With polyhedral eye and shabby clothes,
To populate the stinking cat you walk
The promontory of the dead man’s nose,
Climb with the fine leg of a Duncan Phyfe
The smoking mountains of my food
And in a comic mood
In mid-air take to be a wife.
– The Fly by Karl Shapiro
The other day I sent a fly to its doom – or so I hope – I haven’t checked on its well-being. I trapped it between a window and the external screen in hopes that it would either starve to death or be fried by the sun beating through the screen.
In a contest between spiders and flies, I always root for the spider, which is why I view arachnids quite benevolently. They hate flies. We’re in accord.
I hate flies with a revulsion I don’t ascribe to any other creature on the planet. People are afraid of wasps and hornets and for good reason, they sting, and if you are allergic you can die from that sting. Of the wasp, Dylan Thomas asked, “Why?”
I find it much more frightening to be chased by a horsefly or deerfly than ever I would be if a wasp were in pursuit. The worst the wasp can do is sting me and then bugger off. The fly will relentlessly pursue and not allow one to escape. The bastard will follow you into your tent or car and when it bites it’ll take a chunk out of you. My Dad once said after having been so-bitten:
“Once it was finished it took a big enough chunk that it was on the ground wrapping it into a roast.”
So, I would pose Thomas’s question as pertaining to the fly. Why? They are filthy, they spread disease, they violate our food and water, and even if we die we don’t escape them. They spawn and infiltrate our bodies with their filthy maggots. In Africa scores of people are either killed or debilitated by the Tsetse. Cockroaches are charming when compared with flies.
Some good folks go nuts if there is a mosquito in the room at bedtime. Well, they can be irritating but since I’m rarely bitten, they don’t singularly bother me. I reserve that for having a fly in the room. To hear a buzzing at night will drive me to the realms of insanity. I cannot sleep if I am sharing such awful company. I have been known to knock over lamps and night tables in pursuit of the little bastard that’s tormenting me.
My problem there is they drive me insane with rage at their mere presence. That’s when I call upon Wendy to handle the matter. While I may flail with a swatter or rolled-up magazine, Wendy calmly pursues her quarry and she’s near to 100% successful in bringing the bugger’s horrible life to an abrupt end.
I weep no tears at the demise of a fly. I may be somewhat Buddhist about many creatures on the planet, including some that others might find offensive. I rarely kill anything – with the exception of flies.
Oh, and about them, what do flies find most desirable other than my hamburger at a barbecue, or the odd corpse they might find about the place. Yes, that’s right. A big pile of steaming shit. They’ll pay a call there just before they stroll on my burger.
Speaks volumes about them and maybe explains why there are no cute fly cartoon characters.