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Columnist declares war on bugs, 10,000 cans of Raid deployed

By APRILL BRANDON
Sept. 21, 2010 at 4:21 a.m.


(To be sung to the tune of Simon and Garfunkle's "The Sounds of Silence")

"Hello, mid-80's, my old friend/I've come to love you all over again/Because now summer's softly creeping/ Back to its temporary state of sleeping/And visions of joy dance across my brain/Because now are the temperatures of autumn."

OK, so now that I've publicly displayed my total lack of song parody writing skills (if you sing it fast enough, those extra syllables squeeze in slightly less awkwardly), on with the column.

Summer. Is. Over.

Yes, my dear friends, Wednesday marks the fall equinox, that oh-so-celebrated day where we...well, pretty much just go about our business as usual. That is, of course, except for certain sects of pagans who worship this day and various college students who will inevitably turn it into a drinking game (which, by the way, I want in on, yo).

It's been a rough summer to say the least and I'm not just talking about the ridiculous heat and humidity that lead to this reporter carrying an extra deodorant in her purse else run the risk of being mistaken for a hobo by 4 p.m.

No, this has been the summer in which my ongoing battle in the War on Bugs reached a fevered pitch.

It's no secret my inbred Yankee fear of Southern bugs. Oh sure, some call this fear pure insect-ism but in my defense, my mother was insectist, as was my grandmother, so I come by it naturally. And before you get all high and mighty talking about how all bugs were created equal, I shall remind you of the age old adage: "Let he who has not squashed a bug throw the first can of Raid."

Not to mention, they made the first strike.

It was a nice early summer afternoon and I was merely hanging out in my backyard, minding my own business. Then, out of nowhere, a suicide bomber grasshopper jumped out of the foliage and smacked me right in the middle of my forehead. At first, I didn't think much of it, even after several other grasshoppers attempted the same thing (only with much worse aim that resulted in bug guts all over Mr. Glass Backdoor). But I should have.

A few weeks later, came the Fly Squad. Everywhere I went, there they were, just buzzing around my head. Annoying? Highly. But relatively harmless. That is, until they called in the Marines of the bug world: The wasps. Well-organized and ruthless, the wasps even built a little fort in my backyard, right by my door (probably the better to track the movements of their declared enemy). For days, they kept me cut off from the outside world until I was able to call in my special forces team, Sgt. Irritated Husband, to come in and take down their fort with a nuclear broom.

Even with that threat annihilated, however, it only got worse. Within days, spiders annexed my backyard. Building elaborate webs, they marked their territory with an evil gloat (I'm assuming, of course, considering I have never actually been close enough to a spider to see if it has the facial capacity to signal gloating). Gradually the webs crept closer to the house and even sending out my fearless Captain Canine to wreak havoc on their growing base camp didn't work. Any web he knocked down with his tail fighter was immediately rebuilt and soon he grew disheartened, spending the rest of the war scratching himself indifferently on the porch (thus leading to his dishonorable discharge and suspension of Snausage payment).

As if that aerial attack wasn't enough, the bug army foot soldiers, known as the Fire Ant Snipers, stealthily attacked from below, never letting their presence be known until it was too late and suddenly your feet swelled up to Fred Flintstone-like proportions.

Now up to this point, I was willing to let bygones be bygones. While the bug army outnumbered me, I had the technological and chemical weapon advantage and was willing to call a cease fire.

But then they brought out their big guns, their secret weapon, their version of the Navy SEALs.

The mosquitoes had arrived.

Swarms of them came and nothing could deter them. Some of the more highly trained ones even built up what appeared to be a resistance to bug spray. They attacked from all sides and no spot, I mean NO spot on the human body was safe from their terroristic threat. They even snuck into our cars and made us turn on ourselves, slapping our own faces in the hopes we'd take one down with us.

At this point, there seems to be no hope and the attacks will continue until we slap ourselves to death or go mad from the constant itching.

But I know something the bugs don't know and this is what gives me hope in these dark, final days of war. Soon, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, Mother Nature, will enter this fight and with one cold front bomb, destroy them all.

And then, as the silence from all the buzzing ceases, we can finally again have peace (and laugh at their stupid, little, lifeless bodies...not that I'm bitter).

Aprill Brandon is a reporter for the Advocate. She once waterboarded a beetle.

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