Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why thank you, Mr. Parasite!

Achievements of epic proportions are often remembered by naught but a few lines in a textbook. Even then, if the font is anything less than highlighted, bold, and red, the honorary sentences are but obstacles on the path to the chapter summary at the end, where the mentally anorexic feast upon crumbs of knowledge.
I’ve yet to decide whether the sadder truth is that some of the major accomplishments of mankind go unwritten. Still, is it possible for such things to go unnoted?
Definitely no!
Decidedly no!
Uh uh.
Art, sports, religion, politics, science, entertainment – they’ve all had their defining moments of glory, opportunities to ensure their legacies amongst various cultures. Their efforts are both noted and recorded. The result is that phrases such as “moon landing,” “millennium,” “DNA,” “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog,” and “she’s got a face like a Monet” each have some semblance of familiarity to them.
These expressions have made sense to me because there was a time when I too was impressed by the memory of the events they allude to.
Until now.

Seventy. Could be a small number, could be unfathomable. “I have seventy cents left in my bank account,” one might say. “There will be seventy newborn tiger cubs at the San Diego zoo!” the eager keeper would proclaim. Steve, the zealous local Baskin Robbins associate would say of the new ice cream parlor that had just opened down the road, “Seventy ice cream flavors?? That’s absurd! Who needs more than…well, nevermind.”
Ladies and gentleman, may I now inform you of the previously unrecorded, but definitely notable achievement that I have come to call my own, though I made little effort in its coming about: On my body, as I write, there are at least 70 bug bites. Enough little red spots on my legs alone for an elementary school nurse to send me home for the month with a note that pleads, “look into homeschool for your obviously plague-prone child.”

Cool, huh!? Never you fear, not a single one is fatal. That’s enough consolation, right? Right.
Here’s the deal: Where I live, biting insects are rather rare. Lucky! Thus, I don’t really wear the bug repellant I have conveniently placed in my sock drawer. However, the other day we went into the mountains to visit María and her community (see other blog). Along our stroll by the river’s edge, I noticed a few wee bugs but didn’t pay them much heed.
Now, as any kid under the age of 10 will tell you, one of the best ways to be heeded when someone’s ignoring you is to simply latch onto their legs and force them to take you along for the ride as you walk. Apparently, blood-sucking vermin in Guatemala are no different (I knew it!). For the remainder of our time there in the mountains, every time I looked down at my bare legs (first regretted decision yet: wear shorts to a rural location simply because all pants are dirty beyond description), there would be at least 4-5 tiny little black flies stopping in for a refreshing drink of ME.

In all honesty, I’m rather flattered. I take their attacks as communication. All they’re telling me is, “Hey missy, you’ve got some sweet blood!” Why thank you, Mr. Parasite! You’re really more of a sweet heart than they say, you know. “Well, you are what you eat!” Wait….Oh! You little kidder you! (I say as I give him a congenial play punch to the jaw.)

That’s all, really. Just thought it was rather funny/impressive that I have SEVENTY bug bites. It was noted before, even though it wasn’t recorded. Boy howdy was it noted! Now I’ve recorded it, not so that some text book will look back and suck the life out of the experience, but because I’ve decided that even if world-altering events are notable without being reported in writing, they’re always that much more world-altering when they’re written for others to share.

Now, who’s up for going camping?! I feel like egging on all those wossy mosquitoes in North America. They’ve got NOTHIN’ on these Guatemala gnats!

Oh, and my bed may or may not have fleas. Done.

See ya!

Update: I wrote this blog a couple days ago. Since then, I definitely have a few more bites. The count is now beyond 90. Thank you ladies and gentleman. I´ll be thoroughly cleaning everything in sight and lathering up in bug repellant if you need me.


C Eric L said...

You won the competition already!!! You don't need any more bug bites!

Jana said...

I salute you, ma'am!