20140923_161455As I think about all that is unique in my world it occurs to me that just because something is unique does not mean that I have to like it. Take ants for example. Ants are an amazingly interesting and unique insect. They are found in every continent on earth except antarctica. There are about 22,000 species of ants and somehow most of those species can be found in my yard. An ant can live up to 30 years but not within a mile of me. Ants can have huge colonies but not in my world.

To say I am not a fan of ants is like saying that sometimes it gets a little hot in Georgia. It’s not that I dislike ants………………..oh it’s way more than that. It’s war. To the ant lovers who may be reading this post I have just one thing to say…………..They started it.

*** Caveat  I interrupt this fine story to post the following disclaimer: For those of you who know me know that one of my 15 careers was as a pest controller. Any who have read my work would know that I have written about gnats and cockroaches in a not too positive way. Some readers may have read my story about learning to dance from a cockroach by reading my account in a fondly remembered writing group called Gather and an outstanding book written by Pam Brittain. To a degree I do but since I am allergic to pain of any kind or for that matter excess itching I am in fact prejudiced against many insects but not all (I really do like butterflies and bees). To be fair I am also prejudiced against some plants (like poison ivy, oak, stinging nettles and any vine that has thorns and grows over 20 feet). Now back to the post that was so rudely interrupted.

I haven’t always been at war with ants. When I was small I had an ant farm for a little while until I accidently tilted it to where they all made a clean escape. As far as I could see they headed towards my parents’ bedroom then made a bee line to their bed where my father was taking a nap. When I saw the line of ants leaving my room it looked kind of like they were heading towards my parents’ room but I wasn’t altogether sure. I became certain of it when my dad who was wearing just his tidy whities ran out of his room with his arms flailing around trying to reach his back,brushing his arms and legs with his undershirt. While doing all that he was also jumping up and down like he was on a trampoline and then rolling on the floor while yelling what sounded like abs, ans, ants or something. My Dad had just gotten after me for my room being a pigsty or something at least I think that was what he was getting after me for but I rarely listened. The thing was those were my ants so my sympathy was with the ants.

If you read Pam Brittain’s book you would read about how a cockroach taught me to dance. I wrote how that until the roach made laps in my pants I was unable to dance even a few steps and that how I drove 1 choreographer to tears and another to drugs when they attempted to teach me to dance………………….well I have a confession to make, in that story I lied. I had in fact danced once before a long while earlier and I did really well though I would not think of it as dancing for some years to come. What I did wasn’t really dancing anyways, it was more of a partial strip tease. It happened on the day I had ants in my pants.

As a pest controller I always felt like somewhat of a hero. I could take care of problems that would make a grown man scream and a grown woman climb chairs. The day I had ants in my pants was a day I felt particularly heroic. I arrived at a house of a beautiful young newlywed. She and her husband had ant problems and it had been going on for over 5 weeks. The problem was that even after 3 pest controllers they couldn’t find the nest. I was pretty good at that sort of thing, a little too good.  I located the colony with out a lot of effort, even without knowing that I had. I not only found the colony I was in fact standing on top of it. I was had in effect become the ants new tower. Unknown to me as soon as I had planted my feet on top of the colony ants from all over entered my pant legs for whatever reason. By the time I understood the situation the part of me that will remain unmentioned was under attack…………..in a big way. I knew that I had to make a major change…………. soon.

I was there to do a job even when I was under attack. As soon as I did it I ran to my truck but the attack had become very personal by this time. There was no time to lose, my pants simply had to go. I tried to run to my truck. My truck unfortunately was parked in front of the house in a very busy neighborhood. If there had been just a few less ants I might have been able to avoid my dance and make it to the cab of the truck where I could remove my pants discreetly but the attack had grown more vicious and more intense. I had run out of time before I could get to the truck.

My dance was more of a partial strip tease than an actual dance. I did not waste time doing any of my actions in tempo or even rhythmically. What I did was to unbuckle my belt, unsnap and unzip my pants in a matter of seconds. In another second my pants were off and I was beating them against a tree with the fervor of someone at the edge of panic. As I was beating my pants I was jumping up and down (somewhat like my dad did all those years ago) and crying aiiieee over and over again. Crying aiiee was a strange since I didn’t know what aiiee meant and had never even heard that sound before. At risk of seeming immodest I can say that my dancing may not have been much but I sure could scream aiiee really well.

When I finally settled down enough to think clearly I examined my pants for any stragglers, finding none I put them back on gathering what was left of my pride (though there wasn’t much left). As I did so I distinctly could hear sounds of laughter from more than one direction. I looked back at the Ant colony and thought ANTS THIS MEANS WAR!