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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Monday, July 5, 2010

Deer fly

Accompanying the hot, still, humid weather of the past two days are swarms of deer flies. This must be the most useless creature on the face of the earth. If one were inclined to believe in personality or purpose in the universe, would the deer fly be an avatar of the devil? Even in biotic terms I'm hard pressed to understand where the thing fits in except as a chance mutation, an evolutionary dead-end that happens to bedevil mammals in the woods. There shall be blood.

I'm grateful for the dog these days. On our walks she attracts the flies more than I do, and a mantilla of bugs floats and buzzes around her head and back as she trots along. I get the occasional F-22. Mia's excess of hair must be trumping my output of heat and carbon dioxide, but think of the poor deer and its abundance of all three factors. You'd think that if the universe named the pest after the deer, it would at least give the victim a long tail to defend itself. But the universe is funny that way; it gave me hands and arms, but waving and windmilling them only seems to make the plague worse.

Hats apparently work as a shield, or deterrent, but I'm not about to wear one, nor is the dog. Hats with sticky strips pasted on them apparently work even better; I shall recommend them to my wife as she strides forth on her walks, beautiful hair all bound up and tucked under her "No Fear" baseball cap. According to the YouTube video I watched, one strip mired as many as 25 flies in a 4-minute excursion in the Michigan woods. ("Nothing could be simpler than disposal. Simply peel off the strip and drop it in the trash.") At 50 cents a strip, she'd be accomplishing much: aiding the economy, decimating the pestilence, encouraging the vanity of hatless mammals, and adding purpose to the universe.

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