Shoo, fly

My lovely bride — who is as strong as they come and smarter than she realizes — and I have a joke in our house. Whenever there is an insect she asks me to handle the situation.

We all have things we don’t want to do, so this is fine. I say, make sure people you spend your time with have complimentary tastes and services. Not everyone should be scared of, say, clowns, to the point of immobility. Someone present should be able to handle the situation.

But that’s not really what this is. She lets me address the insect and that lets me let the critter outside, or meet it’s untimely fate, and then we make a joke about how I saved her life. From the millipede, or whatever we are dealing with.

Well, today was no millipede. And after I’d returned from a long and fruitful day at the office we were chatting as people do and in the middle of the conversation she says, “Oh, I need a very thin piece of cardboard.” I produce something from the recycling stack in the garage and ask her why. “I trapped the world’s largest house fly under a plastic bowl and you need to slide the cardboard under it to carry it outside.”

OK, not a problem. Paperboard, bowl, we’ve all been there. The flooring that the insect was on was dark, so I couldn’t see it properly until I got outside to notice we had trapped and were releasing a female Tabanus atratus.

Look at that scissoring mouth! And why are we finding horseflies indoors?

She flew off to do horsefly things. We sat outside, for some reason, and I was thinking about how they use their six piercing mouth parts and — this part is unnecessarily gross, apologies — the sponge-like labrum used to lap up blood.

Horseflies don’t often bite people. But you don’t want to be bitten by a horsefly.

Back to my evening reading selection. I’m about to wrap this up.

It’s been a fine read. Again, it’s like an in-depth Wikipedia entry on a given subject from the period. Most of the chapters are about 20-something pages. It’s a great overview. And I have found things in Lord’s book that will prompt me to look for more thorough accounts, but other subjects I’ve read the 20 or 30 pages and felt like I had enough for now.

What was fun this evening was reading a bit about this particular moment in the American culture … through the lens of a 1960s writer.

Riding bikes! Swimming! Smoking! Pants! You knew how that had evolved, but it’s a treat to see little anecdotes like that which help to spell out how it could be liberating and befuddling. It all really stands out, 110 years-and-more later, of course, but just imagine being in the moment. Or consider that the next time something is different compared to the things to which you’ve long been accustomed. Makes you wonder what the social mores will be like in another five generations.

Comments are closed.