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Swimsuits, Back Yard Parties and Chemical Weapons

by Dear Jon
July 7, 2009

Dear Jon is as green as the next guy. I drive fuel-efficient or flex-fuel vehicles. If the overnight air promises to be cool I shut down the AC and open a window. I have a rain barrel. I have a recycle bin.

But I draw the line in my four year-old's sand box. A man's back yard is his fief, and no matter what PETA or pita or anyone else has to say about it, I will not be over-run and chased out of my own yard by mosquitoes. I will not buy sand for my little girl's turtle-shaped sand-box, only to have it unused all summer. I will not fill her wading pool with water, and take precautions to cover it to prevent mosquito-larvae from nesting within, only to have the adult parasites chewing her alive.

I am a firm believer in Deep-Woods OFF, but these suckers fly right through it. Now I am not defaming anyone. My problem is not with the OFF company, of which, as stated, I am an enthusiastic consumer; please, do not sue me.  What I am saying is that these mosquitos will find whatever square milimeter I might have missed on my body, and start in on the feast. They bite through shirts.

We all know as well that mosquitoes are agents of biological warfare. They carry West Nile Virus. They carry encephalitis--a disease the spelling of which I refuse to look up. They carry malaria--maybe not so much up here on the outskirts of Chicagoland, but malaria is a global mosquito-borne killer. The way I see it, if a virus can travel from the West Nile all the way to Chicagoland, what prevents malaria from making the trek from South Carolina?

So early this season my wife thought, as women are prone to think: "Our priorities are green. Now we have a mosquito problem. Therefore we shall solve it organically." This is perfectly logical.

She bought a citronella repellant from some Hippie-Freak Eco-Goddess-Worship Pinko Knee-jerk Save the White House Flies Obama Voting manufacturer whose name shall not appear here, and spread it, in good faith, all over the yard. She then gave it a second treatment several weeks later according to the directions.

Meanwhile we sprayed the Deep Woods Off all over our bodies. And on any given June day, my daughter's avereage time in the swimming pool was 96 seconds before saying, with great patience, "I want to go in now" as four new welts appeared on her fore-arm and elbow. The sand-box remained completely untouched. I would go out with my mulching lawn-mower, sprayed head to toe, and get chewed alive.

So as the Fourth of July came and went, I sat down with my wife and suggested that a more "macho" approach to the peril of mosquitoes needed to be adopted. Inspired by the patriotic tone of the week-end I asked myself WWJWD, "What Would John Wayne Do?"

The answer, of course, was to head down to a home-improvement and hardware store and purchase chemical weapons. Forget "green" and "organic." The whole problem with mosquitoes is that they LIKE organs so much they eat them. No more PETA-friendly "deterrent" strategies with ineffective repellants; we were declaring war and going on the offensive. And we did. The bottle of death I bought, all of it composed of manufactured chemical ingredients probably imported from North Korea, was supposed to cover 16 thousand square feet. Our little yard is four thousand square feet. In one treatment  I used half the bottle. You do the math.

Four hours later I went outside. No mosquitoes hopped out of the grass or dived in from the trees to greet me. None. I sat on the porch-swing and read a novel. Nothing. Only at dusk did a few mosquitoes head over from next door to check us out. No more were they collected together in swirling clouds above our grass.

Life is good. I love July. I love my home. I love America. We plan to have people over later this week for a back-yard picnic barbeque.

Meat will be served.



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