Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"T" IS FOR "TARANTULA": from BEE STINGS (RHYMES WITH I CHINGS) & A VARIETY OF GARDEN SNAPPPERS (2004)

Everyone applauds the bravado of the average European, but few know of the delicacy of his temperament when it comes to the irritating influence of the insect. Why? Because throughout most of Europe, there are so few. When there are so few, one tends to become sensitive, perhaps even a little oversensitive. Certainly this is not the case elsewhere (see below.) It is the case, however, throughout most of Europe, particularly in a place such as, for example, Fasano.

Were you to introduce say, an earwig, wasp or caterpillar onto the plate of a Fasonian next to a dainty delicacy of grilled prawn or pâte des foiés gras, they would in all likelihood return quietly though expeditiously to their dwelling, pack up their belongings, and depart to a place where such a thing would never happen again. How would they travel, you might ask? They would travel in one of those delightful European trains. However, were you to up the ante a little bit and place a tarantula instead of a common insect upon a plate of a Fasonian, it wouldn’t matter what else occupied the plate, or whether or not he was of faint temperament. Under such conditions, the Fasonian would expire in haste, at the table; sadly, there would be one place still available on that evening’s departing European train.

In stark contrast to the Fasonians, were one to visit the hearty, rugged environs of Turkey, the Danubian principalities and southern Russia, one would find insects existing in great abundance with a relationship between man and insect is markedly different, for the citizens there are deeply accepting of the invasive insect breed. There, workers salute them; songs are written about them; lovers walk along the quays lulled into fanciful thoughts by their purring; children befriend them; dogs do not eat them. Everyone understands the rôle of the insect in society; this is the manner of society in the abundant insect homes of Turkey, the Danubian principalities and southern Russia.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that the Turks, Danubians and southern Russians don’t hate insects. They do, naturally and understandably. But what choice do they have?

Wages are low. Food is bitter. Conditions are harsh. The weather is simply awful. And there are a lot of insects. They cannot leave and their trains are not delightful.

They could be, and they were in simpler time, but the citizens and the trains have since been ravaged by poverty, by time, by earwigs, by caterpillars, by wasps and sometimes, by tarantulas.

Poor Turkey. Poor Danubian Principalities. Poor Southern Russia. Poor tarantulas.

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