Laura Zoeller

Doing the creepy-crawly dance

Emotional response to bugs

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If there is one thing that I absolutely can’t stand, it is bugs. I know they are tiny, I know most are harmless, and I know that they must perform some function essential to our world, but I still hate them. Frankly, they give me the heebie-jeebies. I try to remain analytical and stoic when I am confronted with a buggy situation, but often I revert to my emotions when I respond to an encounter.


And my emotional response is not pretty.


I have been known to flail wildly in an attempt to avoid said bug or to kill it. I have been seen, on at least one documented occasion, jumping up and running away while tearing off part of my clothing because of the feeling that a bug was crawling on my back. I also have been known to shriek, yell and scream at those around me who, in my humble opinion, are not doing enough to remove the threat of the caterpillar, ant or beetle that is disturbing me. In short, I am a raving lunatic when confronted with certain specimens of bugs.


My two probable least favorites are fleas and ticks. I have regaled you in the past with the story of my attempt to rid my home of fleas the one time we had a problem. Few who read about it – and fewer who saw it – will forget the 40-foot flames shooting from my yard where I burned nearly everything we owned (including the carpet and most of our furniture) in an attempt to remove the last vestiges of our flea issue. My husband is still haunted by the look he says he saw in my eyes that day. He was certain I had lost my mind, and he’s not sure I ever found it again.


Ticks are the other creepy-crawly that I just can’t stand. Any being that wants to stick to me, leeching off my energy reserves to sustain itself, is one I can’t tolerate. Unless I married it or gave birth to it, that is a no-no in my book.


Despite the fact that rain and warmth in winter are supposed to be contributing factors to a bad tick year, and it seemed to me that it was pretty cold and snowy in December and January, I believe this is going to be a bad tick year. My poor son has already had nearly 10 ticks crawling on him in recent weeks, though he was bitten by only one. I still threatened to give him a flea bath with the dog the other day.


This morning, he saw yet another one crawling up his arm, and in a possible attempt to prove that fear of ticks is hereditary, he picked it up and then flung it away from him, shuddering all the while. My understanding of his feelings was surpassed only by my disgust that we were standing in the living room at the time.


I started to freak out. The spinning, arm-flapping dance moves I performed while yelling, “It’s in my house, it’s in my house,” must have helped somewhat, because they found it and flushed it before anyone was hurt. (I’m not counting any dancing-related injuries that I may have sustained.)


My advice is this: Treat your pets for prevention, check yourself after you’ve been outside and watch out for me if you’re around when I spot one. I make no guarantees of safety or sanity.


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