Tom Purcell, 11/28/2011 [Archive]

Me vs. Mother Nature

Me vs. Mother Nature

By Tom Purcell

Mother Nature is trying to kill me.

She's been after me for quite a while. She came at me when I was a kid with rainstorms and flooded creeks and trees that jumped in front of my bike.

I made it to adulthood, though, and bought my first house, a fixer-upper in the country. Boy, did she come after me then.

My first project was to tear off an old porch enclosure -- only to discover 80 hornet nests hidden in the walls. I got away with only several stings. I had to wait weeks for cold weather -- hornets move slowly in the cold -- to finally zap them with spray.

As winter came on, nature followed me indoors. One night I was awakened by a loud scratching noise inside the wall next to my bed. I discovered three mice had taken over my house. I set traps, put out poison and even rigged up an electronic device that was supposed to drive them away.

It took weeks to get rid of the freeloaders.

The closest I ever came to dying -- and I am not making this up -- was when I was attacked by ground bees nesting in a planter I had just built. These vicious buggers keep stinging you until you are 100 feet away from their nest.

Well, following the advice of a rural neighbor, I got a canister of gasoline and poured some into the nest. I set the canister on the ground, 4 feet away. I lit a match, but before I could throw it into the nest, I heard "Wooooooooooof!"

You see, "Wooooooooooof!" is the sound gasoline makes when it ignites. It ignites because it gives off fumes. And gasoline fumes -- I tend to learn things the hard way -- are flammable!

Suddenly, an 8-foot-high flame shot out of the bees' nest -- right up the side of my freshly painted house! I noticed to my right that the air-relief valve on the gas canister, which contained two and a half gallons of fuel, had a small flame coming out of it.

I calmly tried to douse the flame it with my thumb (I was wearing leather gloves) but it came right back. Fearing the flame would soon ignite the contents in the canister, I picked the thing up and ran down my driveway, cussing.

I launched the two-and-a-half-gallon Molotov cocktail into the air. When it landed, it exploded into a spectacular ball of flames. I raced for the hose, which was supplying water to a sprinkler way on the other side of my yard, and barely managed to douse both fires before I burned down the neighborhood.

These are just some of the many confrontations I've had with Mother Nature. I haven't mentioned the snake incident, my war with the groundhogs or how, every time we get a drizzle, the water that enters my basement makes Niagara Falls look like a lap pool.

In any event, this is one thing that puzzles me about the tactics of some environmentalists. They try to scare us into believing that Mother Nature is feeble and weak.

But anybody who has faced the wrath of Mother Nature knows that isn't entirely so. Given the first opportunity, she will chew us up like we're some kind of cud in a cow's mouth and spit us out -- she'll even do this to the people who've gone to desperate lengths to save her from humanity.

It seems to me that the people and politicians who want stringent new laws and higher taxes to correct the harm they say we are causing Mother Nature would be better off focusing on cold, hard science, rather than playing our emotions.

Maybe if they spent a few days at my rural house, they'd arrive at the same conclusion -- assuming they survive Mother Nature's wrath.

© 2011 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a freelance writer is also a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email sales@cagle.com. Email Tom at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.

RESTRICTIONS: Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties. It may appear only in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and its sister publications.



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