Declaring war on summer’s swarms exercise in futility

Declaring war on summer’s swarms exercise in futility

  • By Nick C. Varney
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2013 6:28pm
  • News

Heat and I get along like a snow cone in a sauna, so last month was no chocolate éclair on the buffet of life for me. Most of the 30 days seemed like something resembling that particular dessert that I inadvertently stepped in rather than enjoyed.

Yeah, yeah, I know there are a lot of you who relish jumping into a vat of sunscreen and then marching off into your gardens to breed vegetables so massive the Jolly Green Giant would be sporting a truss if he tried to pick one up. I get it.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a green thumb. I don’t know the difference between free range turnips and the genetically altered ones that can purportedly harvest themselves. Heck, I’m lucky if I can get a head of lettuce home from the store before it self destructs. Even as a kid neither one of my grandmas would let me close to their lush layouts when I came for a visit during the summer. They’d get nervous if I tried to smell the roses much less water the plants. 

So, when it heats up around here, instead of heading into the yard with a trowel and a scowl in search of mutant weeds-n-things, I usually saunter down a little secret trail to the beach and cool off in the bay breezes while savoring a refrigerated libation containing hops that I had no part in rearing. 

This year my routine was disrupted by the darkly e-vile and reprehensible associates of heat: blood-sucking, proboscis-enabled mosquitoes that suddenly blanketed our modest path in Costco-sized hordes.

Until this summer, I have taken that stroll for more than 25 years and never suffered a bite. I took about three strides and immediately shot back out — yowling epitaphs that sent my gentle neighbor lady in search of spiritual counseling and me assessing the need for an emergency transfusion.

While under siege, I had flashbacks of dealing with swarms of skeets in the plains north of Atigun Pass. Those things were so thick that you had to turn on your wipers as you drove through a concentrated, blood-laden mass. (They loved making Slurpees out of caribou.)

There were reports from hunting guides who claimed to have spotted winged suckers the size of small Cessnas trying to mate mid-air with low-flying aircraft cruising over the tundra. I didn’t believe it. Real planes have much better ground speed and could have outrun such an unseemly advance.

Anyway, the aforementioned attack was so vicious that my old military training kicked in and I decided to declare war on the diminutive vampires. I was going to make it to the beach come hell or high blood loss.

To thwart an invasion, one must have a feasible plan. 

My first inclination to charge back into the grove wearing a sealed bomb squad suit while hip-firing a napalm launcher was eliminated because such an ensemble would possibly highly annoy local authorities and bring a bit too much drama to our ’hood. 

My second choice of a set of full-body SCUBA gear would have kept my skin pest free while trudging to the beach and allowed for normal breathing without the inhalation of suicide squads attacking from the clouds of relentless bloodsuckers.

My bride nixed the idea because she professed that if a guy my size, decked out in an outfit like that, suddenly stepped out of the woods onto the small overhang above the beach some unfortunate shoreline stroller would probably have a massive seizure or, if they were armed, subject me to one. 

I was stumped but felt I had to do something because I remembered a study where some mentally unbalanced Arctic researchers uncovered their chests, arms and legs and reported as many as 9,000 mosquito bites per person, per minute. If they hadn’t gone screaming into a nearby lake they would have lost around one-half of their body’s blood supply in approximately two hours.

Note: There have been no further experiments of this type to authenticate their razor-sharp observations. Go figure.

So what to do about the airborne devils?  

I can’t take them out one by one. It’s almost impossible to hold down the miniature spawns of Dracula long enough to drive tiny stakes through their black hearts. Besides, they’re so thick they make the Mongol hordes look like the line for volunteer subjects in a death ray experiment.   

I was quickly hung up on when I made a simple request to the state for an immediate tanker drop of nuclear-strength Raid and can’t repeat what impossible physical activity they said I should pursue rather than bother them again.  

I finally decided to call my bro Turk who listened to my grumblings for a few moments and then reminded me that only the females were after my blood and inquired if I had ever really won a contest of wills with one determined woman much less a strike force of them.

He suggested I was getting too old to go off on a quixotic tilt against the distaff side of the swarms. 

“It would be like you and your wife having words but you weren’t allowed to use yours. It’s not worth it,” he said.

So I’m suspending my private sojourns to the shore until it cools down so much the plasma-drooling flies couldn’t catch a sumo wrestler on crutches.

For now, I’ll take the pickup to the Spit’s beaches — that way the dogs will want to come along, too. Believe it or not, they never came off the deck when I headed toward our trail. Again, go figure.  

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t busy assembling a commercial insect fogger the size of a turbofan engine from a C-5 Galaxy cargo plane.


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