Scorpion Musings

I awoke an hour or so ago to my wife’s voice telling me there was a scorpion in the sink. I arose, walked into the bathroom, and looked into the sink. Yes, there was a very large, very lively scorpion there. Scorpions are no strangers to us. I place sticky insect traps in our garage at least once a week and they tend to fill by the next week with a number of scorpions. Yesterday, I counted how many scorpions met their demise by getting stuck to the flat strips of insect attractant: nine of the beasts had died (or were on their way there) since I last put out the traps. But large, unruly scorpions in the house are uncommon sights. And this one in the sink was very, very large. Perhaps it came up the drain? I don’t know. Regardless of how it got here, I don’t like scorpions in the house. So I murdered the thing, using a piece of flatware, a table knife. The creature did not expire peacefully. Even as I severed its body, its pincers tried to grip the air, fiercely sweeping back and forth. Its “tail,” curling and uncurling in rapid succession, attempted to kill its killer. Finally, the monster stuck to the knife and I carried it out to the garage, depositing its corpse onto the sticky trap, where it will stay until next Wednesday, trash day.

Waking to a call to kill a scorpion tends to get one’s adrenaline going, so I have been unable to even consider going back to bed. Instead, I went online to amuse myself. In so doing, I caused my heart rate to spike and the veins in my neck to bulge. I am a scorpion killer AND I am stupid. What possessed me to read the news? Why would I willingly expose myself to reports of the egotistical and idiotic ramblings of a malignant reptile occupying a position that once was revered? I am stupid, as I believe I said before. Unlike the post-digested rat feces in the White House, though, I know it. Let me lower my heart rate for a moment, please.

There. That’s better. This, too, shall pass. There will be a time when the aquifers beneath the Arizona deserts will be flush with water. There will be  a time when the carbon monoxide filling our atmosphere will have dissipated, replaced by fresh and natural vapors that will restore the planet’s atmosphere to its normal balance and will deflect the Sun’s most dangerous rays back into space. All of the animals roaming the Earth will be part of the natural order. Humans? Don’t be silly!

There’s an obvious contradiction between my views of the idea and my recent murderous behavior. In the ideal view, Earth will have returned to a natural state, free of the deviant attacks perpetrated by humankind. In today’s reality, though, an innocent scorpion that stumbled into the wrong place at the wrong time was savagely butchered by a beast who longs for a time when beasts don’t sully the planet. Methinks there’s a lesson to be learned from the recognition of the dissonance therein.

The time is now 5:08. The likelihood that I will return to bed and get some sleep is declining with each passing moment. I just checked the outside temperature which, according to the gauges and computer reports, is an ungodly 85 degrees Fahrenheit. That fact, alone, is evidence that humankind has committed a sin against itself and Nature. Nature would not, of her own accord, allow pre-dawn temperatures to rise above 79 degrees.

I know this, because I’ve had conversations with Nature in which she said to me, in no uncertain terms, “I would never permit pre-dawn temperatures to rise above 79 degrees, unless compelled by the Forces of Darkness to do so. In fact, I would not permit temperatures to exceed 73 degrees except to warm humans that their wanton ways have consequences.”

Shortly after expressing those thoughts to me, Nature coughed and began to cough convulsively. She passed soon after, leaving us to cope, alone, with what we’ve done to our planet.

My thoughts remain with the poor scorpion. Why did it choose (if scorpions can make conscious “choices”) to go into my wife’s sink in the bathroom? How would this story have been different if it had, instead, climbed up on my flip-flop and waited patiently for me to slip into said footwear as I arose to go to the bathroom or get up for the day? Would my mind have wandered to the drying aquifers of Arizona had the scorpion opted to stay outside this morning? If a chance encounter with a scorpion can impact my thought processes so dramatically, then it must be true that a butterfly’s wings disturbing the air on another continent can, indeed, affect the climate in North America. We do, indeed, rely on “the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

It’s no longer 5:08. I’ve allowed my mind to wander and my fingers to rest, so it’s now 5:26 a.m. Time to stop filling space with meaningless drivel and, instead, fill my cup with something more valuable.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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