Fruit Flies and Butt Fangs

When I was a sophomore in college my roommate was 9 feet long, as thick as my thigh, and once-a-week he’d dine on live rats in front of an audience of hot fraternity guys. 

His name was Oscar.  Oscar was a Burmese Python.

I grew up in a hostel for reptilian refugees.  It was like a grass-roots herpetology school, populated by whatever we collected underneath the trampoline, woodpile, or running lawn mower (in which case my brother and I would breakout mom’s sewing basket and Band Aids and hope for the best.)

Back to Oscar…

Apparently, you’re not supposed to feed a Burmese Python in the same cage where it lives.


Oscar started mistaking my arm for a rat when I’d take him out for a snuggle, and we had to break up.  Happy ending, though - Oscar went to a local zoo and made babies.

Point being, I’m ok with reptiles – even large ones that bite and try to swallow your arm.

And rodents.  No problem.  Shortly after I learned to walk, I rescued a mouse from my mother when she tried to squash it with a broom while standing on the kitchen island.


Can’t do bugs.  Ew.  And no. 

[Except, I once held a Hissing Cockroach, but that was like petting a cat.  If it’s bigger than your hand, or furry, it’s not officially a bug.]

Despite my irrational fear of insects, I’m still, like, a yellow-belt Buddhist as evidenced by my catch-and-release program for the ones with the butt-fangs that invade my basement and bathrooms…

What’re they called?  Where’s Sofia?  (My 9-year-old would totally kick Bindi Irwin’s butt in a zoology-bee.)

Me (yelling while writing this): “Fi!  What do you call those bugs with the butt fangs?!”

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"Earwigs, Mom"



See, I knew she’d know

So I have this irrational fear of bugs, and for the most part I can accept them as an essential part of the animal kingdom – mostly because I have no say in it, and partly because they’re pretty easy to avoid - but fruit flies?  I hate those tiny assholes.

(Ooo! I just thought how tiny a fruit fly asshole must be.)

They have super-powers... like microscopic Navy Seals with invisibility cloaks. 

We have this functionally decorative basket in the corner of our kitchen (who doesn’t?) where we store produce that (I’m pretty sure) doesn’t need refrigeration.

During a seasonal fruit fly invasion, whenever I go to grab an onion or a banana, it’s like the opening ceremonies of a teensy drone air show…


Lift Off!

And after they’ve licked, and pooped upon, any exposed produce, they sneak-up on you and tickle an eyelash or cheek fuzz, causing your arms to flail at the air like a drunk fire hoses, then suddenly re-appear in front of one eye, totally short-circuiting what’s left of your shattered nervous system, and then… they disappear! 

[And I'm quite sure they spread some neurological virus that makes people write horrible run-on sentences.]

Maybe they get reabsorbed into the atmosphere?  Or perhaps they’re inter-dimensional beings?  Either way, it’s so creepy how they’re just NOT THERE anymore.

Once, during a fruit fly invasion, I opened a bottle of Pinot Noir, and forgot to put the cork back on before I went to bed…

The next evening I poured a glass from the same bottle and took a sip... sucking in tens of tiny drown corpses into my mouth.

I flew to the sink like a bat on fire and SSPPPPTTTT-ed them out.

Do I have something in my teeth?  Ew.

Fruit flies are much worsER than those obese black flies that invade your house in summer and have orgies in the trash bins, and give you flash backs of the face-eating-maggot scene in Poltergeist.  At least you can see and hear them coming, and swatting them feels a bit like self-defense.

Fruit Flies are the larvae of Beelzebub.  Though I firmly believe that fruit flies should be voted off Earth Island, in a weird way: 

I kind of enjoy being freaked-out by some of the bugs in my life.

I mean!  Those every-day, harmless fears are like the putting your arms up in the air on a roller coaster, but without the $60.00 admission charge to Six Flags.  You still get to have the roller-coaster feeling of running from a tiger, without the danger of one actually biting your armpit, and getting eaten and stuff.

I dunno… just having a moment of appreciation for the whole benign fear experience.  There’s all these people (including me) saying that the whole “fight or flight” thing is so dangerous for your health when it’s not being used for what it’s intended: running from preditors, survival, and the occasional battle over your mate... But  now that we’ve got all that stuff covered… why be not look at the bright side?

So, fruit flies and butt fangs.  That’s fun.