Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Deep Woods On

Today's word: mosquito.  Definition: If you don't know what a mosquito is, please visit Minnesota in July for a complete and painful education.

I have to go on record here by saying that, luckily, I am one of those people who don't attract these little buggers in droves (much like single straight men as well, evidently). In fact, I just read an article that was devoted entirely to the study of why mosquitoes are attracted to some people and not others.  It might be chemicals, or hormones, or pheromones, but some of us can gallop through a field at dusk and come away with just a few nibbles, while others can wave an arm out the car window and pull it back covered in red welts.  My dad is the latter.

If my dad even thinks of venturing outside in prime mosquito season, I'm convinced that's the signal for the half-dozen rogue insect agents who have been hiding inside the house to attack him.  Nothing works to keep them at bay, but he has found a product that eases the irritation following the assault.  It's a skinny white tube called Skeeter Stick.

I don't know what's in this magical medical wand, but whatever it is, it's strong enough to nearly knock out a full-grown poodle when sniffed.  How do I know this?  I plead the fifth.  And before you cry animal cruelty, you should know that that dog suffered no long-term ill effects and lived to be 17.

So my father spends the better part of the summer girding his loins and every other part of his body against creatures whose only purpose in life is to feed on human blood.  You know what else does that?  Vampires.  

And yet, somehow we don't romanticize mosquitoes in the quite the same way.  I have yet to pick up a series of teen novels that feature handsome, brooding, misunderstood mosquitoes who are hopelessly attracted to the lonely, edgy girl in school and can't help embroiling her in the mayhem of evil ticks and fleas.

I really don't get this vampire obsession that has sprung up in the last year or so.  Sure, it's sexy to fall under the spell of someone irresistible who wants nothing more than to devour your neck . . . as long as they don't also intend to drain you of life-sustaining fluids and transform you into the undead.  Leave a hickey if you must -- I can fix that with a turtleneck.  But nothing they sell at Old Navy will cover up an eternity of insatiable thirst for human blood. 

Maybe I'm simply too old to swoon over the delicious danger of cavorting with parasites, even if they do look like Robert Pattinson.  But I guess if Hollywood can romanticize vampires, it could probably work similar magic with West Nile.

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