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Friday, July 12, 2013

Mosquitoes, ticks, and Noah

I was chatting with a couple co-workers today about the wonders and joys of Summer.

We extolled the beauty of the flowers, the sensation of an old-fashioned hand packed ice-cream cone, the raw power of a good thunderstorm, and the feeling of contentment felt on a soft summer night watching lightning bugs illuminate the yard.
After a brief lull, the conversation turned to those less-than appreciated Summer time things.

Hair frizzing humidity (for those who have hair, that is), omnipresent background air conditioner hums, grilling one's derriere on a leather car seat (having forgotten to put the sun-shade up), and bugs. Not cute, charming bugs like lightning bugs, or lady bugs, or even praying mantis'. We were not referring to those sometimes annoying, yet useful bugs like bees and spiders. Heck, even flies, as disgusting as they are, have a reason for existing. Not a great reason; but a reason never the less.
We were talking about gross, disgusting, what-is-their-purpose-for-being bugs. You know the culprits: mosquitoes, ticks, and gnats. Here along the Great Lakes we also have a charming little entomological member called a number of names. I will only relate the ones which can be printed in a family blog: mayfly, midges, and Canadian soldiers. There are many, many more colorful, fitting names affixed to these harmless pests, which shall go unwritten. EVERY freaking Spring, as the temperatures rise, the frozen soil along the lake shore, banks of rivers and streams begins to warm This serves as the Annual Wake Up Call for the little things. After stretching, looking about with a “where am I?” expression on their little faces, the midge/mayfly/Canadian soldier, feels the warmth of the sun upon the soil above.

Curiosity piqued by this strange (to them) occurrence, they begin to wriggle their way upward. Finally, one bursts forth into glorious sunshine! Having received these glad tidings of good news, the assembled masses determines the thing to do is also partake of the day. What began as only a couple adventurous souls checking out a brave new world has become a flipping swarm of insects! They are about the size of a mosquito, light brown in color, and they are E-V-E-R-Y where. On the doors and windows of buildings. On the doors and windows of vehicles. On sidewalks, on tables, chairs, walls. They fly up your nose, in your ears, and eyes. It is as though the miserable little buggers were re-enacting a Biblical plague! Fortunately, they do not sting or bite. In fact, they don't have a mouth. They only live 24-36 hours, and their only reason to exist is to mate, so the female can lay eggs in the soft earth which will in turn hatch. In essence, they were born to par-tay! Only, without expensive candle light dinners and Barry White singing in the background.

But, hey, they go into this fully knowing there is no long term commitment. In fact, there is no long term anything. But... to a Steelhead Trout, or a Coho Salmon, a yellow-perch, and myriads of pan-fish; they are a moveable feast. Consensus was the lowly midge/ mayfly/Canadian soldier does serve a noble, if overlooked, purpose.
The topic of ticks and mosquitoes then came up. After much debate, and finding only the beneficial contribution of feeding some fish, birds and bats, mosquitoes are pretty much worthless. In fact, their BAD contributions far out-weigh their GOOD contributions.

As far as ticks were concerned, no discernible positive virtue could be found
Which, in turn, posed another, far more weighty question:
Why didn't Noah “forget” to pick up ticks and mosquitoes?
I know he was being obedient to God, and following the whole “two of each kind of creature” instruction... but come on. Mosquitoes? Ticks?
Of course, it may have been a bit dicey for the old boy ( he was 600 hundred years old by the time the rain came) when God showed up for inventory. Can you imagine??
Early in the trip, skies darkened by clouds, rain (which no one had ever seen before)falling in sheets, springs bursting forth from the earth, the ship is tossing, and.. rolling, ...and.... tossing......and..... excuse me a minute.
Ahh... much better now.

Noah, Mrs. Noah, his sons and daughters-in-law sit staring at one another, wondering who is going to be the first one to suggest cleaning out the lower decks.

Suddenly, a brilliant flash of light, a roar like many water-falls, and God has arrived on board. Hey, He is God, so He doesn't have to request permission to come aboard.

“Noah! So, how goes it? The cruise been pretty good so far?”
“Yes, Lord. So far so good.”
“Wonderful! Well, let's take inventory, shall we?”
“Of course, to see that all my creatures are accounted for.”
“OH.. that inventory. Umm... You want to do that now?”
“Of course. No time like the present, I always say! Haaa.. that is funny! I transcend Time, so there is no time constraint upon me! Haaa... well, shall we?”

And the Almighty leads Noah below decks.
“Ahh, yes. Giraffes, elephants, sheep, dogs, cats. Wonderful. Oh! Here they are! My most puzzling conundrum; the duck-billed platypus! I can't wait to see how scientists try to explain this one! HAAA!"

"Good, garter snakes, Gila lizards, yes, even a Mombasa... very well done. Okay, lets take a look at the birds."
Noah is beginning to squirm a bit, as he knows what is coming next.
“Perfect.. eagles, sparrows, robins, ducks, geese, gulls, parrots, cockatoos... very well done, my boy. Time for the creepy crawlies. Yes, yes, grasshoppers, moths, butterflies, midges, spiders. Very impressive. Even termites...well, well.”
“Thank you, Lord.” Noah mumbles as he tries to stand between God and a couple of unoccupied berths.
“Very well done lad, very well done. I see you have ample supplies of food, bedding, tools for cleaning up. Sorry about that part, but it can't be avoided. Well, I suppose I will be moving on to check out some more of my creation. I have this little red planet... I just know future humans will say little green men come from there. HEEE!”

“Well, stop by again Lord. You are always welcome. We don't get many visitors, you know.”
The Lord begins to walk toward the exit, when suddenly, He stops. Turning quickly, He says.

“Wait. Where are the mosquitoes and ticks?”
“Mos-mos-mosquitoes and t-ti-ticks? I don't-ahhh-recall seeing those on the manifest, Lord.”
Reaching into the pocket of His robe, God pulls a large sheet of parchment out.
“Certainly they are on here. You don't think I would have overlooked them, do you? See, right here; 'mosquitoes- 2-1 male, 1 female' and down here... tiger, timber rattler, turtles.. AH.. here it is! 'Ticks-2-1male, 1female'. I don't see them anywhere. Any idea of their whereabouts Noah?”
“I uh... I.. well... see... my son Shem was in charge of bugs. You know how kids of 120 can be. Totally irresponsible! I will talk with him, make sure he knows the next time You flood the Earth he has to get ALL the bugs, not just the ones he likes. I'll take care of it. Don't worry.”
“What are you saying, Noah? Are you telling me there are NO mosquitoes?”
“Well.. I don't think I would say “no” mos-mos-mosquitoes. I would say.... Yes! We have no mosquitoes! We have no mosquitoes today.”
Well.. as you can imagine, the conversation would have gone down hill from there. And.. when God figured out the ticks were missing as well! Let's just say it would not have been pretty.
So, to preserve his own hide, Noah has sacrificed the hides of every man, woman, and child, dog, cat, horse, bear,... just about every warm blooded creature upon this planet from the time the ark ran aground until the end of time as we know it.

And, that is why we have ticks and mosquitoes to this day.
Someone pass the Deep-woods Off, please.

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