The Animal World

Giraffe: Keeping An Eye On YouI am standing with a rolled up magazine, waiting for the inevitable confrontation between man and wasp. This one is hovering above my breakfast. I watch. The B Monster watches. Shit is about to hit the fan. The wasp finally makes the mistake of landing on my English muffin. I destroy him.

Though there is a moment of regret, I summon the courage to butter and eat my English muffin.

The animal world is cruel.

Let’s be honest, it’s cool to like animals. People proclaim their enjoyment of them in the obvious way one might use to agree with global warming (‘we’re ruining the planet, man!’) or praise Kafka (‘He was a total genius’).

Blah blah blah.

Oh, I like the idea of animals. I am glad they exist. I like eating them and wearing their warm bits. And I do believe that one day I’ll be able to teach the B Monster to build me a sandwich and deliver it to me in bed. I even enjoy animals in the wild. Well, I like watching documentaries in which cheetah chase down unfortunate gazelles, I love watching birds when they are on the other side of my window, and even sharks when they are fighting Roy Scheider in the Atlantic Ocean.

But there’s a big difference between enjoying animals and enjoying the idea of animals.

Admitting that you don’t like animals makes you instantly uncool, a classification I stopped worrying about since the day I started a non-ironic mustache. So I guess I will say that I am uncool.

To be fair, I have always enjoyed a ‘live and let live’ philosophy with the animal world. I don’t mess with them, they don’t mess with me, and shit will be perfect. This goes for everything that lives outside: bugs, birds, ducks, homeless people, spiders, poison ivy, and vegetables. Pretty much if it doesn’t use toilet paper or brush its teeth, then I ignore it as though it’s the Dow Jones and expect the same from them.

The disruption in my plan of mutual ignorance always starts in late September.

It’s autumn and the weather is getting colder. This in turns means that bugs are now invading my house to find warmth. They are coming in twos. There have been two house spiders, there have been two wasps. There have been two silverfish and two weevils. They are storming my house as though I am running some sort of 5th floor biblical ark. They are agitating the cat, who chases them around the house in a frenzy.

Though I am happy to ignore the animal and insect world, if they come into my house our agreement ends and we then have Casus belli. I proceed as follows.

If it’s a silverfish, weevil, or other harmless being, I capture it in a jar and release it outside. If it’s a wasp, I try to wait it out. I attempt to guide them to an open window, to get them and their stingers away from me. But if they land on my waffles or cereal, then game over.

If it’s a spider, it’s dead. Nothing needs eight legs.

If battle does occur, there are two possibilities. If they are lucky, they get my swift brand of execution: magazine.

If they are unlucky, they get the B Monster’s brand of execution, which entails a twenty-minute beat down into a crippled state, followed by the ‘I’m just toying with you’ period, followed by a crunchy mouth death, and then ingestion.

I’d feel bad, but the animal world is cruel.

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