“Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds…”


I was awakened recently by a twitchy feeling.  Not an itch, not a pain; just a feeling like my skin was crawling.  Which, as it turned out, it was.  There were ants in my bed.  One of them — I could tell this most distinctly — had even gotten inside my boxers and was strolling around inside my buttcrack.

(Yes, that mental image is provided free of charge.  You’re welcome.)

Naturally, I removed myself from the bed.  With some alacrity.  I believe there may have been a certain amount of screaming-like-a-little-girl involved.

I have a particular phobia about ants.  Even the fairly benign Argentine and Pharaoh ants we have around here.  It all stems from a camping trip I once took as a young man, in which — in my desire to avoid bugs — I strung a hammock from the car bumper to a nearby tree and slept in that.  Except that, as it turned out, the tree was host to an entire colony of huge black ants, all of whom ended up in my sleeping bag.  And this was a campsite with no showers or electricity; I had to deal with seething masses of black ants swarming over me in the middle of the night and I had to do it by flashlight, which (as any horror movie/game aficionado will tell you) only increases adrenal nature of the experience.  I reeked of formic acid for days.

Fortunately, our home — this being civilization and all — is equipped with shower facilities, so after throughly scrubbing every ant from my person (not that it helps; as you know, the ghost-sensation of ants on you will persist for the remainder of the day, or even when writing about it afterward) I emerged to find my wife complaining that the dogs and cat in her bed had been scratching all night.

(Here I should interject that we generally sleep in separate bedrooms; not due to any lack of affection but simply because I snore.  And after many many nights of being banished to the couch, it seemed sensible to just go ahead and make a more comfortable Snoring Room for my banishment.)

So we apparently had ants AND fleas.  Disgusting.  But not particularly surprising.  ‘Tis the season, after all.  Thus, with skin still twitching, I went immediately to the hardware store for weaponry.

I must say, the insecticide industry certainly does not skimp in the choices of chemical death one is offered on the shelves of Lowe’s.  I found myself standing in a cluster of other recently-showered men, all of us with our skin still twitching, examining sprays, foams, granular yard toxins, bug bombs, and concentrates.

I bought them all.

Thus equipped for genocide and with the rest of the family off at their Real Jobs, I set about stripping the beds, throwing everything washable into the wash, shutting the animals outside, hiding any exposed food or cookware, and then spraying, foaming, and bombing every inch of the house.  Threw granular insecticide all over the yard. Went up to my office (where the animals were cowering in fear) and gave them all flea treatments, then chased them back outside and bombed the office.

Then we all just sat on the porch, me with my skin twitching and the animals quaking in terror, while we waited for the tiny screams emanating from the house to die down. (I think they put something in the sprays to make you think you are hearing the insects scream and die.  If they don’t, they should.  I would pay extra for that.)

So now the whole house reeks of pyrethrins and according to the instructions, I have to do the whole thing over again in a week or so.  And once more after that.  We’ve all probably had our lives shortened by decades.

But it all will have been worth it — if it works.

I hate ants.

— Bob (twitch) out