I don’t like mosquitoes, and I don’t know anyone who does. If I make it to heaven, the first question I’m going to ask is, “Why mosquitoes? Why!?!”
As much as I do not understand their incredibly annoying existence here on earth, I must at least smile at God’s sense of humor about them. He gave the world mosquitoes, which as near as I can tell, serve no good purpose, and then to combat them, He gave us bats.
Rabies-infested flying rodents are the fix for the annoying biting insects. That’s a good one. Maybe, like Richard Simmons workout videos, the mosquito-bat relationship is meant to be a tiny glimpse into what hell is like, in order to make us straighten up and fly right.
I say I don’t like mosquitoes, but that is not entirely accurate. I hate them. That is more accurate. My strong feelings for them no doubt stem from their collective love of me. I am a mosquito magnet. If you are curious how many mosquitoes are in your backyard, just invite me over. I will stand still and you can count them all.
This time of year is when I really ratchet up my hate for mosquitoes to more of a loathing. That’s because I am a duck hunter, and ducks live in the same places as 90% of the world’s mosquitoes. My friend and duck hunting partner, Heath, does not get bitten by mosquitoes. This causes me to hate him a little this time of year, too. I have tried to figure out what I am doing wrong or what he is doing right, but as near as I can tell it comes down to body chemistry. There are two main differences that I can see between us. Heath is always about ten degrees hotter that everyone else, and he only pees once or twice a day. I am a normal temperature, and I pee about every fifteen minutes. That turned out to be the problem a few years ago. (The peeing, not the temperature.)
It was opening day in October, and we were tramping out through the marsh lands in our camouflage duck hunting overall waders. It was a particularly bad year for mosquitoes, and they were so thick that even Heath had sprayed himself head-to-toe with Off. I had so much mosquito repellant on my body, I was shiny. There were so many mosquitoes that if we tried to talk to each other we would get a mouthful. Have you ever had a mouthful of mosquitoes? I don’t recommend it.
Make no mistake, we weren’t doing the nice, friendly, camping-trip application of the bug spray, where you put a little on your hand, and gently rub it onto your cheeks and forehead, being careful not to get any in your eyes. No, we were just closing our eyes and spraying the can directly at our faces from six inches away. I was actually hoping to get some up my nose, just so the mosquitoes wouldn’t try to go there, either. Ever had DEET on your chapped lips? I don’t recommend that either.
I began the morning with two full cans of Deep Woods Off, and by the time we had hiked and slogged out to our hunting spot I was already starting the second can. I’m not even really sure what DEET is, but if it’s flammable, I had enough of it on me that morning to power a large jet engine. Our faces and hands were the only exposed skin, but we were spraying the Off all over our hats and shirtsleeves just to be safe. It was actually doing a really good job of preventing them from biting, but there were so many of them they were still crawling all over us and swarming near our heads. At one point I had a cloud of mosquitoes in front of my face so thick I couldn’t see through them. Once, when there were no ducks in sight, I actually fired a shotgun blast into one of the mosquito clouds, just to kill a few of them with the hot gasses. It’s the small victories in life that make it worthwhile.
It was an uncomfortable situation, to say the least, but it was manageable… until I had to pee.
The way I saw it, I had three options, and holding it, unfortunately, was not one of them. The 32-ounce Coke I had at 3:00 A.M. was not going to wait, and we were literally miles from the nearest indoor plumbing.
Option Number One: Pee in waders.
Considerations: Although camouflage duck hunting waders are made out of wetsuit material, peeing in your waders is decidedly NOT the same thing as peeing in your wetsuit. Peeing in your wetsuit makes you warm. Peeing in your waders just makes you wet and smelly and gross. (I am just making an educated guess here, since I have never been foolish enough to pee in my waders. I have peed in many a wetsuit, and that is delightful in the cold North Pacific Ocean.)
Option Number Two: Pull waders down and pee, as if everything is normal.
Considerations: Seven billion hungry mosquitoes, combined with their natural affinity for me, combined with the fact that we’re talking about the absolute least desirable area on my body to have mosquito bites.
So far, Options One and Two are tied for dead last, which brings us to…
Option Number Three: Stick can of Deep Woods Off down pants and prepare man parts for exposure to the horrendously mosquito-infested outdoors.
Decision: This is my only option, so… dammit!!!!! Yes.
Ever had DEET on your you-know-what?
I don’t recommend it.
I hate mosquitoes.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen
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