Listen. I have a peaceful soul. Ask any bee or moth or the occasional gecko who happens to sneak inside my house. I will go to great lengths to capture them with a cup, slide a ripped paper plate under the cup to cover it, before carefully bringing the covered cup outside to set them free.
It's what I do. I couldn't hurt a fly. (Well, that isn't true. Flies don't really cause me much grief if I occasionally hit them with a fly swatter. But, I only do this if they are extremely annoying... i.e. if they are going after my fried chicken. If they mind their own business, I mind my own business.)
Again, I have a peaceful soul... until a mosquito comes near me. At that point, I turn into an obsessed psycho killer with no remorse whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I get a "thrill out of the kill" and a sick satisfaction seeing their disfigured little mosquito bodies flattened against the palm of my hand or smashed on my car window.
I've become so good at this, I consider my skill almost a "calling" that must be shared with others. And, I'm not just going to teach you how to kill a mosquito... I'm going to teach you how to kill A MOCKING mosquito. Our mosquitoes here in the Keys want more than a quick suck of our blood. They want to mock us -- fly around our heads and stay out of reach just enough to torture us -- before they suck our blood.
We'll take tips from the classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, where the children learn four basic life lessons. After each lesson, I'll explain how this helps you learn To Kill A Mocking Mosquito.
Put yourself in someone else's shoes
@Body Text:In the book, To Kill A Mockingbird, the little girl, Scout, and her brother have never seen the man who lives across the street. He never leaves the house so they naturally nickname him Boo because, to the children, he's like a ghost and they consider his house a ghostly mystery. By the end of the book, Boo saves their lives and they become friends. When Scout stands on his actual porch and sees her house from his perspective, she finally grasps the concept of putting yourself in other people's shoes.
Why am I giving you this story's overview and how does it pertain to killing a flippin' mosquito? Because, my naïve friends, you will NOT be successful in killing a Keys mosquito unless you THINK like a Keys mosquito. They are not like mosquitoes from other parts of the country. Keys mosquitoes are crafty, fast and determined.
When you have one zoning in on you, instead of blindly swatting away, I advise you to spend a few minutes observing them. (The best way to do this is to stand near a white background in a well-lit room.) See which body part they prefer, calculate their average speed, learn their flight pattern, etc. In essence, put yourself in the mosquito's tiny shoes.
@Body Subhead:2) Don't kill mocking birds
@Body Text:In the book, Scout's father explains that mockingbirds are weak and defenseless. They don't harm anything... all they do is make music. In other words, to kill a mockingbird is to take advantage of someone who is weaker than you.
Obviously this rule confuses our rationale to slaughter mosquitoes. Yes, they are technically weaker than us, but are they really? Our Keys mosquitoes are genetically superior AND they do harm us (well, they make us itchy...) so I say KILL.
Keep fighting, even if you know you'll lose
@Body Text:In the book, Scout's father, who is an attorney, tries to instill this lesson as he's defending one of his clients destined to lose due to racism. Even though they lost, the father reminds them to be proud they stood up for what they believe in.
How do you stand? Do you believe in the death penalty for mosquitoes? If so, be smart about your defense and use the tactics explained above to win. If you're losing, then go for it and swat wildly! If you still get bit, at least you know you fought for what you believe in.
The world is unfair
Scout and her brother learn that the world is unfair when her dad's innocent client is indeed convicted. However, Scout also sees its value when the sheriff protects Boo and his privacy after Boo saves the children's lives from the actual bad guy. (It's all very complicated, but if you read the book, you'll get it.)
Is it unfair mosquitoes attack me while my husband doesn't get a bite? Yes! Is it unfair that mosquito repellant gags me? Absolutely! But, because of this injustice, I'm like a Mother Teresa to mosquito victims. Thus, like Scout learned in To Kill A Mockingbird, there is a value to my years of agonizing welts and itchiness.
So, pick up the book, To Kill A Mockingbird and learn some valuable life lessons. If nothing else, you can at least use the book to smash a few mosquitoes.
Jana Vandelaar has worked as a freelance writer in the Keys with a loving family, fun friends and smelly pups for more than 20 years. Check out her website at www.janavandelaar.com for more books available online or 'Like' her Facebook page at JanabananaINK for daily smiles about life as she sees and lives it. If you enjoy her articles, Jana has a book titled, "ONLY IN THE KEYS, Snort-Laughing Stories About Life In The Florida Keys." This is a fun book full of Jana's most popular articles written for The Reporter since 2008. It's available at Randy's Florida Keys Gifts, MM 102.4 or at Hooked On Books, MM 81.9.