I killed my 50th scorpion the other day. I’m not sure if that is actually true since I have not been keeping count, but it’s gotta be pretty close. And I always round up.
It never fails. We go away for a few days, a scorpion or two is there to greet us when we return home. WELCOME HOME. I SHOWED MYSELF IN, HOPE THAT’S O-(splat). In fact, as some kind of ominous warning sign, we found a dead scorpion in the girls’ playroom the morning we were leaving. This was disconcerting, sure, but not terrible since my second favorite scorpion is a dead scorpion. My first favorite scorpion is a pretend scorpion that abides by my blissful fantasy that scorpions aren’t real but only mythical creatures like the jackalope.
Part of the reason that scorpion was dead was that a lot has changed since I last wrote to you about scorpions. When we first moved to the Valley seven years ago, we were informed we should have our home sprayed monthly, and a very nice man was recommended to us. He used what he described as “environmentally friendly” spray. Forty-six scorpions later, we opted for a new service provider. They do not tout their spray as friendly to anyone or anything, and it’s not even a topic of conversation. Don’t ask, don’t tell, but please—put on this gas mask for the next 20 minutes. As such, their base service is every 90 days. As a precaution, we still use them monthly. The effects of the toxic fumes we are likely ingesting may indeed manifest themselves many years from now in the form of a third ear growing out of my knee or something, but for now things are good. When the ends = dead scorpions, the ends always justify the means. Besides, I feel no obligation to protect the environment when said environment gave us something as vile as scorpions. I REGRET NOTHING.
The service has been so good, it’s been a challenge to raise scorpion awareness for our girls. They live in a world where scorpions are mere casualties, not an active enemy that requires them to always be on guard. And the extent of the awareness we are trying to raise is not complex, but simply, “Please wear shoes around the house so you don’t step on a scorpion.” This, however, is something I must emphatically remind them of every day as they’re prancing barefoot through the living room, trying to enjoy childhood.
Girls: La, la, la … follow me! Ha, ha-
Me: GET YOUR SHOES ON! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?
To drive the point home, when the opportunity presents itself—like it did with the dead scorpion in the playroom—we place the terrible dead beast in a plastic bag and show it to the girls. See? SEE? This is a scorpion. Read it, study it … that tail will get you if you don’t WEAR YOUR SHOES.
(Truth be told, if a scorpion ever harms one of the girls, I will become like Liam Neeson in “Taken,” only it will be called “Takin’ … Scorpions” and I will make it my life mission to venture into the desert and take every scorpion I can find and execute them one by one via absurdly complex and inhumane means, like tiny little nooses.) (Oh, also, my tagline in this movie, when people ask me how many scorpions I've murdered, will be, "I always round up.")
No. 50 was actually outside, but attempting to scurry it’s way indoors while being followed by our brave, scorpion-hunting dog. I killed that scorpion so hard with my flip-flop that when we moved it to the plastic bag for morbid display, it was indistinguishable, in multiple parts. Also, I had left the bag outside, planning to show the girls in the morning, and when I went to get it, the bag was being overrun by an army of red ants that were eating the dead scorpion parts. This harrowing scene frightened the girls and caused me to rethink everything, and I ultimately decided that I have a new second favorite kind of scorpion.
Note: This column appears in the 7/10 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/11 issue of the Peoria Times.