Monday, September 11, 2017

BZZZzzzzz: The Humble Hornet

Throughout this life, The Leopard has had an interesting & complicated relationship with hornets. The little critters seem to have turned up in different stages of my development - boy to adult. It’s like they somehow know me and come back, again and again, to let me know what’s what.

When I was about 9, my friends and I were playing in my backyard. One of our fvorite games was to pretend we were real-life GI Joes. One pal was the “Land Adventurer”. another, the “Air Adventurer”, and I was of course, the “Black Adventurer.”  In our imagination, we were all battling the evil henchman of some super-villain when, as we we jostled around, I fell directly, butt first, on a hornet. The thing about hornets, of course  - is that they don’t lose their stingers, like bees. They just keep stinging you.  - And it did. Also, they release a noxious venom that burns like hell. I remember running around my little yard like a maniac while my little pals stared at me, stunned and totally perplexed of what I was going on. Playtime was apparently over.

My next round was when I was in my 30’s.  A group of us went to the Catskills for a  weekend jaunt when as we hiked through some bushes we disturbed an enormous nest. Everyone ran in different directions and got out themselves harm’s way, except me - I awkwardly tripped over a log and fell forward onto my palms, buying my face in the dirt. As I tried to lift myself up, I was stung in several times on my cheeks and lips as well as along the length of my right leg for day I resembled John Merrick.

Finally, a few years ago I was visiting a museum in Pennsylvania my girlfriend. Behind the main building was a picnic area, with a tiny a bridge that crossed a small brook. Even though it was blocked off, I stupidly (and stubbornly) tried to climb through protruding shrubbery to walk across it. And, you guessed it – ran into a small cloud of hornets that proceeded to sting me my outstretched fingers.  Then and there, I finally learned my lesson. I am no match for the humble hornet. For now on, I steer clear.