Not to repeat myself but ants truly are unique. Each ant has a specific job to do and each one does it. As far as I can tell each ant does their job as best as they can do it, never arguing with other ants, never complaining always doing their job.
Well most of the time they don’t complain although I remember one time after I had drunk 6 straight large Mochas I had just taken the top off an ant colony to apply chemical warfare. I was watching all of the ants hurrying and scurrying about. I saw the ant EMTs and ant law enforcement checking for external danger. I saw the ant engineers and architects assessing the damage. I saw the ant carpenters and road crews already moving earth about to repair the damage. I saw the preschool teachers/hospital workers moving ant eggs about and then I also saw one lone ant whom I assume was trying to talk on his cell phone but was in dead zone.
I got down on my hands and knees and snuck up on the ant which wasn’t that easy seein as how shaky I was from all those mochas. Just as I was about to squeeze him I heard him say or at least I think that I heard him say to no one in particular “Just when I didn’t think my day could get any worse a big monster has to show up to murder me, what else can happen to me today?” I looked around and didn’t see any other ant or anyone else (he had to be on a cell phone, what else could it be?). Of course by this time my eyes were having difficulty focusing as there seemed to be something wrong with my vertical hold. It was all I could do to hang on to my 7th mocha but I digress.
For those who are not familiar with fire ants the best way to describe them is just as in the insect world where gnats are the air force, ants are the army, and fire ants are the commandos/ green berets all wrapped up in one. They are the best organized, best lead most disciplined army in the insect and animal kingdom. If they were human size they would be a formidable opponent of any military, especially since they have chemical weapons and are not afraid to use them.
When I first arrived in Georgia people kept asking me if I had been around fire ants yet. I figured that it had to be some sort of trick question. To be fair over the years I have had a fair number of these questions asked and a fair number of tricks played on me for whatever reason. To list just a few: I have been on snipe hunts (late at night), jackalope trapping (they had to be real I saw a sort of rabbit head with antlers on two or three of my friends’ walls) and grunion fishin which surprisingly enough turned out to be real but for the most part is just an excuse for drunks to roll around on a beach after midnight giggling like crazy. In addition I have been given a really hot pepper and told that it was a pickle, given anchovy juice and told it was lemon lime soda so after a lot of gullible moments I take great pride in being very cautious. I was even more suspicious of the so called “Fire ants” when I considered that Georgia seems to has a great fondness for red food coloring. It can be found in red velvet cake, hot dogs and pickled pigs feet. For me it made sense that fire ants had to be like red ants. They had to be a joke. I was to find out how terribly unfunny fire ants could be.
One of the last times I was asked by one of three old fellas if I had met any fire ants I said, “No but I just bought some red hot candy.” The man that asked me turned to the other two and asked “What did he just say? I swear if I didn’t know any better I’d say that boy’s a Yankee.” The third old guy pointed a finger at me and said, “Boy when you meet them fire ants you aint never gonna forget em. You be careful of em or you just might not be able sit for a very long time. Once again everyone laughed. I had become just more than a little annoyed at being laughed at. Looking back I realize now that these good ol boys were making fun of me and warning me at the same time. I wish that I had taken their warning seriously.
To this day I am still not sure if my buddy from childhood, my best man who I thought so highly of, to the man who convinced me to move my world to Georgia set me up for what was to be one of THE MOST PAINFUL EXPERIENCE of my life or if he just assumed that I had already met fire ants before I came to his house for a barbecue.
It was 4 months since we had moved to Georgia, a typical October Saturday. It was not terribly warm only in the mid-80s so was a perfect day for a barbecue. I was old even back then. When 2 old boys get together they tell stories (kinda like this). Most of them began with “Do you remember” and then you make up the rest. Of course we always said, “Oh ya that was a great memory but do you remember ………….” and then it was another turn at lyin but it was and is great fun. To be truthful I think I might have lied a lot more than he did that day but it’s impossible for me to know since I remember very little of what he remembers.
A brief caveat here: Some guys get together and open adult beverages to help with the ambiance. As I think about it I wish that I had as it would have helped ease what I was to experience shortly after this story began.
End Of Part 1 Next Part II Fire Ants This is Not a Drill.