Last night I felt a tickle and looked down to see a BROWN spider scurrying up my leg. In my house, because I have been bitten and had to take several rounds of knock-ass antibiotics (do you ever read the possible reactions on those things?) a spider colored BROWN equals DEAD—my doctor has an undergraduate degree in entomology and says not even he can identify brown spiders as anything but brown—so I hit it with a shoe. It rolled into a ball and I went back to typing, thinking I would futilely try to species it later. Later it was gone.
This morning a smaller, though same type, BROWN spider ran across the couch, and I killed it with a sock. Two spiders, BROWN, same couch, two too much. Today was deep vacuum day. By the time I finished I had found three more spiders, one of the same BROWN variety and two of a different, bulbous and golden, brown, all sucked up in the vacuum cleaner. Under another couch I found a crippled BROWN spider. Man, what could I do? It had survived the whacking last night, and now was trying to skitter out of the path of the BIG THING, just trying to survive (so it could bite me later with its very toxic venom pouch or whatever it has if it were the same as the undetected spider that had left four, FOUR welts that had become infected with MRSA, required several rounds of etc etc etc and itched for two years. I did the only thing I could. I scooped it up on a note card that had a quotation from A Course in Miracles and flung it out the door.
Once I peeled my thumb nail back trying to corral a cockroach with the empty cardboard paper towel tube. Ouch. A long time ouch. Now cockroaches live or die according to my whim and how easy they are to catch in an actual paper towel and what’s on my agenda for the next few minutes.
Shug the dog is allergic to many, many, many substances, including fleas, including anti-flea medication. Since we’ve had upwards to ten house pets at one time, we’ve been able to keep the fleas at bay by Advantageing the rest of the animals, and leaving Shug toxin free. Only this year Shug has fleas. What’s the difference between killing fleas with a toxin administered to your dog or cat, and personally picking them off your allergic dog and squashing them between your fingernails? Blood-lust. Sentient beings or not (and I know they are because they run like hell and deviously hide—they know enough to know they do not want to die, ‘don’t got to the out back,’ I imagine them saying to their adolescents, ‘for the Big One will surely kill you.’), I track those suckers like the Terminator after Sarah Conner. Only I get them. It’s easy to get addicted. Sometimes I wonder if there is a flea-crushing competition, I’m that good.
A lone ant traveling the sunroom we call Paladin, you know, a knight without armor in a savage land. We might blow it off our arm, but otherwise we greet it by name. An ant on my food counter? I think of it as Borg, those mentally linked Star Trek cyborgs. “You are about to die,” I tell it. “Warn them. Warn the others not to come.” One dead to save thousands. Those ants that congregate in the cat food bowls? They get washed down the sink while I sing, “it was sad, sad, sad, it was sad when that great ship went down, down, down.” And the ant families swirl around the drain as I finish up, “husbands and wives, itty bitty antees lost their lives.” Yesterday there were no ants on the pet food bowls, but the yard stick in the corner was covered in them.
And that’s not all. As I wash those battalions of ants down the drain, I know those ants want to move into my house, set up housekeeping, share my food, eventually devour me after they starve me to death, and even if it’s not personal, the result is the same, so it’s me or them, Buddy. And what is the difference between ants and people? What if I were the leader of a marauding population, be it space alien or Attila the Hun, if I didn’t need the folks I was conquering for labor, and I needed their resources? Would the ability to make war on the insect world allow me to massacre populations? Just a thought while I’m feeding the cats.
And I am BIG—maybe bigger than the ant, the spider and flea can conceive? Am I capricious fate to them, or something akin to the Hand of God? “God created man in His Own image, and man immediately returned the favor,” says one variety of a quote attributed to many people. I think of how I treat the insects and know I fear God feels the same about me. Two-and-a-half billion people in 1950, with a projection of nine billion in 2050. Was the God of the wooly mammoth and the great auk not paying attention? And while the number of polar bears are at a historical high and the notion of man-made global warming has become a hysterical religion that brooks no heretics, can Mother Gaia sustain nine billion people and the polar bears? And is one single one of one worth more than one single one of the other? Is your head spinning yet?
Okay. I believe God and ant and woman are all one, and having my brain scream “we’re all going to die” while I refill the cat bowls is merely drama entertainment. Let’s not move on to starving babies, plague and how my neighbor hacked a branch out of the magnolia so she could park her son’s run-about golf cart there, and now will the magnolia catch a virus from its injury and die. Bombs. Bombs and waterboarding. STOP.
A Course in Miracles says we have two choices: heaven and hell, and we call our witnesses to prove the one we want see. This has proven true to me so many times, yet I stand by my sink, drowning ants, and wonder how to call forth heaven when hell is obviously, disastrously exploding in my future like I have no choice in the matter at all, I’m either ant fodder or ant executioner. If I get an inkling, you’ll be the first to know.