Living in Egypt

Published 7:44 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I’ve never thought of myself as an Egyptian, but I must be living in the land of the Pharoahs. Here’s why: “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground, and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.” I think I’m living in Egypt because there is plenty of dust and plenty of gnats.

It’s so dry around my house that the fire hydrant that used to be across the street has walked over to my side, so it can be closer to Little Bit’s morning excursions. The bushes around my house have started putting up signs, “We Appreciate Doggies!” I do believe if Noah’s flood were to come again, it would be an isolated thundershower and we’d get a quarter of an inch at the most.

It’s so dry, I drove down to the river just to see some water and saw two people fishing from lawn chairs and using slingshots. The catfish were carrying canteens. I heard a rumor that the government was considering a water pistol buyback program.

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And the gnats. Every year, someone says that they are worse than ever. Well, this year they may be right. I even swallowed one in church the other day as I was singing. I think it helped my pitch. Of course, the one that flew up my nose made me sneeze. And the one that got stuck in my eye caused me to blink and rub.

Let’s see. In the mouth, the nose, and the eyes. They’re everywhere, but it’s when they go into my ear that drives me crazy. As I am walking the dog or just walking myself, I can swing my arms to keep them away from the front of my face, but when they get lodged in my ears and start all their buzzing, that’s a little too much. I try to stick my fingers in my ear and dig them out. All I do seems to push them in deeper.

As we see in the Bible, gnats have been around for a long time. Aesop wrote a fable about gnats, but I don’t think his fable shows too much knowledge about them. In fact, I wonder if he knew what he was writing about.

It seems that a gnat landed on the horns of a huge bull. The gnat thought quite a bit about itself and even thought that it should apologize for bothering the bull. The gnat said, “Pardon me, Mr. Bull, if I have bothered you by my weight as I have landed on your horns. I offer you a thousand apologies and wouldn’t want you to think that I don’t care about your solitude and comfort.”

The bull replied, “Little gnat, thank you for the grandiose apology you felt such a great need to share. But you think too highly of yourself. I hardly noticed you were there.”

Those of us in Southwest Georgia who fight the gnats everyday can’t imagine Aesop thinking that the gnat is hardly noticed. They are pests of the greatest degree and I wish that all portions of the United States would have to endure them. There is the old saying, “I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” but, yes, I would.

Can you imagine how much money would be spent on the gnat problem if Washington, D.C., had them as bad as we do? Actually, I couldn’t imagine that much money, but of course, I can’t imagine the amount the money the politicians in Washington are already spending.

The late, great Lewis Grizzard wrote about gnats. “Gnats are the cause of a number of deaths in South Georgia each year. Some of these deaths are attributed to swallowing a large number of gnats while talking or eating. Some also think that the reason a lot of South Georgians disappear and are never heard of again is they are carried off by giant swarms of gnats and drowned in the Okefenokee Swamp.”

I would respectfully disagree with Mr. Grizzard because no one has swallowed more gnats than I have and I’m still living and swinging hard at the varmints. By the way, does anyone have any idea of just how many gnats it takes to make a gram of protein?

Another thing I hear a lot about, but don’t know the exact location of, is the gnat line. Is it mythological or is it a real line? And, if it is real, where is it?

The most popular line of thought regarding the Gnat Line has it beginning in Augusta and running across the state of Georgia through Macon and on to Columbus. There was another suggestion that the line could also be called the Y’all Line, inferring to that wonderful word that Southerners invented by combining “you” and “all.”

I guess when all is said and done, when every detail of the insect is discussed down to the gnat’s eyebrow, I’ll say that wherever the Gnat Line is, I’m glad to live below it rather than above it. For all of its aggravation, and there’s plenty of it, I’ll endure them if I don’t have to live in Atlanta.

I did read one thing, though, that I can discount. One person, when asked as to where the gnats may swarm the most, said, “They like wet environments the most.”

I beg to differ, as they say. It’s hot and dry here on Loblolly Lane and I don’t believe the gnats could enjoy themselves any better.