Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Like a drill on an ingrown toenail..."

Dum dee dum... Summertime, sipping soda... What's that? !!! Oh jeez. I've been stung !!!! By what? Oh, Here it comes... Pain!!!!!! Holy mother of !%*$#ing God !!!!!!

Wasps love to climb inside a sweet soda can. But better to be stung in the mouth by a common yellow jacket than anywhere by a Pepsis Wasp a.k.a. the "Tarantula Hawk." Only one man could have described this particular venom as giving "...immediate, excruciating pain that simply shuts down one's ability to do anything, except, perhaps, scream. Mental discipline simply does not work in these situations."

Dr. Justin O. Schmidt, an entomologist recently retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Tucson Carl Hayden Bee Research Center, has come up with a system for ranking the pain of insect stings and bites fittingly called: The Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Dr. Schmidt is a connoisseur of pain. His descriptions, based on a scale of 1 - 4, are deeply imaginative, like a vintner recalling a rare fine wines...

1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.

1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch.

1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.

2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.

2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.

2.x Honey bee and European hornet: Like a matchhead that flips off and burns on your skin.

3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.

3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.

4.0 Pepsis wasp: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.

4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel.

He describes Pogonomyrmex badius (pictured above) as an average-looking ant whose bite yields "pain that might be caused by someone turning a screw into the flesh or ripping muscles and tendons." More on the science of stings here.

Waterboarding waterschmording! Apparently, the finest tortures come in small, venomous packages.

1 comment:

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