Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Man Against Beast V: Scorpion Rising

The latest installment:*

My first experience with the wholesale slaughter of the lesser species was when I was four. We were living in Kenya. During the week my mother and I stayed in Nairobi where I went to Kindergarten, but on the weekends and holidays we joined my father out at camp in the bush (anthropologist, studying baboons, etc., etc.)

During these visits, I befriended the local boys. Despite the lack of a shared language, we got on pretty well, playing the various sorts of games that boys play. But they also introduced me to a new game which was completely unfamiliar to me: scorpion hunting.

It's quite simple, elegant really. Go around the edge of camp, picking up rocks. When you find a rock with a scorpion under it, smash the rock down on it. Splat! Scorpion paste.

As the parent of small children, this game absolutely terrifies me (I don't think my parents ever knew), but at the time it certainly seemed like good fun. And really, those scorpions had it coming (damn venomous so-and-sos!).

* I'm a little alarmed. I wasn't aware what a large role inter-special warfare had played in my life until I started documenting it.


  1. My cousin (who is 20 days older than me) and I used to smash huge frogs in ponds with paddles and scream with laughter as they floated, unconscious, to the surface. Then we would scoop them up, filling the two-man boat as quickly as possible. Before long, the boat would always start a-hoppin' with awakened, very confused frogs who would immediately start hurtling themselves, en masse, back into the pond. As we grew older and bigger, the boat, of course, became less and less roomy. One day, we both aimed for the same frog and pitched over into the pollywog egg soup that was the pond. That was our last time out frog-bashing.

    Ironically, I shortly thereafter began my 10-year stint as a vegan. Hmpf.

  2. While watching the movie Starship Troopers, I found my laughter out-of-sync with the rest of the audience. In fact, I really squirmed when everyone cheered to the announcement that the mama insect was afraid.

  3. Anonymous9:32 PM

    The parents did know.
    We just decided it was safer than other things you could have tried like going to look for lions or swimming in the river with hippos.

  4. Ah, yes. The complex calculus of parenting.