When I was young I had an agreement with the bees. They would sting me and I would scream, cry and run around in circles as if someone had just dropped a hot rock down my back and I was trying to get away from it, all the while holding onto the stung body part. I know the deal sounds one-sided, but bees are tough negotiators. There was a period of about ten years when I was stung at least once every year by a bee or wasp. (Wasps fill in for bees when they’re on vacation or have to take a sick day and someone needs stung.) Once, I was walking with a friend through a street carnival where there were about five hundred people milling around, when a bee suddenly buzzed by us. “I bet I get stung by that bee before the day is over,” I said. My friend laughed, but within an hour I was running around in circles holding my hand. If I had been in Las Vegas and made a bet that the bee would sting me, at five hundred to one odds, I would have collected a huge sum of money. Or my friend would have. I would have been busy doing circles.
For a time I thought my granddaughter would take over the family tradition. One time we were up north fishing when she got stung by a bee. She started screaming and carrying on, crying and running around in circles hold onto her hand. She had such a fit I checked to see if the bee had been carrying a miniature chainsaw and cut off one of her body parts. After a while, to calm her down, I said in my most sympathetic grandfather voice, “Suck it up, Buttercup.” I know that sounds cold and callous since I did the same thing when I was young, but the difference is back then bee stings really hurt. Today’s bee stings have lost some of their potency, and they don’t hurt as much. I blame global warming.
I don’t know why the bees were after me. I’ve never pestered them or thrown rocks at their hives, and I don’t even like honey, but my wife does. My wife LOVES honey. She eats it every chance she can… But this all happened years before I ever met my wife, so I can’t see any reason how it could be her fault, but give me some time and I’ll figure out a way.
I haven’t been stung by a bee or wasp in decades now. I think they sold my contract to the flies, because flies bother me constantly now. I’ll be in a boat with a group of people fishing, and the biting flies will be on my legs like my brother at all-you-can-eat rib night at the Sizzler. Everyone else will be relaxed and having a good time while I’m slapping my legs like they were Bongo drums. If I’m at a picnic, a black swarm of flies hover over my head like a cloud waiting patiently for their turn to crawl in my ears and up my nose. Of course nobody else is having a problem.
I thought for a while that maybe there was something wrong in my head, and the flies were just imaginary like the pink bunnies and Miley Cyrus. My wife assures me the flies are real. I told her it was probably because flies, like bees, are attracted to sweet things. She pointed out that bees do not sting honey or flowers, and flies are also attracted to manure and rotting dead things, and maybe if I were to shower more frequently…