"I squirted some cheesestick juice into Anthony's mouth Daddy."
Yesterday I dug and laid flagstones for a sort of mini patio. At least that's what I thought I was doing. My daughter informed me that actually what we were doing was celebrating a birthday for the ants which we would sometimes see mincing about the place. So while I dug rocks out of the ground and then laid flagstones, and my son helped by pouring trowel-loads of dirt onto my foot, my daughter ran around collecting birthday items. During this time we all came up with the various names for the ant guests at the party. The idea being that the word, "ant" be included in their name. Most important of all was the birthday boy - Anthony. You can see how clever we are there. After my daughter offered the giggling-inducing, "Mant" and the delightful, "Poo-ant" I figured I should chip in with some clever ones.
First up obviously was Anthony's best friend Underp-ant. And his other two good friends (who are twins, apparently) F-ant-a and S-ant-a. My daughter quite liked the Santa one going on to explain how that particular ant really likes snow, eating carrots on the roof of our house (a bastardization of giving the reindeer carrots at Christmas there) and Christmas trees. After that I went somewhat esoteric. I explained how I wish Anthony would spend a little more of his free time with Immanuel K-ant - and a lot less time with disgraced former-Republican (I repeat myself...) Jim Traffic-ant. Not to mention his unusual friendships with Louis Farakh-ant and Robert Ant-on Wilson. At this point my daughter flat-out rejected most of these friendships by stating, "No. they're not his real friends - he just lives with them..." she brutally said - perhaps contrasting her own relationship with us. She preferred absurd names like Boo Boo and Purple Head. Fair enough - although I did get her to agree that an ant named Bourdain would be making the birthday food. She then ran around picking out earthworms from the mud, collecting grass to make a grass cake (I bet that's delicious...) and picking flowers for the big event.
I suppose I should note here for my friends back in the UK that ants, bees and wasps and whatnot are not the same in both countries. I can turn over pretty much anything in my yard and billions of ants will be teeming about underneath. They won't bite you though - it's just not going to happen. My wife found the idea that we shouldn't annoy them kind of silly on these grounds. Which explains her fearless gardening when she surprised a massive enclave of them and just carried on regardless. There I was thinking she was as tough as ten bears. Nope - they just tend not to bite. I can't count the number of times I've been bitten by ants back in the UK. Especially those red bastards. So after finding ants all over the place out back I even tested the "they-wont-bite" theory out and they didn't bite me. I still don't trust their symbiotic Borg-like planning bollocks though. I know they didn't bite me now so they can kill everyone all at the same time later.
But I would swap the normal calmness of bees and wasps in the UK any day. Pretty much one type of fat farting bee trumping it's way around on what sounds like a crappy moped. And then one kind of wasp - which whilst annoying is pretty harmless. I should note that I did fall in a bee's nest when I was about twelve and got stung on my head. Didn't turn me off bees though. And I saw a kid from school fall into a wasps nest back when I still thought role-playing White Dwarf storylines in the woods was cool (and yes - I did spend inordinate amounts of time painting little metal figurines from Games Workshop and tossing twelve-sided die and cheering about my dexterity points).
Here though - I actually physically hate bees and wasps. I hate them so much it gives me energy. If I hear about one in my house all holy hell breaks loose. I am besotted with rage and am compelled to kill the bastards for not only being rude enough to break in but for their potential to harm us. It's a real insight into how arseholes justified the preemptive-strike aspects of the Bush Doctrine. On days when I'm not feeling particularly manly or violent I'll even make a special trip out to my garage with a can of commercial wasp killer an annihilate a bunch of paper wasps nests. I am more than happy to live side by side with them all - ants, bees and wasps and whatnot - but as soon as they start pissing about with me or my family they will all die. I honestly believe I am more energized and motivated by a bee or wasp in my house than I would be if I knew a burglar had broken in. I've been stung by bees, paper wasps, ground bees and random yellow jacket bastards living in logs, trees and random lumps of wood here. I will hunt them down and exterminate them. I won't even go into how driven to madness I am by ground bees. No amount of hearing that they exist prepared me for how horrified and terrified I was the first time I dug in my backyard only to find bees there in the dirt. I must have stood there beating the ground with a shovel for a five minutes after finding that.
Honey bees get a pass. I have had five hives removed from the wall of my house and twice from the wall outside. I like honey bees. If I had the gumption and drive I would own some. Seriously I would. I understand the problem of their dying off and sympathize greatly. My father in-law and I worked in my demolished kitchen with a hive of honey bees living in the window at the cooler part of Fall and kind of enjoyed them being there. But the day it warmed up and they got angry I killed them all. I have personally killed possibly thousands of bees that tried to get back into my own home. And I enjoyed killing them.
Anyhoo back to the birthday party. After I finished with the last flagstone it rained a little and my daughter said she was taking Anthony to school. I'm not sure if she really did put him in her pocket. She did though insist that the three of us give him our special presents. She gave hm Bounce powder, her brother gave him Bonk dust and I gave him cheesestick juice. Which in itself didn't seem mental (it is mind you) until I started wondering if this event had any parallels to the three wise men giving the Messiah his gifts. It might - but then Jesus wasn't mashed into the pocket of a near-five year old girl when she got on the bus for school.
Or is that in one of the gnostic gospels?