July 20, 2001
It’s fair to say that I’m a tolerant guy when it comes to the animal kingdom. I like pretty much all animals, and, heck, with one-fourth of the species on the planet wiped out in the past century, chances are any that I might dislike are already gone. But there’s one animal I think the whole world could do without: the mosquito. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Wait! Where are we going to get malaria and West Nile virus once the humble mosquito is wiped out? How are we going to find an excuse to slap our pasty white thighs when we venture outside in shorts for the first time after a long winter? And, most importantly, what’s going to happen to the industry that produces those useless bug repellent candles that cost eight times as much as regular candles and are about as effective when it comes to driving away insect pests?
If they were content to just bite it wouldn’t be so bad, but not mosquitoes. They actually drill a hole in your skin and then spit in it. They’re the rednecks of the insect world. Unlike all the other well-known bloodsuckers–ticks, lice, leeches, lampreys, and lawyers–mosquitoes can’t be avoided. By the time you realize you’ve been bitten by a mosquito they’re flying away, yelling, "Hey, thanks for the meal, and remember to ‘B positive’! Ha ha ha!!!"
Well, there is one other animal the world could do without: the chigger. The chigger is a very small red mite found in the Southern United States. Like the mosquito, it bites, swells up with blood, and then drops off. Unlike mosquitoes, who look for exposed skin, chiggers like tight clothing like spandex–which is why the world’s most famous bicycle race is in the south of France rather than the south of the United States.
Interestingly, though, chiggers have a French name, which is "bete rouge". Chigger is the more popular name, however, since the French version sounds too much like pro-wrestler from Quebec. I had a couple of cousins once who visited from Connecticut and thought chiggers were something I made up. Where they got this crazy idea that I sometimes make things up is beyond me–but I digress. Anyway, they went trooping into the woods with tight jeans and shirts, and came out so covered with red welts they were mistaken for teenagers on all-chocolate diets. Since they believed me, it wasn’t hard to convince them that the only cure for a chigger bite is to cover it with nail polish. (Some of you may still believe this, and I hate to disabuse you of the notion, but the chigger is long gone by the time you can even find the nail polish.) I then convinced them that it had to be a particular shade–Black Cherry Frost. I could have gone much further, but I felt sorry for them, and since they’d paid me 20 bucks each for the cure that wouldn’t work anyway, I felt I’d done enough.
To make up for it in the grand scheme of things, though, I’m going to share with all of you a foolproof cure for chigger and mosquito bites: scratch the bite until it bleeds profusely and becomes infected. Once gangrene sets in the itching gradually subsides.
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
REDNECK COMPUTER TERMS
BACKUP – What you do when you run across a skunk in the woods.
BAR CODE – Them’s the fight’n rules down at the local tavern
BUG – The reason you give for calling in sick
BYTE – What your pit bull dun to cusin Jethro
CACHE – Needed when you run out of food stamps
CHIP – Pasture muffins that you try not to step in
TERMINAL – Time to call the undertaker
CRASH – When you go to Junior’s party uninvited
DIGITAL – The art of counting on your fingers
DISKETTE – Female Disco dancer
FAX – What you lie about to the IRS
HACKER – Uncle Leroy after 32 years of smoking
HARDCOPY – Picture looked at when selecting tattoos
INTERNET – Where cafeteria workers put their hair
KEYBOARD – Where you hang the keys to the John Deere
MAC – Big Bubba’s favorite fast food
MEGAHERTZ – How your head feels after 17 beers
MODEM – What ya did when the grass and weeds got too tall
MOUSE PAD – Where Mickey and Minnie live
NETWORK – Scoop’n up a big fish before it breaks the line
ONLINE – Where to stay when taking the sobriety test
ROM – Where the pope lives
SCREEN – Helps keep the skeeters off the porch
SERIAL PORT – A red wine you drink with breakfast
SUPERCONDUCTOR – Amtrak’s Employee of the year
SCSI – What you call your week-old underwear