Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Thing I'm Most Afraid of in the Whole World: the Fly Swatter

Yes, you read that right. "How," you ask, "can someone be deathly afraid of a 97-cent implement found at Wal-Mart (or your nearest dollar store)?" I will tell you: you've never seen it wielded in the hands of my mother. In fact, I'm not terribly sure why it isn't called "the kid-swatter." Hmm, maybe my mom did call it that. I'll have to ask her when I talk to her later. Or my therapist. I'll decide when I'm finished.

Did you know here in the South parents can MacGyver anything into an instrument of torture suitable for punishing? Some of my friends got belts, others got razor straps. Me? I got the flipping 97-cent plastic fly swatter. I think I should have at least had the option of picking my own tree branch out of yard. I'm no dummy--I would have totally gone for the tiny twig attached to the end of a leaf or something. Or maybe I would do what I did with my 9th grade bug collection, in which I fashioned one of the bugs out of a lint ball, legs off a dead bug I found under the porch, and a couple of my strands of hair as antennae for good measure. I could just attach string or part of a toothpick to the lint ball, and presto! Yeah, I've learned to MacGyver a few things myself over the years. Heh, heh, heh. By the way, I made an A on my bug collection.

But back to the fly swatter and why I'm so afraid of it. I'll admit, I was a little cheeky growing up, but I was only regurgitating what I learned from the adults, so you really have to blame them. I'm so glad my mom doesn't have the Internet and can't read this. Anyway, my mom  had a bit of a short fuse, and when I was really on fire, it didn't take too long for her to get from zero to pissed. And that is when I would see her round the corner into the kitchen, and I knew where she was headed. And I knew that was my cue to get the heck out of Dodge.

My mom may have had a short fuse, but she also had lightning-quick reflexes. I would do my best to dodge the obstacle course that was our living room, but my mom could be to the swatter rack and grabbing my ponytail before I knew it. Then, all hell would break loose.

You would think that an instrument that consists of a 4x4"plastic square attached to a wire or plastic handle wouldn't do much damage. Again, you haven't seen my mom wield one. Let me tell you about it. Those things can leave a red mark on the affected area. If wielded just right, your butt will be on fire for days. If the Armageddon ever occurs, my mom is totally in charge of hunting dinner. I'm pretty sure she could kill us a wild boar to make ham sandwiches or bacon, just with the simple flick of the wrist and the fly swatter.

Speaking of that, that's the biggest reason I'm afraid of the fly swatter. While my mom is quite handy with such a cheap instrument, she also has a look that goes with it. I kind of equate it to when a football player hurls a Hail Mary pass 90 yards down the field, or some Olympic runner jumps two miles worth of hurdles. Or me when I'm playing Mario Kart. I'm pretty sure my mom is a human dragon, because when she got the fly swatter, her nostrils would flare, and her face would scrunch up like she was about to breathe fire. And then I saw stars. Maybe she actually did breathe fire and I just didn't realize it because of the birdies circling my head. I feel like there had to be a RAWR somewhere in there, also, but I really don't know because I think I've repressed that memory. Hopefully, I didn't invite trouble, and now I'm going to dream about fly swatters all night. That would totally wreck my day tomorrow.

My mom became so good with the a fly swatter that, as I got older and became even more cheeky, all she had to do was back herself around the corner, and I ran because I knew what was coming. Sometimes, I think she pretended to go get the fly swatter just because she was bored and my reaction was amusing to her.

But there is an upside to all this: you have before you the fine, upstanding citizen I am today--as long as you consider people who have more than two-dozen speeding tickets upstanding, but that's another story for another time. One thing I am very grateful for is that they didn't have those tennis rackets that you use to shock the bug to death back then--because I'd really be screwed, and would probably have a waffle imprint-scar on my rear-end. All-in-all, I've recovered quite well. I'd better wrap this up, because I've got a therapy appointment in 45 minutes.

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