The memorable character Bubba Blue from Forrest Gump speaks of different types of shrimp. “Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich….” 

This summer, I have been unfortunately acquainted with several different types of bees and other flying stinging thingys. (Insert Bubba voiceover.) Dey’s bumble bees, honey bees, carpenter bees, sweat bees, ground bees. Wasps, yellow jackets, hornets. Some hornets murder, and some have passports from lands far away. Horseflies, green heads, house flies…

Bumblebees are like drunk flying panda’s that, well, bumble and are peaceful creatures. Honey bees are only slightly less docile than a bumble. Carpenter bees are more bark than bite. Sweat bees are just obnoxious little shits that lick perspiration and leave their venomous little singer pumping poison in you until it’s removed. Ground bees are like Kamikaze pilots on a mission to kill. Wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets are all grade A pains in the butt. The biting flies are always plentiful, and one gets extra points for successful swats.

Yellow Jackets have been my nemeses this summer. I first was stung and chased by a colony living in a bale of hay that I opened and moved with bare hands. They flew up my shirt in guerrilla warfare. I dropped the hay and bucked down the barn aisle, peeling off clothes until I was skivvy clad and could visualize my smarmy predators, weak after battle, and brought them to a crushing death by shoe sole. Panting, I celebrated my kill and ran for the ice cubes and cortisone. It took weeks to stop itching.

The next major yellow jacket episode was the life-changing one and the reason for this wordy tale. I was blowing leaves out of the stone wall in front of my house, and unbeknownst to me, I put the blower straight into a nest. They didn’t take kindly to my unannounced visit and came out shooting to kill. Again I stripped, flailed, squawked, and cursed. They got me. Good. 

About an hour later, after three shots glasses of children’s Benadryl (because that’s all I had), my right arm numbed and felt afire with intense pain. It is noted that episode one brought stings to my right hand and episode two to my right foot. I have never had an allergic reaction to bee stings, but something wasn’t right this time. I went to the ER. Again, fresh stings on right foot. Old sting on right hand. Severe pain in my right arm.

I stumped doctors as they confidently said there is nothing that stings on the foot could affect the arm. After morphine with no pain relief, a chest X-ray, EKG, CT Scan, and lots of confused doctor faces, they concluded that the poison from the two sting sites, on separate occasions, on the same side of my body, combusted with some odd, systemic reaction.  I concluded from the events that superpowers from the stings must be forming within me. I can’t wait for them to reveal themselves. My superhero name shall be Queen Bee, and I will do good all over the world. If it can happen to Spiderman…

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