Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Birds and the Bees: Or, in this case, only the bees

I know adults who are full on terrified of bees. I'm talking a "Run around the backyard, screaming like a toddler, throwing their own children at the insect in order to protect themselves" kind of terrified. And I get it. Sometimes it's legit. My brother's allergic to bees and one time, at Sea World, one of them flew up under his sunglasses and stung his face while we were all on a ride. Dude looked like Jabba the Hutt for a week.

He was all kinds of swollen, is what I'm saying. But when you're not allergic to bees and you run around howling like a crazy person or throw other people in front of you to be the sacrificial stinging victim, it's a bit ridiculous.

I've been stung more times than I can remember, let alone count. And, yes, it hurts. It does. I'm not gonna pretend that a bee sting feels like getting licked by a puppy. But, really, we ought to be feeling more sorry for the bee. "I'm feeling threatened. I know! I'll use my defense mechanism. I'll sting this unsuspecting (or in some cases highly suspecting as he was just prancing around the yard like a buffoon batting me away with his fist) individual to protect myself since he is, well, 500 times bigger than me. And then I'll DIE."

Most bees are just buzzing around, trying to make an honest living. Collecting pollen. Being half of the dynamic duo better known as The Birds and the Bees. Most of them just want to be left alone.

They don't need you flapping your arms defensively at them. In fact, a bee once explained to me that they are actually more likely to sting you in such a case. Go figure.

They don't need you sacrificing your firstborn. Or your husband. Or a total stranger. So stop throwing other people in front of them. Or hiding behind someone else. It's only necessary if you're carrying Epinephrine and would have to spend a significant portion of your life looking like a cross between a toad and the Cheshire Cat*.

For the record, my brother, who is allergic to bees, doesn't throw other people in front of him when he sees one. I'm glad. Because I love my future, as of yet unborn, neices and/or nephews. I don't want them being thrown at the bees. And I've heard that human beings being chucked in their general direction actually does make them feel threatened. Go figure.

My children are afraid of bees. But they're five and three and are also afraid of thunder and the fact that gremlins might live in our closets. Matthew calls them butterflies and runs screaming whenever he sees one. "Ahhh! It's a butterfly! Help! Help me, Mommy! Save me from the scary butterfly!" His fear is not based in any sense of reality because he's never been stung. I don't even know that he's ever had it explained to him that bees are capable of stinging.

Garrett has been stung three times. I think. And he's a total drama llama like his mama so his bee stings have been akin to being told he's dying and has one day to live. He is receiving this news while simultaneously being eaten alive by army ants, struck by lightning, and force fed mashed potatoes.

But again. He's five. He's never once actually died from a bee sting and, despite a bit of swelling, does not have to carry around an Epipen. Still, he's starting to become a rational human being and now, when he sees a bee, he just calmly turns on his heels and walks back into the house.

So let's stop giving the bees such a hard time. They're just trying to carry pollen from one place to another. They really do like to mind their own business. And, unless they're a swarm of hundreds, they can really do very little damage.

But don't even get me started on wasps. Wasps are demonic and must be killed.

*That is how Roger Ebert once described Jabba the Hutt.

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