Rule the World

It's time to begin my manifesto.

Monday, July 11, 2005

No. 016: Insects

When I rule the world: we'll have an insect census, and possibly organise some species-wide wipe-outs.

I've made no secret of the fact that I sometimes think [insert deity name of choice] dropped the ball when it came to planning the world - my plans for organising the world's weather are far superior to what we currently have in place. And while I can fully appreciate the whole zen 'a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon causes a tsunami in the South Pacific' view of the world, I just don't understand why we have some insects.

Bees, I can understand. They flit from flower to flower, gaily pollenating, and as a pleasant side-effect we get to eat honey. No complaints about that. And spiders, I'm OK with. Obviously, I don't want them crawling on me, and I'm not sure why some of them need to be big and/or poisonous, but they eat flies, so good on them. You'll never catch me killing a spider if it makes the mistake of straying into my living room - I catch it in a glass and set it free outside.

But can anybody suggest a reason for mosquitoes? They just bite people, making them itchy, miserable, or dead. What good do they do? And flies? Yes, they provide a valuable spider food source, but what else are they here for? They spread disease. They're not good.

And don't get me started on cockroaches. Nothing fills me with more horror than the sight of a cockroach. I managed to avoid them altogether until a couple of years ago, when we were holidaying just north of Durban - prime roach country. I'd innocently turn on the bedroom light in the evening and be confronted with a scary prehistoric-looking creepy-crawly, scuttling at me. And they're invincible. It's a well-known fact that scientists predict cockroaches would survive nuclear fallout. They definitely survive flyspray. I'd empty half a tin of Black Flag into the bedroom atmosphere and shut the door, but I'd never find a dead cockroach as a result. Either they stagger away and die elsewhere, or they just laugh dismissively, make rude gestures with their cockroachy hands, and scuttle off to cause fear and loathing elsewhere. My lungs suffer, the stress probably reduces my life, the flyspray helps further erode the ozone layer, but the cockroaches are undaunted.

Why do we have cockroaches? Why?

Regular readers will remember we live in the country. In the summer, our cottage seems to be Bug Central. We came home yesterday afternoon after a weekend away, and as the sun was shining and the temperature was mild we opened all the windows. And promptly shut them again, as some random little insects decided to move in with 10 million of their closest friends. I don't even know what these bugs are: they're tiny (about the size of a Times New Roman 10point letter 'l', if you want to be precise), they don't seem to fly but can cling to the ceiling, and they really want to be wherever I am. So I did what any normal person would: shut the windows and break out the flyspray. I then spent the rest of the evening vacuuming up bug corpses, and in bug circles I'm probably akin to Hitler.

What were those weird little bugs? Why must they persecute me? When I'm in charge they're going to have to plead their cause or accept that their time on earth is over.