Thursday, October 17, 2013

Les Pismirables

This is getting ridiculous.

Every year, twice each year, I'm inundated by tiny ants.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a very clean person. In fact, I'm so clean it hurts. Why, the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has me listed under "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder" regarding my desire to keep my home spotless. Endust this, Windex that, haul the trash out (including my older cryptogram puzzle books,  a "How To Lap Valves On A 352 Ford Engine" book with pages 33-54 missing, and one cracked "Cleveland Rocks" Drew Carey soundtrack CD), and by golly the ol' homestead is looking sharp. Smell that cleanliness. Take in that magnificent view of the bookshelf and its DVDs, figurines, curios, and other objects of this old man's affection.

Look at that ant.

There's an ant traipsing glibly along a shelf I dusted not more than two and a half hours ago. I'm not happy about it. There is no reason for these guys to barge in, or at least sneak in under the brush guard positioned at the bottom of the door to help prevent this type of thing. And yet, I'm looking at an ant. I don't trust this little guy.

First of all, when one espies an ant by him- or herself in one's home, one can safely assume that the culprit is a scout. You see, what happened back at the ant barracks was that the Colonel said something like, "Hey Randy, I want you to search for bread crumbs over in Adcox's apartment. We have reason to believe that he has been eating microwave pizza again." And on it goes, with the Colonel issuing orders to the scout who's busy gearing himself for his arduous trek while his ant buddies sing "Ballad of The Red Pismire".

Then there's the issue of the scout leaving a chemical trail that either he can use to find his way back to the ant barracks, or that the rest of the scout squad can use to find Randy while reconnoitering the refrigerator door. If Randy goes KIA (usually by facing execution via American Standard water boarding), his chemical trail leads to... no Randy. This leaves the rest of the squad scratching their heads with one of their six legs. I know because I've seen them do it. Not to commit anthropomorphic fallacy here, but I'm convinced that they learned that by watching me try to study a cookbook. Apparently, they interpreted head-scratching as a sign of finding an old ramen noodle under the fridge.

This lingering chemical trail is then tracked by an entire division. Moving at both a lightning-fast pace and in an orderly fashion, it appeared that approximately twelve thousand, including bagpipers and commandoes, were marching en route to the Frigidaire. Desperate times meant desperate measures.

Unknown by the horde attempting a full frontal assault, Randy was long since on his way to the water treatment plant, a casualty of this battle. While they searched the area in what appeared to be an orderly fashion with each ant squad scouring a specific grid, I went to work, laying down a few sugar crystals in a path which led directly back out under the door. Within perhaps half an hour, the ants were heading back home, confused and resembling the Egyptian army of 1967.

I considered engaging in psychological warfare with them. After all, they insisted on leaving unknown quantities of footprints all over my things. In the end I decided not to, preferring instead to quit while I was ahead. One needn't subject one's opponents to harassment. They were valiant, though pretty unhappy.

They were les pismires.


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