Monkey is afraid of bees. Really, really afraid. I’d go so far as to call it a phobia. So I looked up fear of bees and discovered that it’s called either Apiphobia or Melissophobia. Who comes up with this stuff? Apiphobia sounds believable, but if you tell someone you have Melissophobia they’re going to ask you why the heck you’re afraid of people named Melissa.
Furthermore, if the fear of bees is called Melissophobia then WHAT pray tell IS the fear of people named Melissa called? Beeophobia?
Silly scientific community.
Anyway, it’s hard to get Monkey outdoors in the summer. This is mostly because of his love affair with screens, but the Apiphobia definitely contributes.
The other day Kory came home from one of his strange shopping rambles and said, “I found something that might help our son go outside.”
I expected an insect-repelling bracelet or something. We’ve tried them in the past. But he held up an electricity-charged tennis racket, a bug zapper. Of course, my first question was, “What will it do to people?” I wasn’t born yesterday. Monkey has a little brother who is at times quite vexing. I could see the temptation becoming more than a big brother can bear.
Anyway, Kory assured me it was mostly harmless to humans.
So the other day we planned to take the dog to a nearby field for some exercise. Monkey raised his usual objections (bees!), but Kory pulled out the bug zapper. Thus armed, our less-than-intrepid 11-year-old stepped out into the wilderness of suburbia.
As you might guess, having the bug zapper prompted Monkey to search out bugs for annihilation. But it’s spring in Colorado. We’ve had approximately two and a half warm days. There weren’t a lot of bugs roaming the sidewalks. And turns out it’s hard to angle the electrified racket to zap a tiny ant.
We trudged out of our neighborhood and into the grass and packed dirt of the nearby field. Monkey kept his eyes on the ground, searching for victims. And then, a big black beetle ambled across the path.
Monkey froze, zeroing in on the bug. He yelled for his brother to come. They hovered over their target, exited, blood-thirsty.
You see, the beetle was exactly like the one who viciously killed Monkey’s roley poley last October while we were out for a walk. They resurrected the travesty of the roley poley’s demise and pinned it on this beetle representative.
Things went a little Lord of the Flies. Shouts of “The roley poley shall be avenged!” rang out. The racket was raised. Chunky had found a trident-like stick which he waved in the air in support of his brother’s campaign.
I thought, this is a good time to teach them about appreciating nature, the sanctity of life, the fact that vengeance belongs to the Lord.
Then I walked away. I can’t justify it. I just did.
Whoops, hollers, and the distinct zip of electricity followed. I cringed as they shouted, “We are avenged!”
I joined Kory up on top of the hill, ready to lay the blame for our vicious children on his Y chromosome contribution. I found him scooping up another black beetle from the path. He tossed it into the weeds, saving it from the oncoming monsters.
The boys joined us, pink-cheeked and triumphant. Monkey held up the racket. “It works, Dad!”
Then he handed his weapon, his defense against bees, his “safety net” to me and ran off to play with the dog.