I’m not aging gracefully--I don’t like having to eat less and exercise more just so I can look like some old guy stole my clothes. But spring is springing and it's time to pretend to get in shape if I want to be Mr. April in the next all-nude Old Men of Manton calendar (proceeds go towards counseling and treatment for people traumatized by seeing the Old Men of Manton calendar).
Living in Manton, I like to ride my mountain bike because there are a lot of mountains for me to walk that bike up. That’s pretty good exercise. Of course I always wear a lot of orange because nothing is ever out of season in Manton. It goes right from pot growing to poaching time and back without a break. Rednecks hunting from the comfort of their pick-up can drink, piss, shoot and barbeque without leaving their bolted down Lazyboys. And apparently the Mexican Mafia have their own forest restoration project going on out here. They just snuck in and started filling in the clearcut areas with pot. Hey, they ARE stealing our jobs!
With all that human action out in the woods I don’t even worry about so-called wildlife. Sure there are mountain lions, but I know how it works with mountain lions--don’t get close, you won’t get shot. Common sense. There are bears too, but the worst they'll do is steal your bike and ride away to the circus.
There’s only one creature that makes it scary to live in a secluded little foothill town like Manton. Besides the people. Just kidding. I love the people in Manton. It’s like one big family here. Actually, I think it IS one big family here. But they are friendly, respectful, neighborly folk. Which is more than I can say for myself, so I'd call it a good neighborhood.
The only predator I’m afraid of is a vicious beetle called The Kissing Bug. It’s also known as the Cone-Nose Blood Sucker or the Chinese Shitting Beetle. I prefer the scientific term, Assassin Bug. I am one of the lucky 5% of people who are allergic to its bite (mom always said I was special, but I thought that was because she taught special education and didn't want me to feel left out). Charles Darwin was allergic, obviously a punishment dealt out by a vengeful and righteous God of Intelligent Design. He was slowly killed by one of the giant South American varieties, Che's Avenger.
The Assassin Bug emerges from hibernation in the spring, although I did battle with two of the little trenchcoat wearing vampires this winter. That was a first (nothing to do with global warming and you would be a stupid liberal dupe to think otherwise). They usually only live in the foothills at the 2000-3000 foot range. Like the rest of my neighbors, they can't really survive anywhere else. But I've hear stories of them making trips to the valley in loads of wood or Clamper beards.
These are genuine bed bugs that sneak up on you in your sleep and inject you with their venom. Which is how I got married (Rimshot! Thank you and good night!). But a Kissing Bug will kill you a lot faster than true love. It’s not really venom that they inject. They spit their saliva on you, which numbs the point of entry. That's pretty smart for a bug. It took me years to figure that out. After they are in they feed on you and their slobber gets injected into your already questionable blood stream. You don’t feel anything until they pull out. Which, again, is quite a gift. The Kissing Bug is a real playah.
Immediately after they have had their way with you, you wake up itching and sweating. Pulse is racing, breath constricted. Hives and heat rash break out from everything accelerating at the speed of spit. Then your puke starts racing your poop to see which can get out first. The itching and the fever are horrible. It’s like getting poison oak on mushrooms. Not that I have anything against those two things seperately. I can’t wait for poison oak season. Standing under a hot shower, scratching away, drooling on myself. But it's okay because I'm in the shower. You heroin addicts can keep your so-called perfect high. Just give me a couple armfuls of poison oak and some boiling water.... I’m getting hard just thinking about it.
After the fourth time I got bit and almost died, I thought “Hey--this isn’t normal." My regular voodoo priestess was out of town, so I went to a doctor. He didn’t know anything about the Assasin Bug with the kiss of death, so he gave me some of those Epipen shots for bee stings. Even though I asked for pot. Quack obviously doesn't know what’s good for me. And the shots haven’t done me any good, because we used them all up watching 'Star Trek: Voyager.'
A few years ago I decided to take the homeopathic approach in dealing with this (even though I am homeophobic). Comedian, heal thyself! Now, every time I see one of those toxic little bastards, I say “Hey Mr. Bug--if you promise not to bite me, I will tell your family you said “Goodbye.” Then I crush him with whatever I have in my hand. Usually a Glock or a martini. Then, in order to build up my immunities, I roll him up and I smoke him. I don’t know if it works, but it tastes better than cigarettes and it’s cheaper than pot.
To read another take on spring, go see Liz Merry's latest Unmentionables column,
Posted on March 1, 2010. CommentReturn To ArchivesReturn To Merry Standish Standard Main Page