2017-10-25 / Editorials

Don Lively


I was fighting for my life.

On a recent Saturday morning I was the victim of an unprovoked attack that left me bleeding and injured, but mostly it left me ticked off and bent on retribution.

Every alpha male son of the Blessed South understands that there are times when you are going to have to fight. Times when you are given no option except to stand your ground and try to take down your assailant before your assailant takes you down.

Kenny Rogers even sang about it.

"Papa, I sure hope you understand. Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man."

Daddy would certainly understand. He always taught me that I should never start a fight but that if I found myself involved in one, I should be the only one standing when it was over.

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind Daddy's wisdom boiled up when I felt the first blow to the back of my neck and almost immediately another one somewhat lower. As soon as I realized that I was under assault I began to formulate a plan to win the battle even though I'd been dealt some significant injuries. But, before I could actually start to fight back, another attacker got me on my right hand, my fighting hand.

The battle had been joined.

The enemy was everywhere.

They were as thick as flies.

Or, as thick as yellowjackets.

Cause that's what they were.


I said earlier that the attack was unprovoked but, to be fair, the evil, little demons probably didn't concur since I'd run over their nest with the lawn mower, but, it was MY yard and they were the interlopers.

"Vengeance is mine, says the Lord."

I believe every word in the Bible but it was my neck and my hand and my upper booty that got stung and I would have my revenge.

After all, what kind of self respecting hymenoptera bites a primate on the butt?

Fighting back was my only option.

The first order of business was protective clothing. I slipped on a hooded sweatshirt with the string pulled tight, then added my leather work gloves and protective goggles.

Then I went to my barn and grabbed the best of all possible weapons available to Southern boys like me.


I carefully poured several gallons into the opening of the nest which, incidentally, was several feet out onto my lush lawn, then I stood back and tossed a lit match. There was a loud and satisfying whoosh and wump that I hoped would annihilate every yellowjacket in the vicinity. The eruption threw flames and dirt several feet into the air in a display reminiscent of a miniature Vesuvius. Fire shot from the openings and vents for nearly an hour before the last flicker disappeared.

Surely none of the yellowjackets could have survived the inferno.


Even after I had unleashed an earthly Hades on the nest there were still survivors. I stood back a safe distance and watched. After a while what I could only assume were stragglers started to return to their now destroyed home. Each of them had confused looks in their beady little eyes wondering what happened while they were away. Every now and then one of them would notice that I was there and would make a half-hearted dive at me but this time I was prepared, armed with a rolled up Southern Living magazine. Several kamikaze buzzers met their doom when I swatted them down in mid flight.

In order to completely finish off the colony, I had to make a trip to Wal-Mart for yellowjacket spray which I could dispatch from ten feet away. I bought three cans and got pretty good at hitting them as they hovered.

After the last one fell I Googled the possible side effects and symptoms of yellowjacket stings.

Bad idea.

I was sick and itchy for a week.

Plus I had a huge burned out spot on my lawn.

But, I won the battle.

I had my reckoning.

When I get to Heaven I'm only going to have two questions for Jesus.

First, how much negotiation did He have to do with The Father for me to get in.

Secondly, and this is a multipart question, what possible purpose could yellowjackets, or fire ants, or mosquitoes, or fill-in-the-blank-with-yourown favorite-biting-nuisance, have on Earth.

Until then, the war will continue.

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