Friday, January 22, 2010

Premises Protected by Johnson & Johnson

My yard, front, back and two sides, is under constant threat of being reclaimed by nature. Thanks to the inability and/or unwillingness of the U.S. Congress to enact functional immigration laws, I can always find help in front of the Stone Mountain Cut Rate 24/7 Magic Quick Stop Generic Gas Station and Georgia Lottery Franchise. I always wonder, when the swarm encircles my car: does this represent merely the disadvantage of those needing work expressed as a ratio to the jobs available? Or do I look like the kind of guy who will not only have his own leaf blower but also will buy lunch at McDonald’s and pay for a full eight hours even if I knock off at 3 p.m.? After only a couple of hours clipping hedges, my helper ran screaming up the street. When he returned, cautiously, he pointed out to me a hornets nest the size of a basketball hanging under the window box. I told him to keep a wide path away from it the remainder off the day.

Meanwhile, I looked on the internet for ways to destroy nests of hornets, wasps, yellow jackets and other flying insects with stingers. Leave the job to a professional, according to the overwhelming consensus. The kind of advice that fell on deaf ears with me even before my ears fell deaf. I am the guy the petrochemical manufacturers had in mind when they refined the accuracy of a stream of pesticide spray that can shoot down a flying object no bigger than your fingernail from 20 feet away. This product stands proudly alongside their contributions such as furniture polish and baby lotion as comfort to modern human life.

I bought several cans of SharpShooter Wasp and Hornet Spray at the Half-Price Store. I planned to saturate the wasp nest hanging from my window box, killing everything inside or likely to go inside. Then I would knock down the nest and discard it in the trash. If you intend to destroy a wasp/hornet/yellow jacket nest as a do-it-yourself project, cover yourself completely. All the articles agree. I donned my thickest blue jeans, sweatshirt, and hat. That still left my face and ears exposed. In the absence of a beekeepers helmet and veil, I cut some eye holes in old pillow case, but upon seeing myself in the mirror wearing it, I could tell right away this was not a good idea. I backed the car into the yard, within about 15 feet of the nest. With the engine running, I rolled down the passenger side window about six inches. Then I emptied two cans of SharpShooter Wasp and Hornet Spray in steady streams through the window opening accurately and directly into the access hole of the nest. My speeding getaway looked like Bonnie and Clyde. When I returned much, much later, the ground under the nest was covered with dead carcasses.

I am thinking about this, because the little city of Pine Lake, Ga., population 621, where I live, is struggling with law enforcement and security issues. The usual stuff, robbery, rape, dogs without leashes or anyone able or willing to control them. My buddy Luther, who does not live in Pine Lake, has a sign on his front door: “This property protected by Smith and Wesson.” Even one of the gentlest of my neighbors tells me that when she walks her dog, she carries a mini-stun gun (on the internet, Mini-Thunder, available, 100,000 volts $11.95). Now I receive an e-mail suggesting wasp spray for self-defense as superior to mace or pepper spray both in cost and safe distance required to be effective. Hey, I’m already an expert. Maybe I should make some signs for the front door: “These premises protected by Johnson & Johnson.“

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