Caution: Part of this column may be a little disgusting.
There. You’ve been warned.
As of this week, it has been nearly 10 years since I started writing these weekly columns. Just when I think I’ve written about almost everything imaginable, something will happen. It might be something that really gripes me, something that amuses me, a pet peeve or something that really interests me. Whatever it might be, I end up writing about it.
For the first time, I’m going to write about … flies.
Nobody likes flies. Buzzing, nasty, disease-carrying little flies. They have an important place in nature where they eat and dispose of dead and rotting nasty stuff, but they should stay out of my house. I hate them.
Here is a disgusting fact about flies.
Other than horseflies and a few other biting-flies, common houseflies have no way of biting and eating. Instead, they have a built-in straw called a proboscis through which they drink fluids. The truly disgusting thing about it is that not everything they land on and try to eat is fluid, so… every time they land on something, they barf up some stomach juice and allow the acids from their stomach to dissolve whatever the fly is standing on. Then they slurp the disgusting mess up through their proboscis.
The truth is, it is probably nastier than it sounds.
When I see a fly buzzing around the house, I realize that every time it lands on my desk, lampshade, newspaper, or piece of bacon, it quickly vomits and then slurps up its own mess. Yuck. My goal is to swat that nasty little bugger just as quickly as possible.
This past Friday afternoon, I was finished with everything that needed to be done. A PGA golf tournament was on TV. I pointed the fan at my comfy couch, fluffed my pillow and reclined. That is my favorite napping position.
The golf announcers were droning on about the match. It was perfect for shutting my eyes and catching a nap, a perfect Friday afternoon nap.
I was just lapsing into full nap-mode when I heard a faint droning sound. Suddenly, a fly buzzed right up my nostril. It was as if I had been assaulted. Never have I been so rudely awakened!
All at the same time, I jolted awake, snorted, sneezed, and cussed. I rolled up a nearby newspaper to swat him to death, but he was gone. I briefly heard him and saw him buzz away into the kitchen. The game was on.
Debbie was in the family room watching a do-it-yourself home improvement show. She told me she had seen the fly but didn’t have a flyswatter. I moved back into the kitchen and crept into my office. Nothing. There was no fly to be seen. He must have fled the scene of the crime.
Slowly, following my initial fly-snorting, I calmed down. I made my way back to the front room, onto my recliner and tried to resume my nap. The golf match was still on. I got comfy again. I must have lapsed into a bit of a snoring mode.
Apparently, my mouth was slightly open, because this time that nasty little disease-laden bug flew right into my mouth. Spitting, coughing, and cussing, again I woke up within half-a-heartbeat.
I gave up on the idea of a nap.
The only flyswatter in the house was found hiding in my office. It was a big, white, fly-slaying weapon. Written on the smooth side, in big black letters, were the words, “1995 — Clinton County Fair – July 15-18.”
Now, I was armed and ready. Hoping to lure him into my trap, I resumed my position on my couch, but he was too crafty. He refused to show his beady little head with those thousands of little fly-eye-parts.
Desperate times call for desperate action. I carried the flyswatter into the living room and stood in front of Debbie. Handing her the big, white flyswatter, I said, “Here’s the deal. That fly has got to die. I’m going to go back, lay down and pretend to be asleep. Give it a few minutes. Then sneak in. I don’t care if he’s sitting right on the tip of my nose, smash him.”
I’m not sure that I liked the smile that came over Debbie’s face, but she willingly agreed … maybe too willingly. A short time later, from the family room, I heard a smack and Debbie shouted “I got him.”
Whew, that was a relief. Now, in hindsight, I’m a little nervous about giving Debbie a flyswatter and permission to whack me with it. So, I’ll keep my guard up for a while.
But, if you happen see me around town with flyswatter-marks on my face, trust me. Getting smacked was a whole lot better than having a fly buzz up into my nose and barf. OK, I know. That was gross.
I’m sorry for all that nasty fly-business. But after it was over and the dead fly was in the trash, Debbie and I did laugh quite a bit.
I hope our fly-misadventures brought a smile to your face.
Randy Riley is a former Mayor of Wilmington and former Clinton County Commissioner.