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Friday, July 5, 2013

The Great American Sport: Fly Swatting

I like crossword puzzles. I think I started as a way of beefing up my vocabulary and word list. Many of the puzzles use the clue, "A pest that shows up at a picnic." It's a three letter word and 99.99% of the time the answer is ant. I think fly should be added as an answer. What is more annoying than a fly buzzing around and landing on your sandwich right before you take a bite? Nothing, except two or three flies buzzing you.

With summer here, flies are in abundance. No matter how fast you open and close the door at least one gets in. Pretty soon his entire family has joined him. They come in, eat your food, crawl all over your counters then have the nerve to drop dead in the middle of your potato salad. I hate flies.

So I went Fly Hunting yesterday.  That's right, Fly Hunting, not Fly Fishing.  The equipment for Fly Hunting is much more affordable.  Fly Fishing requires rods with reels, fishing line, lures and heaven only knows what else.  Fly Hunting on the other hand only requires a good eye, steady hand and a fly swatter. Granted not all fly swatters are cheap. Back in the eighty's when I lived in San Francisco I went to Neiman Marcus to shop. I'd been looking at their catalog for years. The only item in the store I could afford without a loan was a yellow butterfly shaped fly swatter. I bought it just so I could tell my mother I had bought something there.

There are other ways to kill flies other than a flap of plastic on the end of a handle.  There is fly paper that I assume has a chemical on it to attract the flies.  When the unsuspecting fly lands on it to partake in the bounty, they can't leave because they are stuck. Spiders make good fly catchers. Their webs act like the fly paper by catching flies in their sticky webs.  The spider can wrap the fly for a tasty treat later. There are fancy fly catchers like hand held fly vacuums. My daughter uses our in-house vacuum to suck up spiders. Spiders in our house tend to be the size of a small country. I wonder if we have a secret toxic dump site that mutates them?  My favorite is the fly zapper. It works with a florescent light to attract the flies, then when they get too close you hear this zapping noise and then silence until the next fly comes along. The morbid side of me likes hearing the zap and sizzle.

There are times when a fly swatter isn't available and you have to depend on your own devices. One summer at camp another counselor showed me how to swat a fly with only my hand. Years later the talent resurfaced as I sat with a group of friends. One minute we are sitting there talking as a fly buzzed around us. When it finally landed everyone stared at me as my hand shot out and squashed it from behind. I didn't even realize what I did until everyone went, "Yuck!" with their eyes wide open. Now days I use and old fashioned fly swatter that I picked up from the dollar store or a piece of rolled-up newspaper. They work just fine.

Until next time, don't become a human fly vacuum. Sleep with your mouth closed.

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