Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Zen and the Art of Wasping

When I was young and foolish, I used to kill wasps with my bare hands, and when we lived in Cyprus, Hornets too. My technique was creap up behind them and clap my hands real fast stunning them. Then I'd belt the living shit out of them with a newspaper. But I got stung once, and it was not while trying to kill one, this made me very wary of the little buggers from then on. We've had a few wasps plagueing us recently which reminded me of this weeks story......................
I was foreman of a landscape gardening company and we were building paths, roads and steps at Winkworth Arboretum near Guildford. A young lad of sixteen called Andy was working in my team and I had him scything grass. He was stripped to the waist slashing away at the long graas when we heard him scream and start running, arms flailing all around his head and body. He'd scythed through a wasps nest hidden in the grass. WE caught up with him a dragged him to my landrover and covered each sting with white bite cream from the medical box I carried. Well that and him catching the sun made him look like Mr Blobby. White spots on pink skin. During dinner he sat and sulked and after a while he wandered off by himself. Steve spotted him ten minutes later half way up the hill marching toward the wasps nest carrying a small can.
I shouted up the hill to him "What are you doing Andy."
"I gonna burn the buggers."
"What with?"
"Diesel."
"NO!!!! Don't do it." Too late he poured the diesel onto the nest and tried to set fire to it. Nothing happened except he'd pissed off the wasps again and again he was running down the hill arms flailing.
More white cream later and I tell Andy to leave them alone. But he was really sulky by now. He never said a word, just sat there, contemplating revenge. He gets up.
"Where are you going?"
"No where."
"You leave them wasps alone. You hear me? Leave it." I said in my sternest foreman voice.
"I'm just gonna take a leak. Alright?" he said and disappeared round the back of the hut, we carried on chatting in the sunlight, enjoying our dinner break.
A few minutes later we spot him again standing by the wasp nest. This time with a spade in his hand. Instinct told me exactly what he was going to do. I got up and ran towards him screaming "NO DON'T DO IT."
But he was already swinging the spade high above his head. "NO ANDY NO!" Down came the spade. SPLATT right on the wasps nest. It didn't kill the wasps, the nest was made of paper so it absorbed the shock and just split open. This time not tens of wasps came out, but thousands. All with a serious attitude problem.
I stopped running towards him when I saw the cliud of wasps rise as one and did a u turn and ran as fast as I could back down the hill. As I got to the others they started running as well. Meanwhile Andy was screaming and running down the hill. The wasps fro a third time hot on his trail. This time they didn't give up the chase. In desperation he hurled himself headfirst into the lake at the bottom of the hill. WE watched from the other side. He didn't come up. The cloud of wasps were hovering over the point of entry. Buzzing around angrily. Shit! he hasn't come up. I'm dreading the idea of diving in after him. Suddenly something black and slimey appears yards away amongst the reeds. It had a head and arms. It was vaguely human but........ Andy crawled out from the lake, thick black clinging stinking mud all over him. He'd stirred up enough Methane to light a small town for the night. The wasps didn't like it and flew off. He staggered towards us "Don't say a word. Don't say one fucking word. Alright?"
As foreman I knew the word had to be said "TWATT!!!"

Next week I might tell you about Andy and the Dump truck, or maybe Niel Innes (ex bonzo dog doo dah band)and the Ministry of Agriculture or maybe Dennis the queer hairdresser at the YMCA. I haven't decided yet. If you have a preference I might take note or I might ingore it, whatever. I don't like being told what to do ALRIGHT? or as my dear old mum used to say "Those that ask don't get, and those that don't ask don't want." I never figured that one out. I tried getting my brother and sister to ask for me, but she had and answer for that as well "He's got a tongue in his head hasn't he?" The moral of this lesson is. You can always get what you want by bribery and corruption, dishonesty and deviousness. I thank my parents for teaching me the finest ways of the world. Even if my interpretation is not quite what they meant.

Sock it to them Dudes.

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