Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Since the dawn of humanity, boys have been at war with hornets' nests.

If you're a human male, and you never entertained yourself by destroying a hornets' nest abuzz with angry insects, you are an incomplete person.

Dolichovespula maculata and the young male Homo sapien have not been at peace since the discovery of tools and fire. It's a universal brutal battle that won't cease until the apocalypse, I assure you.

This loathing of active hornets' nests is an instinct that hones important skills for the male child: Bravery - dangerous things are not to be feared; Power - dangerous things are to be fucked up, royally, with reasonable caution, and the pay-off feels great; Innovation - use any means at your immediate disposal (rotten apples, sticks, rocks) as implements of battle; Independence - the opinions of authority are to be received with skepticism and mostly ignored. Vital life skills, each one.

Recently, some friends and I swapped childhood hornets' nest attack stories and I wondered whether most males have similar experiences. Then, this past week when I was visiting my 74-year-old uncle in Texas, we had the exact same story trading session. I'm convinced that this phenomenon has meaningful historical significance.

And it may apply to all insects that nest in trees. I'll never forget the time when my friends and I shoved a lit pack of firecrackers into a massive, eye-level tent caterpillars' nest. We ran back 25 feet and waited---all eyes forward. When the nest blew apart from the explosion, it sprayed green caterpillar guts staight into our childish faces. The experience was a positive one, despite having had to wipe green muck from my eye sockets and hair.

If you're a man, and all of this sounds foreign to you, I suggest you take a stroll through the woods the next chance you get. It's not too late.
I've burnt some hornets nests in my time. If you've ever been bitten by a whole nest of them at the same time several times in your life, you get a little overly keen to kill the bastards.
I had a real problem with hornets this summer when they bore into wood and built a nest into an extended porch I have going into my back yard. Every time you would exit the house you would get stung. Aggressive little beggars. You call that poison? HA! I scoff at your efforts you weak human.
Maybe the hornets-nest-killing instinct is not just peculiar to boys then ...
Ah, firecrackers and all sorts of little bugs are an interesting combination that I remember well.
After a bad experience involving water guns, badmitton rackets, and bumblebees, my buddies and I discovered the insect exoskeleton locking benefits of gasoline that should have went into cutting the lawn (but that is another story)... Lessons learned: do not stand under the nest unless you LIKE smelling of gas and dead wasps; Gasoline will eat through your mom's new plastic tumblers (use the glass mason jars in dad's shop instead); DO NOT MISS a bumblebee nest on the first throw, as you will not get a second chance... I could go on, but you get the picture.
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