You know something that bothers me?
Going into a curio shop and seeing all those scorpions, and huge black beetles, and tarantulas encased in blobs of plastic, mounted on polished wooden bases.
Understand me now, I do not like scorpions. They are very high on my list of things that get the heel-of-the-boot treatment, as the two of them that have strayed into our house up here so far quickly found out.
No, scorpions are not among my favorite house guests.
I think that's because I once spent two years living in the scorpion capital of the world: Wichita Falls, Texas.
In Wichita Falls, during 1956 and '57, you could step outside, look in any direction and see a scorpion. They were everywhere.
I mean everywhere!
Under every rock. Under every bush. Under every fallen leaf. In your shoe if you were dumb enough to take it off for a minute. In your pockets if you didn't keep them tightly buttoned. In your hat if you put it down to wipe the sweat off your face. Under wooden porches by the thousands.
And even on your bed pillow, as the wife of a good friend of mine discovered one night as she slid into bed for the night.
And the nasty little monsters in Wichita Falls had something better going for them than even Superman, who can only see through walls. They could walk right through them!
I have watched a good sized -- I mean good sized! -- scorpion walk right up to a baseboard that looked as though it was tightly nailed in place, stroll right under it, and emerge outside as though there was nothing to it.
Which explains why I bought my first house trailer while I was stationed at Sheppard AFB. A little 21-foot Whitley manufactured up in Indiana. As tightly sealed as a refrigerator.
Having poison-tailed monsters strolling in and out of my house was not my idea of how to sleep well.
Tarantulas, on the other hand, are too big and too slow to be a problem. And they're not at all aggressive. In fact, I rather like their looks, if the truth be told.
I like the looks of the light-colored guys with striped legs that we have here in Arizona. I do not like the looks of the big, black, hungry-looking ones that come in from Central America on bananas and jump off onto your arm with evil intent when you are 8 years old and you are in Lombardi's Grocery Store choosing the two biggest possible bananas for your 3 cents.
As for big black beetles ...
Too big to get inside. Too clumsy to hurt anyone. And -- whenever I see one at least -- in a rush to get a fat, unwieldy body as far from the house as possible.
Now that's an intelligent bug!
You know what bothers me most, though? When I see those all those critters encased in plastic.
They look too danged alive.
On a couple of levels, that ain't good.
If you hate scorpions, why would you want to have one sitting on your desk all day eyeballing you?
If ever there was an evil expression on an animal, that's it. Two claws drawn up in attack position with their pincers wide open. Two cold, dead eyes staring right through you. Some of the ugliest mouth parts on Earth. And a chain link tail, armed with a barb showing a glistening dewdrop of poison, held high, and ready to whip out and sting my bare foot as it slips back into the sock I took off because I put it on inside out that morning.
I looked in the shoe. Who knew scorpions liked socks?
No thanks! I don't want that thing on my desk.
Shoot! I don't want it on my planet!
But that's not the only thing that bothers me about the fact that the danged things look so real inside that molded plastic.
I've asked the obvious question a couple of times, but I've never gotten a straight answer. Could it be that those critters look so danged alive because they were alive when that stream of boiling hot plastic came pouring into the mold?
I don't even like to think about that.
Ever had a glue gun drip on your finger?
Nope! I hate scorpions, but if that's the way they get into that plastic I'll decorate my desk with a hollow plastic bust of Shakespeare that holds a whole bag of Hershey's Kisses. Dark chocolate, of course. I do some serious things at that desk.
Like writing this.