'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
CRAWLING CRITTERS ABUNDANT THIS SUMMER
We have had an especially wet summer so far this year. We’re in one of those tropical weather patterns where thunderstorms develop seemingly every afternoon. Besides ruining many family picnics, the wet weather has turned my house into one of my childhood nightmares: the cabin by the lake.
The cabin by the lake, if I remember correctly, was actually a pretty nice vacation spot. There were only two problems: it was a cabin, and it was by the lake. With all that nearby moisture, the cabin by the lake had more spiders per cubic foot than any other spot on planet Earth.
We would spend all of our waking hours, not enjoying the vacation and swimming in the lake, but racing around the cabin killing spiders. When we thought we had finally cleared the cabin of all Arachnid-Americans (I’m trying to be politically correct here), it was evening and we would collapse into bed exhausted. But overnight a whole new generation of spiders sprouted (spiders sprout, don’t they?), and in the morning we would wake up with newly constructed webs blocking the doorways, connecting the window sills to the tips of our noses, and enveloping our poor whimpering dog in a stringy strait jacket.
Because of all the rain, a similar situation has occurred this summer. The spider population is in full bloom (spiders bloom, don’t they?). Thankfully my house is constructed much better than that old drafty cabin, so spiders cannot come in through multiple cracks in the walls and gaps around the windows. Instead, they wait patiently in the driveway by the garage door, and when I come home from work and push the button on the automatic door opener, they race inside.
In addition to spiders, all sorts of other wildlife are thriving. My property has been inundated this summer by mosquitoes, gnats, moths, crickets, beetles, chipmunks, squirrels, and Jehovah Witnesses. And of course, there are a zillion birds this year. Every time it rains the worms come to the surface of the yard, and for birds that’s like a $5 all-you-can-eat buffet. I saw a couple of robins the other day, and I swear they were wearing stretch pants.
I actually like the birds and don’t consider them to be pests—except at 4:30 in the morning. Why do bird feel compelled to chirp so loudly just before sunrise? Here is the translation of what the birds say to each other:
First bird: “Chirp!!” (Hey, I think the sun might be coming up soon.)
Second bird: “Chirp! Chirp!!” (You mean just like it did yesterday?)
First bird: “Chirp!!” (Yeah, isn’t that amazing?)
Second bird: “Chirp! Chirp!! (Cool. Let’s keep chirping till it comes up.)
All five hundred birds in my yard: “CHIRP! CHIRP!! CHIRP!!!” (Let’s see if we can wake up that snoring human inside the house.)
First bird: “Chirp!!” (I ate so many worms yesterday, I need a bigger pair of stretch pants.)
I’m trying hard not to be too freaked out by the fact that my house and yard have become a tropical rain forest this summer. I realize all the creeping, crawling critters are just trying to make a living and survive—a lot like me. I’m trying to have an attitude of “live and let live.”
I just wish that when I wake up at 4:30 in the morning (thanks a lot, birds), I discover that for once the spiders decided not to build a web connecting the window sill to the tip of my nose.
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