As you might remember from my previous article about Cave Crickets, I'm in a full-scale war with the insect world. For whatever reason, the insects have decided to mess with me more so than any other human being on the planet. People usually doubt my claim of being the primary target of the insect war machine—that is, until they see some bug randomly fly at my head like a rocket on a laser-guided flight path. Invariably, witnessing such a display is usually followed by the person exclaiming, “Wow, that looked almost deliberate! That thing went right for you! I've never seen anything like that before!” Over the years, I have come to terms with being the human equivalent of a bug zapper, finding solace only in the fact that it must mean my personality is especially electric. However, I'll be damned if I'm just going to accept being a target for an all-out insect assault WITHOUT a full-scale retaliation.

Do you know how unnerving it is to be sitting on the toilet and then find a stink bug crawling on your ass?The arch nemesis of this war chronicle is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, something that looks like it crawled/flew right out of the Jurassic Period. This thing looks like a dinosaur had a spat of insectophilia* and fucked a beetle (yeah, I have no idea how that would logistically go down either), and this is the resulting offspring of that salacious encounter. Honestly, these things are more of a nuisance than an actual threat to humans, but there are several things about this bug that I personally find highly disturbing.

Stink bug on a leaf
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, or in other words, The Enemy!

First of all, they fly, which if you are me, really means that they fly at your head! Now if they made a B-line for my head, like most other insects do, they wouldn't be quite as disturbing. However these little bastards fly like they're three sheets to the wind, rolling, pitching, and yawing in strange, oblong drunken circles, until finally hitting their target. I don't know if they just haven't figured out the whole flying aspect of their evolution yet, or if they're just fat, tubby, little bugs that lack any kind of grace, but their erratic circular pattern is unnerving to say the least. It makes it really annoying and difficult to mount an adequate swatting defensive measure when you can't pinpoint their illogical flight path. Translation: I'm really just pissed off that when they come flying “at” me, I end up looking like a complete mental case flailing my arms around wildly while spinning in circles, like I've just been set on fire or something. (Oh shut up, I know you aren't supposed to flail around wildly if you're on fire, but honestly who the hell is going to have the wherewithal to “stop, drop and roll” when their flesh is actually burning off their body? You would flail wildly too, just admit it.)

Second of all, these things invade your home en masse! I must kill at least ten to twenty of these little fuckers a day when I get home. Do you know how much energy that means I actually expend daily just killing stink bugs, what with all the flailing, running, ducking, and screaming like a little girl?! Yeah, neither do I, but let's just say that I don't have the time to come up with an appropriate analogy, because it would cut into my killing time and then they would gain some serious ground.

Stink Bug Army - lots of stink bugs crawling
Welcome home Andrei, we've been organizing while you were away!

Another disturbing feature of these stink bugs is that not only can they float, they can breathe underwater too! Okay well I can't actually prove the breathing underwater part, but I have grabbed them and flushed them (alive) down the toilet numerous times only to find them crawling back out later! That's seriously fucked up right there! Do you know how absolutely unnerving it is to be sitting on the toilet and all of a sudden find a stink bug crawling on your ass, trying to escape its live burial at sea?! I do and let's just say that the “Tourette's Guy” would have been shocked at all the flailing, yelling, and swearing that occurred afterwards. Needless to say, flushing them down the toilet is NOT a good way to get rid of them, especially since half the time they don't even go down due to what can only be described as “unnatural buoyant properties.” I've also actually witnessed them crawling out of the sink faucet, one of the many reasons I now only drink bottled/filtered water.

Then of course there is the name, “stink bug,” which it acquired, supposedly, because when you squash or disturb one, it emits a foul, rotting odor that attracts other stink bugs. Here's the thing that I find very telling about my role in the war against these stink bugs, though: I can't smell the odor! NOT AT ALL, and believe me I've tried! I've actually squashed one and deliberately inhaled deeply in order to find out why it's called a stink bug. Nothing! This obviously means one of two things: 1) I already reek so bad that my own stench far surpasses anything a stink bug could emit (but since I bathe every day, am fairly OCD when it comes to hygiene, and people aren't generally running and screaming in my presence, I've ruled this out), or 2) it's a sign that I'm The Chosen One to do battle with the stink bugs. There is likely a prophecy somewhere (that I'm currently unaware of) that foretells of The Chosen One being born without stink bug stench receptors and that he will be The One to deliver us from this plague… or some prophetic shit like that.

The Chosen One in The Matrix movie
“The One,” “The Anomaly,” “Mr. No Smelly the Stink Bugs.”

Finally, these things have no natural predators here in the United States (not counting me, “the chosen one” of course) which I find pretty disturbing. Basically this means that my crusade against them is the ONLY thing standing between the stink bugs and your families. Rest assured though, my highly honed squashing techniques have made a major dent in their growing numbers and hopefully will slow the spread of them long enough for us to find a permanent solution. Seriously, I kill so many of these things that I'm starting to have weird nightmares about them, usually including scenarios where I'm wielding a large shield made out of their shells; I'm also that dippy kid, Galen, in the movie Dragonslayer. Fine, so Peter MacNicol was actually 27 when he played that role, but he did a really convincing job of being a completely idiotic kid. In the dream, I find out that the stink bugs are actually coming from MY ATTIC! So after thanking Valerian (Caitlin Clarke) for weaving all those tiny little shells into a shield, I grab my spear and set off for battle.

Valerian the Dragonslayer
Valerian: [to Galen] “It's a shield. I made it. Might keep the fire off of you, might not. You know, you're an idiot.”

I journey to the mouth of the stink bug's lair, which seems like a really long trek, but in reality is just the distance it takes to walk through my house. I slide away the small barrier (door) in the ceiling that leads to the attic and the paint instantly starts melting off the walls around the opening, I can only assume due to the smell (even though I smell nothing). At the very least it lets me know I've found the scourge's nest. I peek my head through the small opening in the ceiling, only to find the dragon Vermithrax Pejorative hanging out up there spawning countless broods of these vile stink bugs. The dream usually ends with my complete and total incineration, mostly because I've forgotten to “stop, drop and roll.”

Dragonslayer movie dragon
Are you The Chosen One?! The Anomaly?! Mr. No Smelly the Stink Bugs?!

*Honestly, I have no idea if “insectophilia” is a real word, but I'm frankly a little terrified of Googling it because of what I might find. Let's just pretend it's real, okay? Thanks.


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