March 29, 2002
It’s now officially Spring, which means it’s going to be mosquito season soon. Strictly speaking, mosquitoes are parasites. That is, they live off us as hosts without killing us, but they’re not what I usually think of when I think of parasites. I think of parasites as organisms like tapeworms, or Uncle Harry who comes for a visit every six months and uses an entire roll of toilet paper every time he goes in the bathroom. (Personally I wouldn’t want to live in anyone’s lower intestine, but I could see why this environment would appeal to tapeworms, or, for that matter, Uncle Harry: it’s warm, it’s soft, and all your meals get delivered to you. But I digress.)
Mosquitoes are like diners at a Chinese buffet: they drop in, stuff themselves silly, and go away. Aside from an itchy red bump or a bout of malaria, they don’t leave anything behind. Despite this, people will try just about anything to keep mosquitoes away: poisonous insect sprays, citronella candles (which are useless but look nice), and even bug zappers (which are fine if you like having your patio bathed in an unnatural violet light vaguely reminiscent of blacklights which were popular in the sixties). I’ll tell you the most effective way to keep mosquitoes (and ticks, and mites, and chiggers, and any other bloodsucking parasites) away at the end of this, but first I’ll tell you about a really bad mosquito- stopper. In a catalog I found a device that "impersonates" a human being by sitting in the corner of the yard or patio and expelling warm carbon dioxide. When mosquitoes or other insects get close, they get sucked in and electrocuted. It’s a bug zapper without the radioactive glow. But with the Earth’s temperature rising and the Antarctic ice shelf cracking up faster than Aunt Lavinia without her medication, do we really need one more thing that puts more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Are mosquitoes so bad that we’d rather re-draw the coastlines than have to slap the annoying pests?
Let’s not forget that the warmer the climate gets the farther North malaria–which is carried by mosquitoes–travels. At the rate things are going soon you’ll have to take quinine tablets if you travel to Winnipeg. The other alternative–here it is–is to take a spoonful of vinegar daily. The vinegar gets into your bloodstream and acts as a repellent. Maybe this is a myth, but it’s always worked for me. Of course, I have some sympathy for the mosquitoes because I think they’re a lot like us. We fly around all over our "host" sticking long tubes into it and sucking out fluids. The problem is we’ve gotten to be too good at it, and we’re in danger of killing off the host who’s, so far, generously refrained from flattening us. If we don’t watch it, we might go the way of the trilobite while the mosquitoes take over–and that really would suck.
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
Sometimes we just need to remember WHAT the Rules of Life really are….
1. Never give yourself a haircut after three margaritas.
2. You need only two tools: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn’t, use the tape.
3. The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship "I apologize" and "You are right."
4. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
5. When you make a mistake, make amends immediately. It’s easier to eat crow while it’s still warm.
6. The only really good advice that your mother ever gave you was, "Go! You might meet somebody!"
7. If he/she says that you are too good for him/her – believe them.
8. Learn to pick your battles; ask yourself, ‘Will this matter one year from now? How about one month? One week? One day?’
9. Never pass up an opportunity to pee.
10. If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance!
11. Living well really is the best revenge. Being miserable because of a bad or former relationship just might mean that the other person was right about you.
12. Work is good, but it’s not that important.
13. And finally… Be really nice to your friends. You never know when you are going to need them to empty your bedpan.