannot kill these horrid things.

So, I guess being on the lookout for ticks and hornets and earwigs ain’t so bad after all.

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