“Wawst” nests and terrorists

Published 8:28 am Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Zell Miller was a plain-speaking politician and I miss that attribute these days. One of my favorite Zell Miller stories is the time, during a Senate speech, that he told about finding a nest of Copperhead snakes that could have been harmful to his loved ones as they played near his home in Young Harris, Ga.

“When I discovered these Copperheads, I didn’t call my wife Shirley for advice, like I do on most things. I didn’t go before the city council. I didn’t yell for help from my neighbors. I took a hoe and knocked them in the head and killed them. Dead as a doorknob.”

Miller was speaking of unilateral action against Saddam Hussein in 2002. The debate was over whether the United States should take care of “bidness” on its own or wait for the world’s approval. Ol’ Zell voted for taking care of business, period!

Email newsletter signup

I could not help but think of my own kind of unilateral action and analogy as I watched the terrorist a few weeks ago in the streets of London. It was a bizarre video of a man holding up two knives in his bloody hands and ranting about how he was taking revenge by brutally murdering a British soldier. What to do?

When I was boy, I fooled around an old mule barn that served as storage for hay and a home for our hogs. It was also the scene of “menya” corncob fight between the forces of good and evil. I was on the side of good, of course.

Every now and then, in hot weather, I would look up in the eaves or wooden corners of that old barn and see a huge wasp nest or, as we called it back then, a “wawst nest.” Some of those wasp nests would have been unbothered for long enough to get pretty big and they would be just full of those little, yellow varmints. Scary, too!

The next order of business would be to tear the nest down. But how? In those days, there was no aerosol can with super-duper hornet killer spray. Most often, we’d use a little jar of gasoline. Not too sophisticated; just get close enough to throw the gasoline on the nest and run, run run! And, we didn’t ask if we could do it.

Nowadays, I go around the eaves of the church or look under the swing set for single wasps and very little nests. We don’t let them get big like those old mule barn nests. I don’t want anyone to get stung by a pesky wasp.

When I see one wasp and a little nest, like Zell Miller said, I don’t check with the church council or consult the by-laws. I take that can of wasp killer and I give that “innocent” wasp a bath. As far as I know, it is the last bath it gets and I hope you won’t think too badly of me.

My point? When I see a lone ranger terrorist do something obviously evil, I’d like to take care of business pretty quickly. At least, that’s one “wawst” that won’t be stinging anybody else.